Ancient Studies



Ancient Studies is an interdisciplinary major designed for students interested in the languages, arts, religions, histories, and material cultures of peoples living in the ancient world. The Ancient Studies curriculum at Eckerd spans a wide geographical range including the Mediterranean Basin, the Near East, China, Japan, and India. Chronologically, the curriculum focuses on historical periods spanning approximately 3300 BCE to 1300 CE. Because this initiative brings together several disciplines from the humanities and social sciences, it encourages unique collaborative and integrative approaches to liberal learning, providing majors with opportunities to think comparatively and to investigate specific cultures within larger geographical and temporal contexts.

Students who major in Ancient Studies develop competencies in the following:

  • Understanding how culture is received, interpreted, and transmitted across temporal and geographical distances
  • Analyzing ancient textual and material evidence using a variety of methods and approaches
  • Appreciating gaps and sources of conflicting information in the historical, literary, and archaeological records
  • Assessing ways in which traditional interpretations of antiquity and classical heritage have been shaped by contemporary social and political contexts and concerns
  • Attaining greater appreciation for the complexity of studying the ancient world by examining specific cultures and/or geographical regions from multiple disciplinary perspectives
The major in Ancient Studies requires a total of eleven courses: five drawn from the required Core; five the student's designated Areas of Interest (Tracks); and AS 498, the Comprehensive Examination.

I. The Ancient Studies Core

All students must complete five courses designed to provide a foundation in language, ancient history, and material culture, including:

At least one year of an ancient language:

    GR 101-102: Introduction to Ancient Greek I and II
    LA 101-102: Elementary Latin I and II
    LA 201-202: Intermediate Latin I and II
With the permission of the Ancient Studies Coordinator, students may fulfill this requirement with Classical Chinese in combination with its prerequisites.

Normally, students are expected to meet the minimum language requirement through completion of courses offered at Eckerd College. Those who wish to transfer credit in Classical Hebrew, Sanskrit, or other languages designated relevant to the major in Ancient Studies should consult with, and obtain approval from, the Ancient Studies Discipline Coordinator.

One of the following archaeology or anthropology courses, selected in consultation with and approved by the Ancient Studies Discipline Coordinator:

    AN 201G: Introduction to Anthropology
    AN 204S: Introduction to Archaeology
    AN 230S: Linguistic Anthropology

Two courses with an historical focus, selected from the following:

    CL 242H: Ancient Greek History
    CL 243H: The Roman Republic
    CL 244H: The Roman Empire
    EA 201G: East Asian Traditions
    HI 232G: World History to Columbus
    RE 240G: Non-Western Religion
    RE 241H: Christianity: Heros and Heretics
    RE 242H: Engaging the Bible
    PL 321H: History of Philosophy: Greek and Roman
    PL 322H: History of Philosophy: Medieval and Renaissance
With permission of the Ancient Studies Coordinator, other infrequently offered courses that fulfill the goals of the Core may be substituted for one history-related course.

II. Areas of Interest in Ancient Studies

Beyond the Core requirements, majors should work with a faculty mentor to select five (5) focal courses in two areas:

  • The Primary Area of Interest: three courses, to provide depth in a particular field
  • The Secondary Ar
    ea of Interest: two courses, to provide additional breadth
At least two courses in the primary and secondary areas of interest must be Eckerd College courses offered at the 300-level or above.

Students will select one primary and one secondary area of interest from among the following:

  • Ancient Literature (in translation)
  • Classical Languages and Literature
  • Comparative Religion, Myth, and Philosophy
  • East Asia
  • Gender and Ethnicity in the Ancient World
  • Greek World and Hellenistic Culture
  • History and Material Culture
  • Near East
  • Roman World and Early Christianity
Specific courses for the areas of interest listed above (from Classics, Religious Studies, East Asian Studies, Philosophy, Art History, History, and Literature) are available through the Ancient Studies Discipline Coordinator.

III. Comprehensive Examination

To complete the major, students must take AS 498, the Comprehensive Examination in Ancient Studies. Exceptional students may be invited to write a Senior Thesis (AS 499) in lieu of the Comprehensive Examination.


AS 242H: Gods, Heroes, & Monsters of Epic
Read fantastic epic tales about gods, heroes, and monsters from the ancient world, and discover unique perspectives on how various cultures consider important questions of mortality and fate, virtue and vice, identity, community, and family.

AS 301G: Identity, Race, & Ethnicity in the Ancient World
Introduces the field of "Ancient Ethnography," exploring representations of distant lands and peoples of the ancient world, as perceived by the Greeks and Romans. Modern theory on race and ethnicity will be used to illuminate various ancient ethnographic texts. Writing Intensive course.

AS 303H: Magic in the Ancient World
A study of magical practices, arcane spellbooks, and fantastical literature from ancient Persia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. How do we define magic? Who practiced magic, and why? What makes magic so pervasive even today?

AS 498: Comprehensive Exam

AS 499: Senior Thesis