The classics major focuses on studies in Greek and Latin language and literature, and on the classical civilization of which they are a part.
It is possible to do major work in Greek or Latin with a minor in the other language or to do an equal amount of work in both languages. Students intending to do graduate work in classics must pursue the latter option.
The range of senior thesis topics open to majors is very broad: philological or literary analyses of classical literature, historiography or philosophy; explorations of problems in Greek or Roman history and historiography; and investigations into the nature and function of Greek or Roman society and thought.
Classics majors are strongly urged to consider attending the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies (ICCS) during one semester of the junior year. The ICCS, of which Reed College is a member, offers two intensive programs. Both offer courses in Greek and Latin literature, Italian, and art history. The first program, located in Rome, focuses on Roman material culture, history, and archaeology. The second program, located in Catania, Sicily, focuses on Greek culture, particularly in relation to the other cultures of the Mediterranean.
Classics majors have also spent a semester of their junior year at the College Year in Athens program, which offers courses in Greek literature, history, archaeology, and art, as well as Latin literature, or the whole of their junior year at Oxford University; Trinity College, Dublin; and University College, Cork.
Classics majors are also strongly encouraged to take advantage of courses in other departments that will deepen their knowledge of the ancient world and relevant methodologies. Such departments include anthropology, art history, history, linguistics, philosophy, religion, and the other departments of the literature and languages division.
In addition to serving majors, the department provides elective courses for students in other departments who wish to satisfy foreign language requirements, to study Greek or Roman history, or to take courses in general literature dealing with the classical tradition, in which a knowledge of the languages is not required.
A classics major prepares students for graduate work in the discipline, whether in classics programs, ancient history programs (within classics programs or within history programs), archaeology and ancient Mediterranean studies programs, or classical philosophy programs. It is also excellent preparation for the professional study of fields such as law, communications, information and library studies, and curatorial studies.
Requirements for the Major
Recommended but not required:
- Greek (110, 210), 311, 312 or Latin (110, 210), 311, 312.
- Introductory course in the other language.
- Classics 371, 373, 470.
- Additional units in 311, 312 (Advanced Greek or Advanced Latin)
- Additional work in the other language.
- Classics 353.
- French, German, or both.
- Relevant courses in other subjects such as anthropology, art history, linguistics, philosophy, and religion.
Greek 110 - First-year GreekFull course for one year. A study of the elements of ancient Greek grammar and first readings in Attic prose. Lecture.
Greek 210 - Second-year GreekFull course for one year. A review of grammar, continued readings in Attic prose, and first readings in Homer or drama. Prerequisite: Greek 110 or equivalent. Lecture-conference.
Greek 249 - Late Antique and Byzantine Theological TextsSee Religion 349 for description. Not offered 2009-10.
Religion 349 Description
Greek 311 - Advanced GreekFull course for one semester. Two of these semester topics are offered each year: Greek poetry, Greek tragedy, Greek comedy, Greek prose authors. Prerequisite: Greek 210 or equivalent. Seminar. May be repeated for credit.
Greek 312 - Advanced GreekFull course for one semester. Two of these semester topics are offered each year: Greek poetry, Greek tragedy, Greek comedy, Greek prose authors. Prerequisite: Greek 210 or equivalent. Seminar. May be repeated for credit.
Latin 110 - First-year LatinFull course for one year. A study of the elements of Latin grammar and first readings in Latin literature. Lecture.
Latin 210 - Second-year LatinFull course for one year. A review of grammar and continued readings in Latin prose and poetry, with an introduction to Cicero’s rhetoric and Virgilian poetry. Prerequisite: Latin 110 or equivalent. Lecture-conference.
Latin 311 - Advanced LatinFull course for one semester. Two of these semester topics are offered each year: Latin poetry, Roman satire, Roman comedy, Latin prose authors. Prerequisite: Latin 210 or equivalent. Seminar. May be repeated for credit.
Latin 312 - Advanced LatinFull course for one semester. Two of these semester topics are offered each year: Latin poetry, Roman satire, Roman comedy, Latin prose authors. Prerequisite: Latin 210 or equivalent. Seminar. May be repeated for credit.
Latin 320 - Latin Prose CompositionFull course for one semester. This course offers an intensive study of Latin grammar and prose style that leads to the writing of connected prose passages in Latin. Prerequisite: Latin 210 or equivalent. Not offered 2009-10.
Classics 353 - Literary Theory and Classical LiteratureFull course for one semester. This course explores some of the main currents in literary theory in the last 50 years and the application of these theories to selected classical works. The focus will be on three literary movements: (1) New Criticism, (2) structuralism and its various offshoots such as semiotics and narratology, and (3) Marxist literary theory, including political criticism and new historicism/cultural poetics. All non-English texts will be read in translation. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 or consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 353.
Classics 363 - Ancient Greek TheatreFull course for one semester. The course explores the nature and meaning of fifth-century Greek theatre. It begins by examining theories about the origins of Greek tragedy, comedy, and the satyr play. The seminar will then read and discuss selected plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, and Menander. Attention will be given to interpreting the plays in the broader context of contemporary Athenian culture in which they were written and performed. In addition, articles that illustrate particular modern critical approaches will be read with the plays. The course will end with a comparative assessment of critical approaches to Greek drama, both ancient (Gorgias, Plato, and Aristotle) and modern. All works will be read in translation. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 363. Not offered 2009-10.
Classics 371 - Ancient History: GreeceFull course for one semester. This course offers a chronological survey of archaic and classical Greek history and civilization from the traditional foundation of the Olympic games in 776 BCE to the fall of the Athenian empire in 404 BCE. After beginning with a brief look at Bronze and Dark Age Greece, we will cover the following topics: the rise of the polis; Greek colonization; the “Age of Revolution,” warfare, aristocracy, and the spread of tyranny; the rise of Athens and Sparta; the Persian Wars; the development of Athens' democracy and empire; the causes and course of the Peloponnesian War; the development of ethnography and historical inquiry; and the nature of Greek social relations, with an emphasis on slavery and gender dynamics in Athens and Sparta. Emphasis is placed on the interpretation of ancient evidence, including primary literary works, inscriptions, and relevant archaeological material. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference. Cross-listed as History 391.
Classics 373 - Ancient History: RomeFull course for one semester. This course examines the development of the Roman state from its formation to the end of the fourth century CE, with a strong emphasis on the republican period and its political, economic, military, and social developments. Topics include the nature of the republican constitution, agricultural and urban society, the rise of violence in Roman politics, public rhetoric and private morality, the creation of the principate under the guidance of Augustus, Rome and its neighbors, the role of the emperor in Roman society, and religious conflict under the emperors. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference. Cross-listed as History 393. Not offered 2009-10.
Classics 375 - Special Topics in Greek and Roman HistoryFull course for one semester. Each special topics course offers an intensive study of a particular topic from Greek and/or Roman history. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference. Cross-listed as History 395. May be repeated for credit. Not offered 2009-10.
Classics 470 - ThesisOne-half or full course for one year.
Classics 481 - Independent ReadingOne-half or full course for one semester. Prerequisite: approval of instructor and division.