Reed College Catalog

Alice Hu

Latin epic, early imperial Latin literature, Greek tragedy.

Thomas P. Landvatter

Classical archaeology, Hellenistic and Roman Egypt and Near East, identity and ethnicity in the ancient world.

Ellen G. Millender

Greek and Roman history, Greek historiography, archaic and classical Sparta, women in the ancient world.

Nigel J. Nicholson

Greek and Latin literature, literary theory. On sabbatical 2020–21.

Sonia A. Sabnis

Latin and Greek literature, imperial prose.

Laura Zientek

Latin and Greek literature, imperial poetry and philosophy, landscape studies.

The discipline of classics focuses on the ancient Greek and Roman Mediterranean, as well as the wider Greek and Roman world. It embraces the study of Greek and Latin language and literature as well as the history and material culture of both ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. The study of classics is inherently interdisciplinary, appealing to students interested in history, literature, archaeology, art history, religion, philosophy, theatre, and even linguistics and anthropology. Each year the department offers courses in Greek and Latin at all levels. Additionally, at least two 300-level courses in ancient history, archaeology, or literature in translation are taught on a rotating basis.

Classics majors choose one of two concentrations: 1) Greek and Latin language and literature, or 2) history and archaeology of the ancient Mediterranean (HAAM).  Students who wish to study language and literature while pursuing another major may minor in Greek, Latin, or Greek and Latin.

In consultation with their advisers, prospective majors should enroll in Greek or Latin in their first or second year and should take at least one ancient history or archaeology course in their second year. Students with a background in Greek or Latin should take a scheduled placement exam during orientation week to determine their appropriate level.

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, historiography, or ancient philosophy; investigations into the nature and function of Greek or Roman society and thought; and archaeological and art historical analyses of ancient Mediterranean material culture.

Classics majors and minors 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, is located in Rome and focuses on Roman material culture, history, and archaeology. It offers courses in Greek and Latin literature, Italian, and Renaissance and baroque art history.

Classics majors have also spent a semester of their junior year at the College Year in Athens (CYA) program, which offers courses in Greek literature, history, archaeology, and art, as well as Latin literature. Some have also spent the whole of their sophomore or junior year at Oxford University; Trinity College, Dublin; or University College, Cork. Those students who are interested in archaeology are strongly encouraged to get archaeological fieldwork experience, either through one of these study-abroad programs or through field schools recommended by the department.

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 Division of Literature and Languages.

In addition to serving majors and minors, the department provides elective courses for students in other departments who wish to satisfy group requirements, to study Greek or Roman history and archaeology, or to take courses in general literature dealing with the classical tradition, in which 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 ancient 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 with Concentration in Greek and Latin Language and Literature
1. Greek (110, 210), 311, and 312 or Latin (110, 210), 311, and 312.
2. Introductory course in the other language.
3. Any two classics courses numbered 370–389 (history and archaeology).
4. Classics 470.

Recommended but not required:
1. Additional units in 300-level classics courses, including Advanced Greek or Advanced Latin.
2. Additional work in the other language.
3. French, German, or both.
4. Relevant courses in other subjects such as anthropology, art history, linguistics, literary theory, philosophy, and religion.

Requirements for the Major with Concentration in History and Archaeology of the Ancient Mediterranean
1. Any two of Classics 370–379 (history).
2. Any two of Classics 380–389 (archaeology).
3. Latin 110 and 210 or Greek 110 and 210. (Students with prior experience who place into 210 or 311 must complete either one year of language at placement level or two years of the other language.)
4. Two further 300-level courses in classics, Greek, or Latin, or, with the approval of the department, two units in one of the following areas:
    a) Anthropology: 211 plus one other unit.
    b) History: any two units (including courses with a historical focus or methodology in other departments).
    c) Religion: any two units.
    d) Art history: Art 201 plus one other unit.
    e) Humanities 220, or two units from Humanities 211, 212, 231, and 232.
5. Classics 470.

Recommended but not required:
1. Statistics.
2. Other relevant courses in subjects such as anthropology, art history, or history.
3. French, German, or both.

A Minor in Greek, Latin, or Greek and Latin
The goal of the classics minors is to ensure work in Greek or Latin language at the advanced level, and to provide various options to students with different levels of preparation that reflect achievement of that standard.

Requirements for the Greek Minor

  • Five units from Greek 110, 210, 311, and 312. At least one unit must be from Greek 311 or 312.

Requirements for the Latin Minor

  • Five units from Latin 110, 210, 311, and 312. At least one unit must be from Latin 311 or 312.

Requirements for the Greek and Latin Minor

  1. Six units from Greek 110, 210, 311, 312, Latin 110, 210, 311, and 312. At least two of these units must be from Greek 311 and 312 or Latin 311 and 312.
  2. At least two units must be in each language (at least two units must be in Greek and at least two units must be in Latin).

Greek

Greek 110 - First-Year Greek

Full course for one year. A study of the elements of ancient Greek grammar and first readings in Greek prose. Conference.

Greek 210 - Second-Year Greek

Full course for one year. A review of grammar, continued readings in Greek prose, and first readings in Homer or drama. Prerequisite: Greek 110 or equivalent. Conference.

Greek 311 - Advanced Greek

Full 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. Conference. May be repeated for credit.

Greek 312 - Advanced Greek

Full 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. Conference. May be repeated for credit.

Latin

Latin 110 - First-Year Latin

Full course for one year. A study of the elements of Latin grammar and first readings in Latin literature. Conference.

Latin 210 - Second-Year Latin

Full 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. Conference.

Latin 311 - Advanced Latin

Full 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. Conference. May be repeated for credit.

Latin 312 - Advanced Latin

Full 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. Conference. May be repeated for credit.

Classics

Classics 362 - Classical Mythology

Full course for one semester. An examination of the origins, function, and significance of myth in Greek and Roman literature and culture. The course will begin by considering different theoretical approaches to myth, and then move to an analysis of particular Greek and Roman myths. Authors and works may include Homer, Homeric Hymns, Hesiod, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Plato, Virgil, Ovid, Seneca, and Apuleius. Prerequisite: first semester of Humanities 110. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 362.

Not offered 2020–21.

Classics 371 - The Greek World from 776 to 404 BCE

Full 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”; hoplite 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 - The Rise and Fall of the Roman Republic

Full course for one semester. This course offers a chronological survey of Republican Roman history from Rome’s consolidation of power on the Italian peninsula in 266 BCE to the death of the Emperor Augustus in 14 CE. We will begin with a consideration of Rome’s rapid growth from 264 to 146 BCE and the various theories concerning the factors behind Roman imperial expansion. We will then explore the political, social, economic, and cultural repercussions of Rome’s transformation into the leading power in the Mediterranean and the various factors that led to the fall of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire under Augustus. During the semester we will cover the following topics: the structure and evolution of the Roman constitution; the development of the “professional” Roman army and its political ramifications; changing gender relations in Roman society; imperial governance; the growth and practice of slavery; Rome’s cultural interaction with Greece and the East; the social and cultural function of gladiatorial combat; Rome’s relations with its allies; the politicization of the Roman people and the rise of “popular” politicians; and the Augustan settlement. 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 393.

Not offered 2020–21.

Classics 375 - Special Topics in Ancient Mediterranean History

Full course for one semester. Each special-topics course offers an intensive study of a particular topic or period of the history of the ancient Mediterranean world. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference. Cross-listed as History 395. May be repeated for credit.

Not offered 2020–21.

Classics 381 - Archaeological Method and Theory

Full course for one semester. This course investigates theoretical approaches to the study of material culture and the philosophical foundations of archaeology as a discipline. Topics to be covered may include the history of archaeology; cultural, historical, processual, and postprocessual approaches to archaeology; middle-range theory; behavioral archaeology and formation processes; the nature and definition of style; archaeologies of identity; field methodology; and archaeological research design. In addition to reading major foundational theoretical works, students will engage with specific archaeological case studies drawn from both the ancient Mediterranean and elsewhere. Prerequisite: Humanities 110, or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference.

Not offered 2020–21.

Classics 382 - Material Culture and Empire: The Archaeology of the Roman World

Full course for one semester. This course considers the archaeology and material culture of the Roman Empire, including the city of Rome, Italy, and the provinces. This course is theoretically grounded in the archaeology of empire, but will also be content-based, covering major sites throughout the empire and classes of material culture. Topics to be covered may include the origin and development of the city of Rome; imperial display; daily life in the Roman Empire; the archaeology of the Roman economy; the archaeology of cult and religion; provincial archaeology and the relationship between center and periphery; the archaeology of border regions; and methodological and disciplinary issues in approaching a vast territorial empire. Throughout the course, emphasis will be placed on the archaeology of identity in an imperial context. Prerequisite: Humanities 110, or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference. 

Classics 383 - Contact and Exchange in the Mediterranean: The Archaeology of the Greek World

Full course for one semester. This course considers the archaeology and material culture of the Greek world, centering on the Aegean and the wider eastern Mediterranean, as well as other areas of Greek settlement. The focus will be both theoretical and content-based, covering important sites, objects, and classes of material culture. Topics to be covered may include the development of urban and public space; monumental architecture; sculpture and other fine arts; houses, households, and the archaeology of daily life; Greek colonization and city foundations; ceramics and the use of pottery as archaeological evidence; and funerary practices. Throughout the course, emphasis will be placed on the interaction between Greeks and other groups in the Mediterranean, and the material effects of that interaction. Prerequisite: Humanities 110, or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference. 

Not offered 2020–21.

Classics 389 - Special Topics in Archaeology

Full course for one semester. Each special-topics course offers an intensive study of a particular archaeological topic. Prerequisite: Humanities 110, or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference.

Not offered 2020–21.

Classics 470 - Thesis

One-half or full course for one year.

Classics 481 - Independent Reading

One-half or full course for one semester. Prerequisite: approval of instructor and division.