Classics & Classical Studies
Discover ancient languages and life.
With the Classics and Classical Studies majors at Whitman College, you’ll unlock the riches of the past through the study of the ancient languages, literatures, histories, arts, cultures and thought of Greek and Roman antiquity. In this rigorous and rewarding program, you can choose from the Classics major, which emphasizes mastering the Greek and Latin languages, or the Classical Studies major, which emphasizes learning about Greek and Roman culture. Either way, you’ll enjoy an exceptional academic experience as you learn how these ancient worlds still influence modern life.
3 Reasons to Study Classics & Classical Studies at Whitman
Interested in Classics & Classical Studies?
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Courses in Classics & Classical Studies
See just a few of the fascinating courses you might take.
Through this year-long course, you’ll gain fundamental skills in reading, comprehending, and translating Latin prose and poetry. You’ll dive right into classical Latin literature by Catullus, Cicero, Ovid and Virgil, as well as Medieval and Renaissance Latin works.
What role did myths play in the lives of ancient Greek, Roman and Mesopotamian people? How did oral traditions shape the form and content of myths? For both majors and non-majors, this course is a great introduction to the classical world. And it includes exercises designed to sharpen your own oral performance skills.
Women and Nature in the Ancient World
Join us as we examine the relationship between gender and nature in the ancient Greco-Roman world, where women were often portrayed in roles that denoted a special relationship with nature. They were mothers, witches, nymphs and virgin-huntresses of the wild. We’ll explore representations of the feminine in the literature, art, rituals and social practices of antiquity.
Intermediate Ancient Greek
Take your Ancient Greek language skills to the next level. Together we’ll explore important works by ancient Greek authors. Plus, we’ll brush up on important aspects of Greek grammar that will help you read more widely and understand more deeply.
Powerful Art/ifacts: Greek and Rome
In this course, you’ll explore the art, architecture, and archaeology of ancient Greece and Rome. We’ll cover key aspects of Greek and Roman society and history from the Bronze Age to the Roman Empire. Along the way, we’ll touch on topics like class and sociopolitical change, cultural identity, religious practices, and daily life as revealed by the archaeological record.
The Republic is one of Plato’s most famous and influential dialogues. This wide-ranging work addresses questions of ethics, moral psychology, education, political philosophy, literary theory, metaphysics and epistemology. Through a sustained and careful reading of the Republic and responses to it, you’ll gain an understanding of Plato’s vision of the just and happy life.
Amazing Experiences You Can Pursue
Learn around the world. Spend time overseas in one of Whitman’s rigorous partner programs in Athens, Rome or St. Andrews, where you’ll have the chance to study artifacts of the ancient world firsthand. It’s an unforgettable way to explore the rich history and vibrant present of these regions.
Dig into the past. Students studying Classics at Whitman can participate in summer excavations in Greece and Italy and have access to the college’s rare books and manuscript collection, which includes ancient manuscripts and artifacts you can explore through your coursework.
Engage with experts. As a Classics or Classical Studies major, you might collaborate with Whitman faculty members on research projects, conduct independent research or learn from rising experts in the field through the Transforming Classics guest speaker series.
Your Questions Answered
Are you fascinated by ancient history and culture? Interested in exploring the roots of Western civilization? Like thinking about deep philosophical questions? Enjoy the challenges of learning other languages? A Classics major blends some of the best that other majors like History, Philosophy, Politics and modern languages have to offer. In the Classics program, you’ll interact with some of the greatest minds of the past as you learn skills that can lead to bright future.
In the Classical Studies major, you’ll learn one classical language (Greek or Latin) to the advanced level, alongside comprehensive coursework in ancient civilization and history. It’s designed to give you a broad understanding of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds.
If you want to take your language studies even further, the Classics major encourages you to develop proficiency in both Greek and Latin (at least three years of one language and two of the other), supported by additional coursework in ancient civilization and history, as well as the opportunity to pursue your own research with a senior thesis.
A Classics degree equips you with essential skills like critical thinking, analysis, research, and communication, making Classics majors well-suited for diverse career paths. This includes roles in education, law, museums, archives, publishing, journalism, business, finance, government, diplomacy, and more.