The Department of Classics fosters in students a fascination with the ancient Greek and Roman world. We do so primarily through the study of language, and our students develop proficiency in multiple modes of communication: reading, listening, writing, and speaking. They gain an appreciation for the power and beauty of Greek and Latin, as well as insight into how ancient languages work and why they matter. Our students come to understand how their language studies engage with other disciplines, and they realize that such interdisciplinarity, like the field of classics itself, is collaborative, ever-evolving, and deeply meaningful.
From the elementary levels, students of ancient Greek and Latin learn how to think both precisely and creatively about language. Our classroom approach cultivates independence and joyful inquiry as students develop interpretive reading skills, build their working vocabulary, and hone their knowledge of grammar. At the intermediate levels, students actively explore texts from a variety of genres, time periods, and geographic spaces. As they encounter ancient words and deeds, they practice the skill of translation, and they expand their cross-cultural awareness through the study of mythology and history. They appreciate how ancient Greece and Rome interacted with other Mediterranean, Near Eastern, and European societies, and they consider how those interactions influenced politics, culture, and national identity.
At the advanced levels, our students acquire a discerning eye for the details of language and engage intensely with Greek and Latin texts. They read both classical and post-classical authors; they consult scholarly commentaries and distill secondary literature; they interact with college and university professors and other professional classicists; they produce their own critical essays and polished translations. In short, our students do the work of budding humanists. They become judicious readers, incisive writers, and nimble thinkers whose interests range from language and literature to art, religion, philosophy, music, and material culture. Every spring, our advanced students have the opportunity to present their work to an all-school audience at the annual Classics Colloquium.
The Department of Classics is firmly committed to innovative and inclusive teaching practices. Our small class sizes allow for curricular flexibility, individualized instruction, and small group work. Our home in St. Andrew’s historic student center fittingly reflects how we approach learning: student-focused, cross-disciplinary, and transformative. We are committed to the humanistic experience of study abroad, and we organize short-term educational trips that are open to all St. Andrew’s students. In the end, it is our hope that students of ancient Greek and Latin cultivate a love of learning (φιλοσοφία) that carries them into college and beyond.