Department of Classics

  • Chair

    Andrew M. Feldherr

  • Departmental Representative

    Emmanuel Bourbouhakis

  • Director of Graduate Studies

    Michael A. Flower

  • Professor

    Denis C. Feeney

    Andrew M. Feldherr

    Harriet I. Flower

    Michael A. Flower

    Andrew L. Ford

    Marc Domingo Gygax

    Brooke A. Holmes

    Robert A. Kaster

    Joshua T. Katz

    Nino Luraghi

    Christian Wildberg

  • Associate Professor

    Yelena Baraz

     

  • Assistant Professor

    Joshua Billings

    Emmanuel C. Bourbouhakis

    Daniela Mairhofer

    Dan-el Padilla Peralta

    Katerina Stergiopoulou

  • Lecturer

    Dimitri H. Gondicas

    Melissa Haynes

    Alberto Rigolio, also Council of the Humanities

    Ava Shirazi, also Council of the Humanities

  • Associated Faculty

    Melissa S. Lane, Politics

Information and Departmental Plan of Study

Three programs of study are offered within the Department of Classics. The first, Classics, uses knowledge of Greek or Latin (or both languages) as a gateway to the study of the literature, history, and culture of ancient Greece and Rome. The second, Classical Studies, allows for the study of different aspects of a specific period or facet of classical civilization and its impact; it does not initially require knowledge of Greek or Latin. The third, Ancient History, focuses on the history of the ancient world, with special attention to historical method and comparative approaches; it does not initially require knowledge of Greek or Latin.

Program 1. Classics

Prerequisites

To enter this program, a student normally should have completed CLG 108 or LAT 108 or demonstrated intermediate proficiency in Greek or Latin through test scores (SAT, AP), a placement exam, or coursework. A strongly motivated student who has completed CLG 102 or LAT 102 (or CLG 103 or LAT 103) may concentrate, with permission of the departmental representative.

Program of Study

Eight departmental courses are required. Of these, five must be in the original languages at the 200 level or above, including at least one course at the 300 level. The combination of LAT 104-108, or CLG/LAT 105-108, may be counted as the equivalent of one 200-level course. One course in ancient history (CLA 214, 216, 217, 218, or 219, or HIS 343) must also be included among the departmentals. Students must also take the Junior Seminar in the fall of their junior year.

Students may count, among the eight departmentals, up to two courses not requiring the use of Greek or Latin (in addition to the course in ancient history). These courses may be offered by the department or, with the approval of the departmental representative, they may be courses in other departments that deal with aspects of Greek and Roman civilization (see examples below).

Students are expected to pass a sight translation examination from Greek or Latin. This examination may be taken, by arrangement, at the end of any term in the junior or senior year; it will be graded pass/fail.

Students who are considering further work in the field, either in graduate school or in independent study, should take both Latin and Greek to the 300 level, continuing with both languages in each term of the junior and senior years. Such students are also strongly advised to take at least one course in Greek history and one in Roman history in their underclass years.

Students concentrating in Classics have the opportunity to study in depth one or more of the areas listed below.

Greek or Latin Literature. Literary texts form the core of the study of the classical world, and the majority of concentrators are likely to plan their program of study around literature. In addition to the many courses offered in Greek and Latin, the department offers a number of courses on literature in translation, including CLA 212: Classical Mythology; CLA 323: Self and Society in Classical Greek Drama. COM 205: The Classical Roots of Western Literature also treats many Greco-Roman works.

Ancient History. In addition to survey courses in Greek and Roman history (CLA 216, 217, 218, 219), the department offers courses on the ancient historians in the original language and advanced seminars on selected historical topics (CLA 326, 327). Also available: CLA 214: The Other Side of Rome; CLA 324: Classical Historians and Their Philosophies of History; CLA 325: Roman Law; CLA 329: Sex and Gender in the Ancient World; NES 220: Jews, Muslims, and Christians in the Middle Ages; NES 331: The Ancient Near East.

Classical Philosophy. Courses are offered in both Greek and Latin and in translation, including CLA 205: Introduction to Ancient Philosophy; PHI 300: Plato and His Predecessors; and PHI 301: Aristotle and His Successors.

Classical Art and Archaeology. ART 202: Greek Art: Ideal Realism; ART 203: Roman Art; ART 300: Greek Archaeology of the Bronze Age; ART 301: The Art of the Iron Age: The Near East and Early Greece; ART 302: Myths in Greek Art; ART 306: Classical Athens: Art and Institutions; ART 308: Roman Cities and Countryside: Republic to Empire.

Medieval Studies. In addition to courses in Medieval Latin (LAT 232), the following are offered: HIS 343: The Civilization of the Early Middle Ages; HIS 344: The Civilization of the High Middle Ages; MED 227: The World of the Middle Ages; POL 301: Ancient and Medieval Political Theory; and ART 205: Medieval Art in Europe.

Studies in the Reception of Classical Antiquity. Courses are offered on the later reception of classical antiquity, including CLA 334: Modern Transformations of Classical Themes; CLA 335: Studies in the Classical Tradition.

Independent Work

Junior Seminar. During the fall of the junior year, all majors must take the Junior Seminar (CLA 340). The course introduces students to different fields of study within the department, including literature, ancient history, ancient culture, linguistics, and reception studies. Students will gain experience in the methods of their chosen area(s) of study while acquiring an understanding of the history of the discipline and its place in the 21st century. Students will also acquire the skills necessary to pursue junior and senior independent work. Students who are abroad during the fall of their junior year can complete the Junior Seminar during the fall semester of their senior year.

Junior Independent Work. In the fall term, each student researches and writes a paper of 15 to 20 pages on a topic of their choosing under the direction of a faculty adviser. The Junior Seminar will provide guidance in choosing a topic, structuring an outline, writing, and revising. In the spring term, students undertake a more ambitious research paper of 20 to 25 pages. Each student again works closely with a member of the faculty on the project, meeting regularly over the course of the spring term for discussion and analysis.

Senior Independent Work. At the end of the second term of the junior year, a departmental student is advised to select the subject of the senior thesis after consultation with the departmental representative. The thesis in its final form must be submitted to the department by April 15 of the senior year.

Senior Departmental Examination

Students are expected to pass the senior comprehensive examination on Greek and Roman literature, history, and culture. They will have the opportunity to write on either or both civilizations.

Study Abroad

Travel and study in the Mediterranean are important parts of a classical education. The department strongly encourages its students to participate in one of the many programs available. Many departmental students spend one term of junior year at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome. The center offers instruction in classical languages, presents lectures on ancient literature and history, and sponsors a series of trips to important museums and archaeological sites. Instruction is in English by American faculty members, and the curriculum is integrated with the Princeton undergraduate program. Equally valuable is the summer program at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens.

The department has some funds to help meet the expenses of such summer study, and additional assistance may be available through the Program in Hellenic Studies.

Summer Study. Students who would benefit from intensive work in the languages may apply for financial assistance to study at a Greek or Latin institute.

Certificate in Language and Culture

Students pursuing a concentration other than Classics, Classical Studies, or Ancient History may still demonstrate their command of one or both of the classical languages and cultures by working for certificates in Greek and/or Roman language and culture. The requirements are:

1. Three Greek and/or Latin courses, of which one may be at the 200 level and the others must be at the 300 level.

2. A piece of independent work. This can be satisfied in several ways: (a) by a substantial paper growing out of one of the courses taken to fulfill the certificate requirement (this will be in addition to the work required in the course); (b) by a substantial paper on a topic agreed upon with an instructor in the department and approved by the program; or (c) with the agreement of the home department and the program, by a piece of independent work that will satisfy the requirements of both home department and program. As a substitute for this requirement, students may take either an additional course in their language at the 200 or 300 level or a CLA course focusing on the culture of their certificate program.

To enter either certificate program, students must file a written application with the Department of Classics before October 1 of their senior year.

Preparation for Graduate Study

Students should be aware that most graduate programs in Classics will demand a more extensive training in the ancient languages than these minimum requirements. Those considering going on to graduate school should plan to do additional work in Greek and Latin either during their time at Princeton or through a post-baccalaureate program.

Certificate in Hellenic Studies. Students who wish to study the literature and civilization of ancient, Byzantine, and modern Greece may find of interest the certificate Program in Hellenic Studies. The program's plan C provides a diachronic study of the Hellenic tradition from antiquity to the present.

The department offers courses in the following areas:

Courses taught through English translations, designated classics (CLA)
Courses in Greek (CLG) and Latin (LAT)
Courses in modern Greek (MOG)

Program 2. Classical Studies

This program offers the opportunity for sustained and focused inquiry into the history, literature, and culture of the ancient Mediterranean, as well as the impact of classical antiquity on later periods by using a variety of interpretative methods. The particular program for each student is determined in collaboration with the departmental representative and/or a faculty adviser. The focus can be on a specific disciplinary subfield (e.g., ancient politics) or on a particular period to be explored from a number of perspectives (e.g., the history, literature, and art of Imperial Rome). Each program must have a methodological component designed to introduce the student to techniques of analysis appropriate to the student's particular interests. This component of the program is satisfied by two comparative or methodological courses, the subject matter of which is concerned primarily with the classical world. These courses are chosen by each student in consultation with a faculty adviser and/or the departmental representative and must be preapproved by the departmental representative.

Prerequisites

One course from the list below (which may be taken during the spring semester of the sophomore year) or a comparable one-time-only course. A second course in addition to the prerequisite is strongly recommended as well, but this course can count as one of the six departmentals focusing on classical civilization. A freshman seminar on a classical subject may count as a prerequisite, but may not be used as a departmental.

Applicants to this program of study must submit to the departmental representative by April 15 a statement defining a field of concentration (e.g., Latin Epic, Greek History, Late Antique Culture) and a list of prospective courses. Given the range of possible interests each applicant may bring to the study of the ancient world, there is no set list of fields of concentration, and faculty members can give additional guidance in preparing a program of study.

Program of Study

The specific courses to be taken by each student must form a coherent program of study. Whatever the individual concentration, each student's program must contain eight departmentals and the Junior Seminar.

Six of these courses must focus in whole or in part on classical civilization or its influence (see the list below). At least three of these courses must be taught in the Department of Classics (CLA, CLG, or LAT). Courses taken during the freshman and sophomore years beyond the prerequisite may count toward this requirement if they are appropriate to the student's overall program. Students must also take the Junior Seminar in the fall of their junior year.

Two courses must fulfill the comparative/methodological component of the program of study. The aim of this requirement is to introduce students to new perspectives and new tools of inquiry for exploring their chosen subject. There is no set list, since different courses will be appropriate to different interests. These courses must be preapproved by the departmental representative to count as part of the student's program.

Each student must successfully complete either Ancient Greek or Latin to the level of 108 or achieve an equivalent level of knowledge, as demonstrated through test scores (SAT, AP), a placement exam, or coursework (including through a summer language program). However, at least one language course must be taken at Princeton.

Students should be aware that most graduate programs in Classics will demand a more extensive training in the ancient languages than these minimum requirements. Those considering going on to graduate school should plan to do additional work in Greek and Latin either during their time at Princeton or through a post-baccalaureate program.

Independent Work

Junior Seminar. During the fall of the junior year, all majors must take the Junior Seminar (CLA 340). The course introduces students to different fields of study within the department, including literature, ancient history, ancient culture, linguistics, and reception studies. Students will gain experience in the methods of their chosen area(s) of study while acquiring an understanding of the history of the discipline and its place in the 21st century. Students will also acquire the skills necessary to pursue junior and senior independent work. Students who are abroad during the fall of their junior year can complete the Junior Seminar during the fall semester of their senior year.

Junior Independent Work. In the fall term, each student researches and writes a paper of 15 to 20 pages on a topic of their choosing under the direction of a faculty adviser. The Junior Seminar will provide guidance in choosing a topic, structuring an outline, writing, and revising. In the spring term, students undertake a more ambitious research paper of 20 to 25 pages. Each student again works closely with a member of the faculty on the project, meeting regularly over the course of the spring term for discussion and analysis.

Senior Independent Work. At the end of the second term of the junior year, a departmental student is advised to select the subject of the senior thesis after consultation with a departmental faculty committee. The thesis in its final form shall be submitted to the departmental representative by April 15 of the senior year.

Senior Departmental Examination

An examination designed by the thesis adviser, and intended to cover the entirety of the student's program of study, is taken at the end of the spring semester of the senior year.

Preparation for Graduate Study

Students should be aware that most graduate programs in Classics will demand a more extensive training in the ancient languages than these minimum requirements. Those considering going on to graduate school should plan to do additional work in Greek and Latin either during their time at Princeton or through a post-baccalaureate program.

Program 3. Ancient History

The program offers students a pathway to explore the history of ancient Greece and Rome and their relationships with the neighboring cultures of the Near East, Europe, and Africa. It is also ideal for students interested in acquiring training in the academic discipline of history while concentrating on the period spanning the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1700 B.C.E.) to the early medieval and Byzantine worlds (ca. 600 C.E.). Although students may specialize in a particular field of history (political, social, economic, cultural), geographic area, or historical period of antiquity, the aim of the program is to provide a well-rounded training in the field of history, with a focus on ancient history. Students must take courses on both Greece and Rome, one course on a nonclassical premodern civilization, and at least one course on material culture, and develop intermediate-level proficiency in classical Latin and/or Greek. An additional course that introduces students to the main methods, theories, and philosophies of history is also strongly encouraged.

Prerequisites

One course from the list below (courses that can serve as prerequisites or satisfy requirement).

Program of Study

Eight departmental courses are required. These must include one survey course on ancient Greek history (CLA 216, CLA 217) and one survey course on Roman history (CLA 218, CLA 219); two seminars at the 300 level focusing on ancient history (e.g., CLA 324: Classical Historians and Their Philosophies of History; CLA 325: Roman Law; CLA 326, CLA 327: Topics in Ancient History); one course on material culture (e.g., CLA 202: Greek Art; CLA 305: Greek and Roman Architecture); ; two courses focusing in whole or in part on classical civilization (see list below); and one history course on a nonclassical premodern civilization (e.g., EAS 335: Early Chinese History to 221; NES 220: Jews, Muslims, and Christians in the Middle Ages; HIS 345: Europe at the Dawn of Modernity). Students must also take the Junior Seminar in the fall of their junior year.

Each student must successfully complete Ancient Greek or Latin to the level of 108 or achieve an equivalent level of knowledge, as demonstrated through test scores (SAT, AP), a placement exam, or coursework (including through a summer language program). However, at least one language course must be taken at Princeton.

Courses that can serve as prerequisites or satisfy departmental requirements:

Art and Archaeology
200 The Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East and Egypt
202 Greek Art: Ideal Realism
203 Roman Art
204 Pagans and Christians: Urbanism, Architecture, and Art of Late Antiquity
300 Greek Archaeology of the Bronze Age
301 The Art of the Iron Age: The Near East and Early Greece
302 Myths in Greek Art
305 Greek and Roman Architecture
306 Classical Athens: Art and Institutions
308 Roman Cities and Countryside: Republic to Empire

Classics
Any CLA course
Greek: Any 200- or 300-level CLG course
Latin: Any 200- or 300-level LAT course

Hellenic Studies
346 Introduction to Byzantine Civilization

History
290 The Scientific Worldview of Antiquity and the Middle Ages
343 The Civilization of the Early Middle Ages

Humanistic Studies
205 The Classical Roots of Western Literature
216 From Antiquity to the Middle Ages: Literature and the Arts
217 From Antiquity to the Middle Ages: History, Philosophy, and Religion

Near Eastern Studies
331 The Ancient Near East
332 The Near East from Alexander to Muhammad

Philosophy
205 Introduction to Ancient Philosophy
300 Plato and His Predecessors
301 Aristotle and His Successors
335 Greek Ethical Theory

Politics
301 Ancient and Medieval Political Theory

Religion
231 Hebrew Bible and Earliest Judaism
251 The New Testament and Christian Origins
252 The Early Christian Movement
337 Religious Quests of the Greco-Roman World: The Magical Arts and Astrology
340 Ancient Judaism and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Independent Work

Junior Seminar. During the fall of the junior year, all majors must take the Junior Seminar (CLA 340). The course introduces students to different fields of study within the department, including literature, ancient history, ancient culture, linguistics, and reception studies. Students will gain experience in the methods of their chosen area(s) of study while acquiring an understanding of the history of the discipline and its place in the 21st century. Students will also acquire the skills necessary to pursue junior and senior independent work. Students who are abroad during the fall of their junior year can complete the Junior Seminar during the fall semester of their senior year.

Junior Independent Work. In the fall term, each student researches and writes a paper of 15 to 20 pages on a topic of their choosing under the direction of a faculty adviser. The Junior Seminar will provide guidance in choosing a topic, structuring an outline, writing, and revising. In the spring term, students undertake a more ambitious research paper of 20 to 25 pages. Each student again works closely with a member of the faculty on the project, meeting regularly over the course of the spring term for discussion and analysis.

Senior Independent Work. At the end of the second term of the junior year, students are advised to select the subject for a senior thesis after consultation with the departmental representative. The thesis in its final form must be submitted to the department by April 15 of the senior year.

Senior Departmental Examination

In the spring semester of the senior year, students take a comprehensive examination designed to test their knowledge of Greek and Roman history.

Preparation for Graduate Study

Students should be aware that most graduate programs in Classics will demand a more extensive training in the ancient languages than these minimum requirements. Those considering going on to graduate school should plan to do additional work in Greek and Latin either during their time at Princeton or through a post-baccalaureate program.

 

Courses