Dan Davis (department head)
Classics is the study of the languages, literature, and culture of the ancient Greco-Roman world. Greek and Latin are fundamental languages for the study of European literature and civilization, as well as the development of modern languages. The timeless literature of the Greeks and Romans produced Homer, Sappho, Thucydides, Plato, Virgil, and St. Augustine, to name just a few. Greek and Roman civilization has also had an enormous influence on facets of modern culture from law and poetry to art and religion. At Luther, classics can also include the study of Biblical Hebrew.
At Luther, students may earn a major in classics or biblical languages (Greek and Hebrew). There are also minors available in classics and classical studies.
The study of classics is excellent preparation for any number of fields. Classics graduates have pursued careers in many areas, including education, business, computer science, music, foreign language, theology, law, and medicine. Some of our graduates go on to pursue graduate studies in classics or archaeology.
A classics major combines the study of the Greek and Latin languages, along with classical civilization. The department also offers two minors: (1) A classics minor focusing on Greek or Latin; (2) A classical studies minor focusing on classical civilization courses in translation.
Required for a major
Plan 1 (classical languages): Nine coursesâ€”six courses in Latin or six courses in Greek, two courses in the other language, plus one course from classical studies, or ART 251, HIST 241, 242, MUS 341, PHIL 200; and a senior project (unless completed in another major). Other non-language courses may apply with the permission of the department head. Writing requirement completed with GRK 302 or LAT 302. Students contemplating graduate study in classics should take additional courses in both languages.
Plan 2 (classical studies): Nine coursesâ€”four courses in Latin or four courses in Greek, plus five courses in classical studies, one of which must be CLAS 300, and a senior project (unless completed in another major). An additional 300-level classical studies course is required. The two remaining courses can be completed in classical studies or can be selected from ART 251, HIST 241 or 242, MUS 341, or PHIL 200. Other non-language courses may apply with the permission of the department head. Writing requirement completed with CLAS 300.
Teaching option in Latin: Students majoring in classics may become certified to teach Latin at a secondary level either as a primary field or as a second teaching area. See the education department for specific requirements.
Required for a classics minor: Five coursesâ€”four courses in Greek or four courses in Latin, plus one course from classical studies, or ART 251, HIST 241, 242, MUS 341, PHIL 200. Other non-language courses may apply with the permission of the department head.
Required for a classical studies minor: Five courses to be chosen from classical studies, ART 251, HIST 241, 242, MUS 341, PHIL 200. Other non-language courses may apply with the permission of the department head. Students may also apply a maximum of two Greek or Latin courses to the minor.
A survey of the major myths and legends of ancient Greece and Rome by reading such authors as Homer, Hesiod, Aeschylus, Euripides, and Ovid. The course also addresses the problem of interpreting myths and, when possible, introduces parallels from non-Greco-Roman traditions.
A historical survey of ancient Greek culture from the Trojan War to the rise of Rome, including political, economic, social, literary, philosophical, and religious developments. Topics include the rise and fall of the Mycenaean kingdoms, the beginnings of the city-state, the interaction of Greeks with other cultures, Athenian democracy and imperialism, the role of women, Greek religion, the beginnings of literary genres, and the origins of Greek science and philosophy. Readings will draw from ancient historical documents and Greek literature, but also modern archaeological excavations. Open to all students without prerequisite. Offered alternate years.
This course explores various cultural institutions and practices of the ancient Romans through an examination of textual, historical, and archaeological evidence. Emphasis will be on the period from the late Republic to early Empire. Topics include Roman banquets, the toga, houses and villas, the bath complexes, the gladitorial games and chariot races, the theater, religion, and slavery. Offered alternate years.
This course explores the ways in which various events and episodes from Greek and Roman myth and history have been adapted for modern film and television. We will examine a selection of films alongside their original ancient sources, and pay close attention to how these films interpret their sources, as well as how they reflect the cultural values and concerns of their audiences. What is lost or gained in the transition from page to screen? To what extent are films shaped by contemporary modes of production and reception? Are films convenient (yet inadequate) substitutes for reading, or do they allow us a valuable, continuing engagement with their original sources? Offered alternate years.
An in-depth study of the archaeology of ancient Greece, with a focus on the high points of Greek civilization and material culture during the Classical and Hellenistic periods. We will examine archaeological methods along with developments in technology, architecture, sculpture, painting, and the minor arts. We will also consider the nature of archaeological evidence, the relationship between classical archaeology and history, and the legacy of Athens and the classical world in modern culture. Offered alternate years.
This course explores the archaeology of ancient Rome from its early beginnings to its rapid growth into one of the world's largest empires. As we examine Roman technology, architecture, burial practices, sculpture, painting, and the minor arts, we will also consider the nature of archaeological evidence, the relationship between history and archaeology, and the legacy of ancient Rome in the modern world. Offered alternate years.
In-depth study of selected topics in the Greco-Roman world taught during January term as part of Luther's study abroad offerings. Topics will vary according to faculty member and location. Possible topics may include the Ancient Empires of the Mediterranean, Age of Pericles, the World of Alexander, Caesar's Rome, and Roman Britain. Consent of instructor required.
Using texts in translation, this course explores select aspects or themes from the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome. Topics range from consideration of a particular literary genre to the in-depth study of a particular place and time, and its broader explorations of Greco-Roman culture in comparison with other cultures. This course is writing intensive and fulfills the writing requirements for all majors in the classics department. Offered alternate years.
This course examines the history of science and technology in the ancient world between 1200 B.C. (when Babylonian astronomical texts emerge) and A.D. 500. Scientific ideas and technological innovations will be placed in their intellectual, social, religious, economic, and political context. Emphasis is placed on the Greek and Roman period, which saw substantial developments in agriculture, astronomy, geography, mathematics, hydraulics, medicine, music, botany, zoology, and meteorology. Attention will be paid to both literary sources (read in translation) and archaeological evidence.
This course explores the world of late antiquity through the life and times of a young Roman nobleman, later known as St. Patrick. We will read the surviving letters of Patrick and other texts from the period to better understand life on the frontier of the Roman Empire in the fifth century. Topics will include the evolution of northwest Europe from the classical to medieval period, Christianity in late antiquity and Celtic history, society and mythology.
The senior project is a required capstone project for all classics majors in the classical studies track. Students will work with a professor from the Classics department to develop an appropriate research project and produce a substantial research paper on their findings.