Because of their continuity and comparability, the classical and modern worlds offer valuable perspectives on each other. Their continuity has long been recognized; modern languages, institutions, values, and the forms and symbols in which we frame ideas are derived from the beginnings of Western civilization in Greece and Rome. But since our modern world differs in important ways from its origins, the study of classics also supplies a perspective for comparison that enforces rational, conscious examination of the unconscious assumptions by which we speak, think, and act. Grinnell courses in classics deliberately and explicitly invite students to apply their classical experience to the facts and modes of understanding they have learned in history, social sciences, philosophy, literature, and the arts as taught from more modern points of view in other departments of the College. All classics offerings are designed and taught with a view to the needs of students from various disciplines and with various preprofessional interests. Some of these needs are addressed directly in courses in classical thought or New Testament Greek, but, in general, preparation for such professions as law is best served by the rigorous and humane qualities that the study of classics gives to a liberal education. The department offers beginning, intermediate, and advanced courses in both Greek and Latin and a special course, Latin 225, which quickly brings entering students with differing backgrounds to an appropriate reading ability by working on their individual needs. The 300-level courses in Latin and Greek introduce students to the pleasure derived from careful and intelligent reading of a relatively small selection of the best literature. Reading competence also is fostered in a voluntary activity that has become a tradition fondly remembered by graduates: the weekly evening of sight-reading in faculty homes. Majors take a minimum of 20 credits in reading courses, since the department is convinced that all objectives of classical study—from linguistic competence to familiarity with classical culture—are best approached through intensive study of literary texts in their original languages. Majors who plan a career in classical scholarship satisfy the need for more extensive reading or more sharply focused professional preparation in independent study. Those who incline toward the archaeological specialty, and those with more literary or historical interests, are encouraged to take a semester in one of the approved programs in Athens or Rome. Since careers in these areas will require reading proficiency in French and German, interested students are advised to master at least one of these languages during the undergraduate years.
A minimum of 32 credits beyond the 100 level. With permission, up to 8 of the 32 credits may be taken in related studies outside the department. Required are Classics 495 and at least 20 credits in 300-level courses or individual reading, or 16 credits in 300-level courses or individual reading in one language and course 222 in the other. A major program in classics normally involves reading in the original in both Greek and Latin, but a student may elect to build a major program including independent study and reading in either Greek or Latin alone, supplemented by other departmental courses or related work in other literature, linguistics, art, theatre, philosophy, or other disciplines.
To be considered for honors in classics, graduating seniors, in addition to meeting the College’s general requirements for honors, must show superior performance in coursework in classics, combined with superior breadth or depth of curriculum.
The fundamentals of ancient Greek inflection, grammar, syntax, and literary style, based on simplified readings from Attic prose and poetry.
Continuation of Greek 101. Review of forms and grammar. Introduction to a range of Greek poetic and prose literature, with selected short readings from Homer, lyric poetry, Herodotus, Sophocles, Euripides, Plato, and the Christian Scriptures.
Reading of selected passages from the Iliad, the Odyssey, or both epics; special readings in archaeological and critical background.
Readings from one or more of Plato’s dialogues with attention to language, literary features, and philosophy.
Reading of two plays with study of literary form, the myths, and relevant social, religious, and philosophical issues.
Reading and study of related works of one or more Greek prose writers, excluding Plato. Possibly to include history (Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon), philosophy (Aristotle), oratory (Andocides, Lysias, Demosthenes), or epigraphy.
Readings in Greek poetry, excluding Homer and drama. Possibly to include Archaic lyric and elegiac poets (e.g., Sappho, Archilochus, Solon), Pindar and Bacchylides, or the Hellenistic poets (Apollonius, Theocritus, Callimachus). Introduction to Greek metrics and literary dialects. Emphasis on close reading and critical analysis of the texts.
Supervised readings designed to it special needs of students — for example, those who wish to develop facility in reading New Testament Greek.
The fundamentals of Latin forms and sentence structure, based on sentences and connected reading from classical Latin literature.
Continuation of Latin 103. Readings in classical Latin prose and poetry, with review and composition as needed in order to attain a reading knowledge of Latin.
An intermediate course that can function as a continuation of Latin 222 or as a review class for students with substantial prior work in Latin at the secondary or collegiate level. Review of fundamentals with an emphasis on reading and interpreting a variety of texts. Prerequisite: Latin 222, or at least two years of secondary-school Latin.
Readings in Lucretius, Horace, and Juvenal: the poetry of criticism and wit. Roman originality, Epicurean and Stoic stances in this complex and chameleonic genre, the interplay of moral voice and sense of humor, relations between philosophy and satire, rhetoric, and poetry.
Readings from Cicero’s speeches, essays, or letters, with special attention to language, subject matter, rhetoric, literary artistry in general, and historical setting.
Readings in the Eclogues, the Georgics, and the Aeneid; the development of Vergilian poetic technique; the civilized and national epic as a new form and its influence on Roman and later cultures; the pastoral tradition, Greek literary precedents.
Selected readings from Sallust, Bellum Catilinae, Bellum Iugurthinum, and Livy, Ab Urbe Condita; the interpretation of Rome’s past by historians of the era of transition from republic to empire.
The poetry of Catullus and the Odes of Horace. Critical analysis, the Greek background and models, the art and philosophy of Horace as the culmination of classical humanism.
The poetry of Lucretius and some of the essays of Cicero will be studied for the ways in which they present Greek ideas to a Roman audience, on the subjects of nature, religion, politics, and the goals of life.
Supervised reading designed to fit special needs of students.
Ancient History, and Classics (in Translation), Archaeology, Philosophy
Also listed as General Literary Studies 242. A systematic study of the most important stories and figures of classical mythology, with emphasis on the reading and interpretation of primary Greek and Roman literary sources and on the contribution of feminist criticism, anthropology, religion, and psychology to this study.
Also listed as Art 248. A study of major archaeological excavations and artistic genres of ancient Greece, and their relationship to political and cultural history; the exchange of artistic and archaeological influences with contemporary cultures of Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Also listed as Art 250. A study of the major monuments and artifacts of ancient Etruria and Rome; their relationship to the political and cultural history; the Roman borrowing and adoption of Greek forms, as well as original expression in art and architecture. Roman artistic exchange with other cultures of Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Devoted to major themes in Greek and Roman culture, the seminar allows seniors to integrate their study of classics and related fields. Participants will plan topics and present papers that serve as a basis for analysis and discussion.
- College Catalog