Members of the Classics faculty offer January Term courses taught every other January in Greece, Turkey, Italy, and the United Kingdom.
“I spent four weeks traveling to sites in Italy which I had been reading about for years in Classics courses. Each museum and monument and every temple and tomb we visited was a profound and educational experience that has contributed to my fascination with the ancient Romans. Prior to this trip, I thought of Rome as a city of ruins—a relic of the past that had not been touched in two millennia. I was surprised to see so many people and so much activity in a such an ancient city.”
—Anders Hopkins '15
This course, taught completely in Greece, will explore the mythology and history of ancient Greece. The first stage of our itinerary will take us to the mountainous island of Crete in the south Aegean, where we will explore the ruins of Bronze Age palaces, temples and cave sites that gave rise to the myths of Theseus, Minos, and the labyrinth of the Minotaur. The second stage will take us by ferry from Crete to Athens. Here we will investigate the Parthenon (Athena’s temple) atop the Acropolis and its extensive artistic program designed both to recall myths and to make them anew. We will also visit the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion and the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi. The third stage will take place in southern Greece (the Peloponnese), where most ancient Greek myths have their start. We will explore (among other places) the archaeological ruins of Corinth (Pegasus), Mycenae (Agamemnon), Tiryns (Hercules), Argos (Perseus), and the sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia, home of the ancient Greek Olympic games. In addition to placing students precisely where ancient Greek myth-making and history took place, it also explores the dynamics of myth and history, the numerous ways that ancient Greek cities relied on oral histories and mythologies to construct identities, and the ways in which myth influenced the artists of the Renaissance and Romantic period.
This course explores the Roman experience in Britain, including the invasions of the Caesar and Claudius, the establishment of Roman camps, forts, and settlements in the south and central areas, and the great walls of Hadrian and Antoninus in the north. Ancient texts will serve as our historical guide, and archaeology will illuminate the interaction of Romans with native Britons during the 1st-5th centuries A.D. The course includes a two-day visit to the British Museum, a trip to Roman Bath, participation in a Roman reenactment group, and a long day-hike along Hadrian's Wall.
This course, taught completely in Italy, will explore the rise, floruit, and fall of Rome, from Etruscan beginnings in the 7th century B.C., to the rise of the Republic in the 3rd to 1st century B.C., to the rise and fall of the empire during the 1st to 3rd century A.D. The first stage of our itinerary will take us to Rome itself, where we will tour the ancient forum, the Vatican and other major museums, and related ancient sites. The second stage will take us north to Tuscany, where we will explore several Etruscan archaeological sites to gain perspective on Rome's origins. After a three-day stay in Florence to visit sites and museums we will return to Rome for a day of study and classroom instruction. The third stage will take us south to Campania and sites on the Bay of Naples. In Naples we will visit the famous archaeological museum, then make excursions to Herculaneum, Pompeii, Mt. Vesuvius, and Capri. The course will conclude in Rome, where we will continue our tour of archaeological sites from the heyday of the Roman Empire, including the various imperial fora, monuments, and villas. The course will analyze the mechanisms with which Rome built a long-lasting Republic, and how that Republic transitioned into empire via a series of constitutional and military crises. We will reflect on the nature and evolution of the empire, what sustained it, how and why it fell, and the ways in which Roman material culture influenced the Renaissance and Western civilization.