Program Information

Classical Civilization

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Classical Civilization

Coordinator:  Jeffrey S. Carnes, Associate Professor
340 Huntington Beard Crouse Hall

 Faculty Jeffrey S. Carnes, Matthieu H. van der Meer 

Why Study Classics?

The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.

                                                                                                L.P. Hartley

Students approaching Classical Studies for the first time may wonder how the study of languages and cultures from antiquity is relevant in the digital era; why study Classics?

First, Classics provides students with many fascinating intellectual opportunities.  Because the range of Greek and Latin literature is so diverse, students interested in history, drama, poetry, political science, or philosophy, will find ample material to stimulate their curiosity. Moreover, students will develop the ability to read some of the most influential works of western literature in their original languages, and learn about cultures that are radically different from our own, yet at the same time provide the foundation of many modern ideas and institutions.

Since Classical Studies have traditionally played a central role in education they have left an indelible mark on the intellectual, political, and artistic development of Western Civilization.  Countless authors, as diverse in time and place as Dante and Derek Walcott, have looked for inspiration to the classical tradition; political theorists and statesmen, including Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, developed their political ideals through a close reading of ancient historians such as Polybius and Thucydides.  Understanding the reception of classical texts and the ways subsequent generations adapted and modified classical ideals will grant students a greater degree of proficiency in civic and cultural history, and help them better understand the cultural politics of their own world.

While not all Classics students wish to become classical scholars, a major in Classics is among the most impressive degrees to have when applying for a job in other fields.  The work ethic required for success in the languages, the intellectually challenging nature of the grammar and syntax of Greek and Latin, and the interdisciplinary nature of the field are only a few reasons why Classics majors are highly respected and sought-after job candidates.  Furthermore, because of the historical role of Classics in education many terms and concepts in various fields are derived from Greek or Latin.  For these reasons, Classics majors often find employment in Law, Medical Sciences, Government/Politics, Writing and Journalism, and Education. 

Why study Classics?  To find a challenging and immensely rewarding field of study, and to explore the familiar yet foreign country that is our past.


Undergraduate students at Syracuse University in a college that awards minors in Arts and Sciences subject areas.

Curriculum Requirements:

The Minor in Classical Civilization requires 18 credits chosen from the following list of courses.  At least 12 credits must come from courses numbered 300 and above; in addition, at least two courses must come from among the courses taught within the Classics program (those with the prefixes LAT, GRE, and LIT).  Other courses related to the ancient world may be substituted with the approval of the program director.


GRE 101         Ancient Greek I
GRE 102         Ancient Greek II
GRE 201         Ancient Greek III
GRE 310         Greek Prose Authors
GRE 320         Readings from Greek Poets
GRE 410         Advanced Greek Prose
GRE 420         Advanced Greek Poetry


LAT 101         Latin I
LAT 102         Latin II
LAT 201         Latin III
LAT 310         Latin Prose Authors
LAT 320         Latin Poets
LAT 410         Advanced Latin Prose   
LAT 420         Advanced Latin Poetry

 LIT (Literature in Translation)

LIT 101           Introduction to Classical Literature (Greek)
LIT 102           Introduction to Classical Literature (Latin)
LIT 203           Greek and roman Epic in English Translation
LIT 211           Greek and Roman Drama in English Translation
LIT 300.2        A Greek Odyssey (offered in Florence)
LIT/REL 421 Classical Mythology (offered in Florence)


ANT 141         Introduction to Archaeology and Prehistory
ANT 145         Introduction to Historical Archeology
ANT 346         Gender Through the Ages
ANT 348         History of Archaeology


HST 210          The Ancient World
HST 310          Early Medieval Europe
HST 352          History of Ancient Greece
HST 353          History of Ancient Rome
HST 401          Roman Imperialism
HST 401          Herodotus and the Persian Wars


HOA 105        Arts and Ideas I
HOA 301        Origins of Western Art
HOA 302        Greek Art and Architecture
HOA 303        Etruscans and Romans (offered in Florence)
HOA 304        Roman Art and Architecture


LIN 201          The Nature and Study of Language
LIN 202          Languages of the World


PHI 111          Plato’s Republic
PHI 307          Ancient Philosophy
PHI 415          Roots of Western Civilization (offered in Madrid)


REL 205         Ancient Greek Religion
REL 206         Greco-Roman Religion
REL 217         New Testament
REL 294         Mythologies
REL 309         Early Christianities
REL/LIT 421  Classical Mythology (offered in Florence)

Total Credits: 18