Overview and Contact Information
Ancient Greek is very much alive, not just in the medical and technical terms that pervade modern life, but in the numerous works that still speak to audiences today. Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Greek tragedies, Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War and, of course, the New Testament are just some of the names on Greek's list of "Greatest Hits."
These works, of course, can be read in translation, and the department offers a wide array of courses approaching the culture and history of Greek antiquity through readings entirely in English. But juxtapose any two translations of a work in Ancient Greek and you will quickly realize how much the translator stands between you and the original. For this reason, our language program is designed to allow students to read Homer's Iliad in Greek as soon as possible—and to help them learn to use the tools needed for learning Greek on their own. Beyond the first year, we offer a range of courses at all levels.
The Greek major (or minor) complements well the study of philosophy, religion, politics, English, ancient art history, and archaeology, and in some cases Greek is necessary for advanced study in these areas. It is also excellent preparation for law school, while some of our majors have completed their pre-med course work and gone on to medical school. Most important, the study of Greek (Latin, too) provides a strong foundation in the liberal arts, one that challenges students to think deeply about difficult questions and to value the power of language.
In addition to Greek the department offers majors in Latin, classics, and ancient studies. Classics combines the study of both ancient languages with courses in ancient history, art, philosophy, politics, or religion. Ancient studies approaches Greek and Roman civilizations from an interdisciplinary perspective with less emphasis on the ancient languages. There are also minors related to each of these majors.
The department encourages study abroad. In recent years, students in the department have spent part of their junior year at Oxford, Saint Andrews, and other institutions in Great Britain. College Year in Athens also offers a one-semester program in Greece. Students who anticipate taking an advanced degree in archaeology, ancient art history, ancient history, or classics can apply to summer sessions of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.
This area of study is administered by the Department of Classics and Italian. Advisors for Greek:
Paula Debnar, Professor of Classics on the Alumnae Foundation, Teaching Spring Only
Geoffrey Sumi, Professor of Classics
Bruce Arnold, Associate Professor of Classics