Degree: Bachelor of Arts
The classics major at Union is very much a living and vital pursuit. Union excels at making connections among disciplines, and in many ways, classics is the original interdisciplinary studies program.
At Union, you will explore in depth the extraordinary civilizations of the ancient near east, Greece, and Rome – their art, architecture, economics, history, languages, law, literature, mythology, philosophy, politics, religion and science. In contrast to more traditional programs, many of your courses will go beyond the "classical" realm to explore such other ancient civilizations as Sumerian and Babylonian, Egyptian, Hebrew, Hittite and Persian.
Students can undertake course work in the ancient languages (Greek, Biblical Hebrew and Latin), leading to study of ancient texts in the original language, with opportunities to minor in Greek, Latin, and classical civilization. Your courses also provide the basis for majors and minors in religious studies and numerous other interdisciplinary options. Recent interdisciplinary majors have combined classics with such fields as biology , computer science, economics, English, French, history, mathematics and philosophy.
Our faculty members bring varied backgrounds and interests to their teaching, and have been recognized with local and national teaching awards. They have written, edited and translated a range of articles, books, texts and tomes, and received fellowships from such national institutions as the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Center for Hellenic Studies, and the Loeb Classical Library Foundation, and from such international institutions as Wolfson College (Oxford University), the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and the Mommsen-Gesellschaft (Germany). They will guide you as you learn to read carefully and critically, truly coming to understand how language works, and develop your ability to communicate with others.
Outside the classroom, our active Classics Club organizes trips to see plays on classical themes and promotes lectures about the ancient world. For many students, a highlight of their Union experience is studying abroad on the fall term in Athens, offered through the College Year in Athens (CYA). This program combines course work in a broad range of areas related to ancient and modern Greece – often on site at an archaeological excavation and in its associated museum – with extended field trips to Crete and into the Peloponnese. A term in Florence led by a Union professor and exploring classically inspired Renaissance art is another exciting option for Classic majors.
Whether immersed in the rhythms of 21st century life in Greece or grappling with arcane texts, you will become skilled in problem solving, critical thought and writing. This kind of liberal arts background will go a long way toward preparing you for a career in business, communications, information technology, international relations, law, linguistics medicine, teaching, religion and many other fields.
Explores the Greek and Roman roots of Western medicine. How did the Hippocratic writers, Galen and other physicians understand and treat the ailments of patients? And what did it mean to be a physician or a patient two millennia ago?
Examines the city of Rome, addressing sites in their historical and cultural contexts. The focus is the ancient city, but we also examine the city at various periods in history, including World War II and the present day. (PHOTO: DAVID ILIFF)
Ancient texts in translation compared with modern film representations. The goal will not be to consider where the films went wrong, but to examine how they recast and reinterpret classical texts to reflect modern interests.
“I did my final paper on kleos (κλέος), or the concept of undying glory. Delving into the different meanings of the word was fascinating. After class, I’d sit in Professor (Hans-Friedrich) Mueller’s office and talk about life and ancient Greece.”
- Meghan Reilly '20