Offices & Resources

Classics

About

The Classics Department’s primary goal is to teach students how to read the significant works of Greek and Latin literature in the original. Our intention is to breathe life into these languages; to inspire students to see in their present-day lives the relevance of the study of the Classics, and to seek out similarities and differences between our world and the ancients’ whether they be on the linguistic, artistic, political, societal or philosophical level.


One of the enduring gifts of studying the classics, beyond the acquisition of important academic skills such as memorization and grammar, is that it exposes students to the rich variety of ideas and perspectives that informed much of western thought, literature and history. By understanding where we came from, and by shedding critical light on past achievements, assumptions and mistakes, students of the classics gain a unique perspective on where we have been, where we are and where we might be headed.

The Classics Department offers courses emphasizing the culture and history of antiquity as seen through the archaeological and written remains of ancient Greece and Rome. Beginning coursework uses a readerly approach to learning the language and introduces students from the beginning to the genres of history, poetry, oratory, and philosophy in Latin and Greek.

St. Mark’s offers a special Classics Diploma to qualified students. To earn this diploma, a student must complete three years of one classical language and two years of the other, complete a final senior project of their choice and travel to Italy during March break.

The purpose of the tour to Italy is to help our students expand their literary study of the classical world by to include the material artifacts of classical culture provided by ancient sites and museums. On the trip students learn how to appreciate and analyze artifacts, architecture, city plans and monuments and in doing so deepen and enrich their understanding of Ancient Greek and Roman history and culture. Students at all levels, from Latin I - Advanced Topics, have a relevant literary background that would support the intended purpose of the trip. Although the study tour is intended for students pursuing the Classical Diploma program and priority will be given to those students in the program who apply for the trip, other students who are interested in Classics may also apply.

Faculty

Department Chair
email

[Full Profile]

Jeanna M. Cook

Heather Harwood

Courses

Latin

Latin I

This course serves as an introduction to the Latin language and Roman culture. The course covers approximately the first half of the Cambridge Latin Course (Units One and Two). The emphasis is on reading authentic Latin with a firm grasp of fundamental Latin grammar and vocabulary. Students explore Roman culture through a number of projects that focus on the history and culture of Pompei. The end of the year culminates in the production of a short play, created and performed cooperatively by the whole class.

Latin II

This course completes Cambridge Latin Course (Units Three and Four), with a continued emphasis on reading and translating. While students master the fundamentals of Latin grammar and syntax, they embark on a translation of adapted passages from Livy’s Ab Urbe Condita and Caesar’s Gallic Wars. Students consider the tumultuous history of Rome from the legends of its founding through the end of the Republic.

Latin III

This course serves as an introduction to two of the major genres of Latin literature, rhetorical prose and epic poetry. In the fall, students study in detail the politics of the end of the Roman Republic while reading selections from Caesar, Cicero and Sallust. Building upon their foundation of morphology and grammatical constructions, students master these topics within the context of the literature studied. In addition, students will participate in a class-wide race through the cursus honorum, the Roman political “fast track.” In the spring, the focus shifts to poetry and literary style. Students study Roman culture and mythological tradition while reading selections from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Upon completion of this course, students may, with Departmental permission, continue on to Advanced Latin Readings.

Honors Latin III

This course is a prerequisite for students who are planning to take the Advanced Latin course in their fourth year. Students are introduced to rhetoric and the prose of the Late Republic while reading selected orations from Cicero and the historiography of Sallust. In the spring semester, students explore the culture and history of Imperial Rome through the poetry of Horace, Ovid and Virgil. Students gain familiarity with a variety of metrical and literary devices and complete writing assignments (in English) of varying lengths on topics related to their readings.

Advanced Topics in Latin Literature

Depending on the interest of students and the discretion of the instructor, students may read passages from Catullus Virgil’s Georgics, Lucan’s Pharsalia and other Roman lyric and elegiac poetry.

Greek

Greek I

This course serves as an introduction to the ancient Greek language and culture. Working from the J.A.C.T. text, Reading Greek, students read Greek passages and dialogues throughout the course. Narration includes cultural and historical topics centered around 5th century Athens. Grammatical topics, morphology, and vocabulary are introduced through these passages and reviewed in class discussion and sample exercises.

Greek II

This course completes the introduction of Greek grammar, working through the J.A.C.T. text, Reading Greek. Students finish the year reading authentic Attic prose with selections from Plato, Lysias, and Euripides as they trace the rise and fall of the Athenian Empire.

Greek III—Special Topics in Greek Literature

Depending on the interest of the students and the discretion of the instructor, students may read and translate selections from the Greek New Testament, tragedies by Sophocles or Euripides, selections from Homer’s Iliad or Odyssey, or readings in Greek philosophy or history.


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