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 dead 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.
Beyond these conceptual enrichments, students benefit from the mental discipline that learning these languages necessarily entails. We believe that now more than ever, our world needs minds that are trained to synthesize, analyze and hypothesize. Studying the classics asks all of this and more of students and thus produces minds empowered to think more flexibly, critically and effectually about the past, the present and the future.
The Classics Department offers courses emphasizing the culture and history of antiquity as seen through the archeological 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 and complete a final senior project of their choice. We accept credits in either language earned before a student’s entrance to St. Mark’s.