Explore ancient languages and cultures and better understand your own.
Classics has been a cornerstone of the liberal arts and continues to play an important role in that tradition. The idea of liberal study had its beginning and initial elaboration in the ancient Greek and Roman worlds. As that idea has expanded in theory and practice over history, the study of classics has remained one of its components, and students of classics have embraced liberal education’s wider aims: to provide the perspective and intellectual skills which enable a person to learn deeply and widely, to think clearly and productively, and to communicate effectively. Its skills include analysis, synthesis, critique, and creativity. It aims at appreciation of the cultural expressions and aspirations of humankind, as well as scientific knowledge. Liberal education is therefore an ideal complement to study of a particular field and preparation for a career.
In pursuit of the liberal arts, scholars and students of classics ask enduring and novel questions about the languages, literature, cultures, history, art, archaeology, mythology, and philosophy of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Our holistic approach to these areas informs our understanding of the modern world and antiquity’s multifaceted influence on it. Students pursue these topics in classes, both at Grinnell and abroad, and through independent research mentored by faculty. Classics majors emerge well prepared for graduate study — in the humanities, law, and medicine — as well as for careers in business, education, service, technology, and many others.