Hellenic Studies

Program Offerings

Offering type

The minor in Hellenic Studies (HLS) aims to provide students with a thorough introduction to the history, literature, and culture of the Greek-speaking Eastern Mediterranean over the past three thousand years. This minor will allow students to engage, from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, with all aspects of Hellenism, its global encounters, and cross-cultural dialogues. At the same time, students in the Hellenic studies minor will acquire a strong grounding in the long history of this important region of the world.

Goals for Student Learning

Hellenic studies is an interdisciplinary program that focuses on the language, literature, history, art and culture of the Greek world in the eastern Mediterranean (and beyond) over the past 3,000 years. The goal of the minor in Hellenic studies is to provide students exposure to and familiarity with the breadth and depth of the tradition of Hellenism and its global reception over this period of three millennia. 

Hellenic studies undergraduate learning goals include:

  • Study the full breadth and depth of the Hellenic tradition through the close examination of texts, material objects, visual culture and music.
  • Provide a focused and intensive approach to humanistic studies more generally, via this intensive engagement with the long tradition of Hellenism.
  • Acquire a global perspective on the reception of Hellenic texts, visual and material culture, and music.
  • Develop an ability to appreciate critically one’s own historical and cultural particularity through this deep historical and broad geographical study of Hellenic texts, ideas and objects.
  • Offer students first-hand exposure to objects of material and visual culture through Hellenic Collections in the Princeton Library and the Princeton Art Museum, as well as visits to museums in the United States and access to research collections and historical sites in Greece.
  • Make available opportunities for on-site summer study, archaeological excavations, internships and public service in Greece, at the Princeton Athens Center and selected sites around the country.
  • Offer an intensive “Princeton in Greece” semester-long full credit-bearing program for undergraduates in the humanities and the social sciences.
  • Enrich students’ undergraduate experience by encouraging them to take part in the diverse activities and programming of the Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies, including meeting graduate students, visiting fellows and postdoctoral researchers from around the world.


There are no prerequisites for the Hellenic studies minor. Students are encouraged to take HLS 222, Hellenism: The First 3000 Years, by the end of their sophomore year.

Admission to the Program

Students will normally declare a minor in Hellenic studies by the end of the spring of their junior year. In exceptional cases, with the permission of the director of the program in Hellenic studies and the student’s Residential College dean, a student may be admitted to the HLS Minor as late as the fall of their senior year, provided they have already taken Hellenic Studies courses that will count toward the minor.

To declare a minor, students should contact the director of the Program in Hellenic Studies to signal their intent.

Program of Study

  • Five HLS courses in total are required for the Hellenic studies minor.
  • All students in the minor are required to take the gateway seminar HLS 222.
  • Students will also be required to take one 400-level HLS seminar, approved by the director of the Program in Hellenic Studies.
  • All HLS cross-listed courses will be designated as “HSR” (History, Society, Religion), “LLP” (Language, Literature, Philosophy), or “VMM” (Visual and Material Culture, and Music). Some classes may have more than one designation. Students pursuing the minor will be required to take at least one course from each designation. At least one of the three required courses must have as its central chronological focus the post-Classical Greek world, i.e., one (or more) of the following periods of Hellenism: Late Antique, medieval/Byzantine, renaissance/early modern, modern, and contemporary.
  • All HLS classes taken to fulfill the Hellenic studies minor requirement, save the HLS gateway seminar, can also be counted towards fulfilling the student’s major requirement. Typically, no more than two courses will be allowed to double-count with a student’s major.

Independent Work

Independent work is not required for the Hellenic studies minor. 

Additional Information

Students who have successfully completed the five courses required for the Hellenic studies minor will have a solid introduction to the literature, history, and culture of the Hellenic Eastern Mediterranean, broadly conceived, for the past three thousand years. Their critical understanding of this multicultural area and subject matter and, more broadly, their sustained engagement with the humanities and the social sciences, will be further enriched by pursuing study and research on-site in Greece and the Hellenic Mediterranean.

Princeton’s Hellenic studies program has long been the leading program of its kind in North America and, arguably, the leading Hellenic studies program in the world outside of Greece. With our faculty and resources, we aim to offer Hellenic studies students a unique curriculum and a thorough, multifaceted exposure to some of the most compelling stories, people, and places in the human experience of the past three millennia.


  • Director

    • Jack B. Tannous
  • Executive Committee

    • Mark R. Beissinger, Politics
    • Joshua H. Billings, Classics
    • Emmanuel C. Bourbouhakis, Classics
    • Marina S. Brownlee, Spanish & Portuguese
    • Elizabeth A. Davis, Anthropology
    • Dimitri H. Gondicas, Council of the Humanities, ex officio
    • Molly Greene, History
    • Eric S. Gregory, Religion
    • Johannes Haubold, Classics
    • Melissa Lane, Politics
    • Hendrik Lorenz, Philosophy
    • Efthymia Rentzou, French & Italian
    • Michael A. Reynolds, Near Eastern Studies
    • Teresa Shawcross, History
  • Associated Faculty

    • M. Christine Boyer, Architecture
    • Eduardo L. Cadava, English
    • Marc Domingo Gygax, Classics
    • Karen R. Emmerich, Comparative Literature
    • Barbara Graziosi, Classics
    • Brooke A. Holmes, Classics
    • Samuel Holzman, Art and Archaeology
    • Michael Koortbojian, Art and Archaeology
    • Spyros Papapetros, Architecture
    • Helmut Reimitz, History
    • Jamie L. Reuland, Music
    • Katerina Stergiopoulou, Classics
    • Carolyn Yerkes, Art and Archaeology
  • Sits with Committee

    • David T. Jenkins
    • Carolyn Laferriere
    • Nikolaos Panou
    • Alan M. Stahl

For a full list of faculty members and fellows please visit the department or program website.


HLS 101 - Elementary Modern Greek I (also MOG 101) Fall

Designed to serve as an introduction to the language of modern Greece. Practice in speaking, grammatical analysis, composition, and graded reading. Four classes. No credit is given for HLS 101 unless followed by HLS 102. Staff

HLS 102 - Elementary Modern Greek II (also MOG 102) Spring

A continuation of 101, aiming to develop the skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing modern Greek in a cultural context. Classroom activities include videos, comprehension and grammar exercises, and discussions. Four classes. Staff

HLS 105 - Intermediate Modern Greek (also MOG 105) Fall

Advanced grammatical analysis, composition, and graded reading, with further practice in speaking. An introduction to themes in the Hellenic tradition through readings in modern Greek literature. Four classes. Prerequisite: 102 or instructor's permission. Staff

HLS 107 - Advanced Modern Greek (also MOG 107) Spring

Advanced composition and oral practice aimed at developing idiomatic written and spoken style. Discussions entirely in Greek. Introduces students to contemporary Greek culture and literature through the study of works by Cavafy, Sikelianos, Seferis, Elytis, Ritsos, and Anagnostakis, among others. Readings from articles on current Greek topics. Four classes. Prerequisite: 105 or instructor's permission. Staff

HLS 203 - The Classical Roots of Western Literature (also COM 205/HUM 205) Fall CDEM

HLS 205 - Medieval Art in Europe (also ART 205) Not offered this year LA

HLS 206 - Byzantine Art and Architecture (also ART 206) Not offered this year LA

HLS 208 - Introduction to Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy (also CLA 205/PHI 205) Fall EC

HLS 210 - The World of Late Antiquity (also CLA 202/HIS 210/MED 210) Spring HA

HLS 211 - Rhetoric: Classical Theory, Modern Practice (also CLA 211) Not offered this year EC

HLS 212 - Classical Mythology (also CLA 212/GSS 212/HUM 212) Fall LA

HLS 217 - The Greek World in the Hellenistic Age (also CLA 217/HIS 217) Not offered this year HA

HLS 222 - Hellenism: The First 3000 Years (also CLA 223/HIS 222) Fall CDLA

Over the past 3,000 years, texts written in Greek played a central role for how people in Western Eurasia understood themselves, their society, their values, and the nature of the universe. Over the same three millennia, the Greek language played a central role in a variety of political communities, including ancient Athens, the empire of Alexander, the Roman empire, Byzantium, and the modern nation state of Greece. In this course, we will trace the history of these two phenomena: the political life and fortunes of Greek speakers and the cultural life of texts written in Greek, seeking to understand the relationship between the two. J. Tannous, K. Stergiopoulou

HLS 227 - The Worlds of the Middle Ages (also HIS 227/HUM 227/MED 227) Not offered this year LA

HLS 228 - Art and Power in the Middle Ages (also ART 228/HUM 228/MED 228) HALA

HLS 231 - Ancient Greek and Roman Medicine: Bodies, Physicians, and Patients (also CLA 231/GHP 331/HIS 231) Not offered this year EMHA

HLS 240 - Introduction to Post-Classical Greek from the Late Antique to the Byzantine Era (also CLG 240/MED 240) Not offered this year LA

HLS 251 - The New Testament and Christian Origins (also MED 251/REL 251) HA

HLS 252 - Jesus: How Christianity Began (also CLA 252/REL 252) Not offered this year EC

HLS 300 - Plato and His Predecessors (also PHI 300) Not offered this year EC

HLS 301 - The Art of the Iron Age: The Near East and Early Greece (also ART 301/CLA 302) Not offered this year LA

HLS 302 - Aristotle and His Successors (also CLA 303/PHI 301) Spring EC

HLS 303 - Political Theory, Athens to Augustine (also CLA 301/PHI 353/POL 301) Fall EM

HLS 305 - Psychological Anthropology (also ANT 305) EC

HLS 316 - The Formation of Christian Art (also ART 316/CLA 213) HALA

HLS 320 - Topics in Medieval Greek Literature (also CLA 320/GSS 320/MED 320) Not offered this year LA

HLS 322 - Classical Historians and Their Philosophies of History (also CLA 324/HIS 328) Spring HA

HLS 324 - The Classical Tradition (also COM 324) Spring LA

HLS 326 - Tragedy (also COM 326) Not offered this year LA

HLS 335 - Studies in the Classical Tradition (also CLA 335/COM 390/ENG 235) Spring LA

HLS 337 - The Ottoman Empire, 1300-1800 (also HIS 337/NES 437) Fall HA

HLS 338 - Greek Ethical Theory (also CHV 335/PHI 335) Not offered this year EM

HLS 340 - Greek Law and Legal Practice (also CHV 330/CLA 330) Fall EM

HLS 343 - The Formation of the Christian West (also CLA 343/HIS 343/MED 343) Fall HA

HLS 345 - The Crusades (also HIS 345/MED 345) Fall HA

HLS 354 - The Icon (also ART 310/MED 307) Spring LA

HLS 358 - History of the Balkans (also HIS 358) Not offered this year HA

HLS 361 - Special Topics in Modern Greek Civilization Not offered this year LA

An aspect or period of modern Greek civilization since the War of Independence (1821) as it is illuminated by literary, historical, and other relevant sources. Emphasis will be given to the cross-cultural context of the topic, including the relation of modern Greece to Western, Eastern, or Balkan cultures, or the Hellenic diaspora in America and elsewhere. Staff

HLS 362 - Special Topics in Byzantine Civilization Not offered this year

An aspect of the civilization of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, from 312 to 1453, as illuminated by literary, historical, and other relevant sources. Emphasis will be given to the cross-cultural context of the topic, including relations of the Byzantine Empire with Sassanid Persia, the Arabs, the Slavs, and Western Europe. Two lectures, one preceptorial. Staff

HLS 363 - Special Topics in Hellenic Studies Not offered this year

The diachronic development of a theme, genre, or institution, with emphasis on the continuities and discontinuities between successive periods of Hellenic culture--ancient, Byzantine, and modern. The approach will be interdisciplinary and cross-cultural. Staff

HLS 367 - Modern Transformations of Classical Themes (also CLA 334/COM 334) Not offered this year LA

HLS 368 - Topics in Classical Thought (also CLA 338/PHI 389) Fall EC

HLS 369 - Beyond Crisis Contemporary Greece in Context (also COM 369/ECS 369/HUM 369) Fall SA

HLS 373 - Topics in Ancient History (also CLA 326/HIS 326/HUM 324) Spring HA

HLS 410 - Seminar. Greek Art (also ART 410) Not offered this year LA

HLS 428 - Empire and Catastrophe (also HIS 428/MED 428) Not offered this year HA

HLS 430 - Seminar. Medieval Art (also ART 430/MED 430) Not offered this year EMLA

HLS 434 - Imperialism and Reform in the Middle East and the Balkans (also HIS 433/NES 433) Fall HA

HLS 461 - Great Cities of the Greek World (also ART 461) Not offered this year LA

An intensive interdisciplinary study of the evolution of a city, such as Athens, Constantinople, Thessaloniki, Alexandria, or Antioch, where Greek civilization flourished through successive periods, from antiquity to the present. A study of the form and the image of the city as seen in its monuments and urban fabric, as well as in the works of artists, writers, and travelers. Prerequisite: instructor's permission. Two 90-minute classes. Staff