Classical Humanities

Courses in the classical humanities offer students broad exposure to the languages, literature, philosophy, art, and history of Greece and Rome. Classical humanities, or “classics” as the discipline is commonly called, is a vibrant, interdisciplinary field that lies at the heart of the liberal arts. The study of classics provides an excellent foundation for graduate work in many fields, such as: history, law, philosophy, comparative literature, religious studies, art history, and archaeology.

In classical humanities courses students will investigate connections between the past and the present and will seek to understand the lens through which successive generations have viewed, construed, and often misconstrued the ancient past. Students will come to understand how the legacy of the Greeks and Romans remains alive, exerting influence in nearly aspect of contemporary culture from our public architecture to our favorite action heroes.


The minor in Classical Humanities builds on and extends the introduction provided by the Human Experience course sequence. It offers a solid foundation in the Western humanities for anyone majoring in such fields as Literature, History, Art, Philosophy, or Religion. The minor also gives a broad perspective on the Western tradition to those majoring in the sciences or social sciences. Graduate and professional schools are increasingly recognizing the need for this broad humanistic focus.

The minor in Classical Humanities requires six courses drawn from any courses in classics, Greek, Latin, or ancient history and art. Two of the six courses required may be chosen from the courses in ancient philosophy listed below. One of the six required courses may be drawn from the list of courses in other disciplines also found below. In addition, certain winter term courses will qualify for the minor when offered: e.g. Myth into Art, Classical Mythology, The Journey of the Hero and the Lover, and overseas study in Greece and Rome.

With prior permission from the Discipline Coordinator in Classics, students may receive credit toward the minor for another related course not found below. Two of the six required courses in the minor may be drawn from the following courses in ancient philosophy:

  • PL 101H Introduction to Philosophy
  • Independent Study of ancient philosophy
  • Courses in early Greek science and philosophy
  • PL 321H History of Philosophy: Greek and Roman

One of the six required courses in the minor may be drawn from the following courses in other disciplines:

  • LI 236H Great Plays: History of Drama I
  • Any course in Classical Art (See listings under "Art" and "Art History")


CL 200H: Classical Mythology
An interpretive look at Greek and Roman myth. Read primary sources and analyze narratives from historical, sociological, cross-cultural, and psychological perspectives.

CL 203H: Women and Gender in the Ancient World
Explores the role and status of women in Greece, Rome, and the Near East. Uses modern theoretical approaches to understand representations of women in literary, historical, philosophical, and scientific texts and in the visual arts.

CL 212H: Language and History of Medicine
Primarily designed for students interested in biological sciences and health professions, this course combines an overview of the Latin/Greek roots used in medical and scientific terminology with an introduction to famous medical treatises of the Western tradition.

CL 214H: Sport and Spectacle: Past and Present
This course traces the development of large-scale public entertainments from Greek and Roman antiquity to contemporary America. It explores sport and spectacle as cultural performances that reflect and encode values, norms, and status-relationships.

CL 242H: Ancient Greek History
An overview from the Bronze Age to Alexander the Great. Examines the literary and material records with an emphasis on the political and cultural development of the city-state.

CL 243H: Roman History I: Romulus to Caesar
Overview of the history of Rome from its legendary beginnings in the eighth century BCE to the fall of the Republic and the ascension of Octavian in 31 BCE.

CL 244H: The Roman Empire
A continuation of the first semester survey of Roman History, the course starts with the end of the Republic in the first century BCE and ends with the destruction of the Empire in the fifth century ACE.

CL 250H: Odysseus' Journey through Time
Uses Homer's epic as a basis for studying two twentieth-century adaptations of the Odyssey: James Joyce's Ulysses, set in Dublin, and Derek Walcott's Omeros, set in the Caribbean. Also discusses changing concepts of the epic hero.

CL 252H: The Path of Wisdom and Virtue
Explores ancient conceptions of wisdom and virtue as conveyed in principal works of Aristotle and Cicero. Discusses the relevance of these concepts for our own age.

CL 261H: Greek Tragedy in Modern Film and Literature
In-depth study of a few Greek tragedies and works they inspired in a variety of genres including drama, science fiction, psychological and philosophical studies, and film. Discusses changing concepts of tragedy and the tragic hero.

CL 262H: Ancient Comedy in Modern Film and Literature
Examines great Greek comedies and their influence on works by the Romans, Shakespeare, Moliere, and modern playwrights, as well as on the modern sit-com and Broadway musical. Also discusses theories of comedy and the comic hero.

CL 271H: Greek Literature: A Critical Survey
Selections from Greek poetry and prose. Emphasis on critical reading with attention to the socio-political context of works and to development of literary genres, forms, and symbols. No prerequisites, but CL 242H recommended.

CL 272H: Roman Literature: A Critical Survey
Introduces many of the most important literary and historical texts of Roman civilization and examines the influences of Rome on the Western heritage.

CL 352H: The Path of Wisdom and Virtue
Explores ancient conceptions of wisdom and virtue as conveyed in principal works of Aristotle and Cicero. Discusses the relevance of these concepts for our own age.


Adria Haluszka

Adria Haluszka

Classics Instructor

Ph.D., The Ohio State University

Heather Vincent

Associate Professor of Classics

Ph.D. Brown University
M.A. University of Maryland
B.S. Vanderbilt University