Welcome to the Department of Classics

Classics offers a program that includes both a major and a minor centered on the study of the Ancient Greek and Latin languages in order to gain access to the richness and variety of the classical civilizations of Greece and Rome. The program is conceived in broad intellectual, aesthetic, social, political, geographical, and historical terms, examining Greco-Roman civilization in itself and in relation to the many cultures that interacted with it in the Mediterranean and European world, from Iran, Egypt, Nubia, and the Etruscans, to Britain, the Franks, the Huns, the Lombards, and the Goths.

Core courses introduce students to the language, literature, and history of the ancient world. Cross-listed courses taught in other departments also provide a window into the society, politics, art, archaeology, and architecture of antiquity. Classics has been pioneering in such diverse fields as social theory, history of science, and ethics. Studying the literary and material records of the ancient world allows one to confront at their source many of the issues pertinent to modern Western culture and indeed the modern world. Greek and Latin authors such as Homer, Sappho, Sophocles, Pindar, Virgil, Cicero, Horace, and Tacitus remain unsurpassed for their intellectual and aesthetic grandeur and their moral profundity.

The Department of Classics is delighted to announce that Dr. Jennifer Ferriss-Hill, Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Miami, has been awarded a highly competitive Summer Stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities to continue work on her second book during the summer of 2018. Horace’s Art of Poetry and the Art of Living approaches Horace’s Ars Poetica (“Art of Poetry”) as a coherent and complete work of literature in its own right, and one that occupies a key place in the poet’s oeuvre. The poem, which served as the paradigmatic manual for writers, provided a blueprint for efforts at ‘updated’ rules of composition, and inspired numerous translators and imitators throughout the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period, even into the twenty-first century, has stood for two millennia alongside Aristotle’s Poetics as a canonical work of literary theory. Ferriss-Hill, however, argues rather that it should rather be read in the context of Horace’s other hexameter writings, and in particular as a companion and counterpart to his Satires. Just as throughout the Satires, his earliest poems, Horace encodes literary prescriptions into his advice on how to live well, so she contends that the Ars Poetica, thought to be his final work, may be read as a manual for how to live that masquerades as a treatise on poetics, the two collections thus forming complementary book-ends to the poet’s life and career. Only the second book in English devoted to a study of this important poem, Horace’s Art of Poetry and the Art of Living promises to be a significant contribution to the field of Classics and to be of great interest to the wider scholarly community in the Humanities as well.