Classics Major

Department of Classics, Philosophy, and Religion

Department Faculty

The Classics Program

Classics focuses on the study of the languages, literatures, and civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome. Since many of the ideas and principles which emerged in the classical world are basic to Western culture, courses in Classics apply to the study of almost all the liberal arts and sciences.

Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Classics may choose among three concentrations: Latin (see Latin); an interdisciplinary concentration in Classical Civilization; or an interdisciplinary concentration in Classical Archaeology. Students develop their major programs in consultation with a faculty advisor.

While some Classics majors who choose a concentration in Classical Civilization include teacher licensure in their schedule, others take a second major in a related field, such as history, philosophy, religion, English, business, or foreign languages. With such a background, graduates have a wide range of opportunities after college, including museum work, archaeology, graduate study, teaching, and translating.

The concentration in Classical Archaeology offers special preparation to those students who wish to pursue museum or field work in archaeology. A concentration in Classical Archaeology joined with a related major such as anthropology, art history, historic preservation, history, or religion will enable a student to add depth of knowledge about the ancient world to his or her study of those disciplines.

Opportunities for study and excavation abroad are readily available to the Classics major. Mary Washington is a member of the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome and the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. Students are welcome to consult with the Classics faculty about programs at these and other institutions. Qualified students are invited to join Eta Sigma Phi, the national honor society for Classics, and to try for departmental honors in their senior year.

Requirements for Major in Classics with concentration in Classical Civilization

Thirty-three (33) credits in CLAS 103-499 and approved courses relating to Classical Civilization, including CLAS 103 and 105, and LATN 202, GREK 202, or at least 3 credits in an upper level Latin or Greek course. At least 6 of the 33 credits (in Classics and approved courses) must be at the level of 299 or above.

Approved courses relating to Classical Civilization are any course in Greek or Latin; ARTH 114, 305, 310, 311; CPRD 299; CPRD 301, 302, 331 (all with permission); ENGL 319, 320; HIST 331, 332; ITAL 395, 396; PHIL 201, 310, 311; RELG 206, 211, 231 (with permission), 306, 331 (with permission), 341 (with permission). Latin 425 and Greek 425 do not count in the major.

Requirements for Major in Classics with concentration in Classical Archaeology

Thirty-three (33) credits, including CLAS 103 and 105; either LATN 202 and GREK 202 or 6 credits in upper-level Latin (or, in exceptional cases and with approval, upper-level Greek) courses; at least 6 credits in CLAS/ARTH 305, ARTH 310, 311; HIST 331, 332; at least 9 credits in approved archaeology courses, out of which at least 6 credits must be in Classics.

Approved archaeology courses: ARTH/CLAS 305 (if not already counted as fulfilling the requirement listed above);CLAS 351 (with permission), 352 (with permission), 380, 390, 485, 491 (with permission), 492 (with permission), 499 (with permission); ANTH 215; ARTH 315; HISP 207, 462, 463, 467. Latin 425 and Greek 425 do not count in the major.

Classics Course Offerings

Classics course offerings will be found under the 4 letter code of CLAS in the course listings.

103 – Ideas and Culture: Greek Civilization (3)

An introduction to ancient Greek literature, thought, art, drama, architecture, and culture from the Bronze Age to the Hellenistic Era, with particular focus placed upon fifth century Athens.

105 – Ideas and Culture: Roman Civilization (3)

An introduction to ancient Roman literature, thought, art, architecture, and culture from the Early Republic to the dissolution of the empire, with particular focus placed upon the Late Republic and Early Empire.

110 – Greek and Roman Mythology in Art and Literature (3)

The principal Greek and Roman myths, with emphasis on their appearance in literature and art.

202 – Ancient Tragedy (3)

The dramas of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides.

204 – Epic Traditions (3)

A comparative study of epic poetry from the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Greece, and Rome.

211 – Greek and Roman Religion (3)

The public, personal, and mystery religions of the Greeks and Romans, and the development of classical religious ideas. Cross-listed as RELG 211.

305 – Egyptian and Near Eastern Art and Archaeology (3)

Prerequisite: ARTH 114. Using the methodologies developed by archaeologists and art historians, this course will examine the artistic and architectural traditions of Egypt and the Near East from the prehistoric through the Greco-Roman periods. Cross-listed as ARTH 305.

310 – Women in Antiquity (3)

Prerequisite: sophomore standing or above, or permission of instructor. The nature, roles, and lives of women in ancient Greece and Rome.

351, 352 – Special Studies in Classical Civilization (3, 3)

Prerequisite will vary, depending on topic.  Reading and study in a specialized area of ancient culture.

380 – Archaeology of the Greek and Roman World (3)

Prerequisite: ARTH 114 or CLAS 103 or 105. Study of the archaeological excavation of the Greek and Roman world, with emphasis on the history, techniques, and ethics of classical archaeology.

390 – The Ancient City (3)

Prerequisite: ARTH 114 or CLAS 103 or 105. The growth and development of selected urban centers in the Greek and Roman world, with emphasis on the archaeological record.

485 – Guided Research in Classics (3)

Prerequisites: senior Classics major or junior Classics major with permission of instructor. Preparation of a senior thesis under the direction of the Classics faculty. Recommended for all Classics majors; required for graduation with Honors in Classics.

491, 492 – Individual Study in Classical Civilization (1–4)

Individual study under the direction of a member of the staff. By permission of the department.

499 – Internship (1-4)

Supervised off-campus learning experience, developed in consultation with the Classics faculty.

Classics-Philosophy-Religion Course Offerings

Classics-Philosophy-Religion course offerings will be found under the 4 letter code of CRPD in the course listings.

100 – Topics in Classics, Philosophy, and Religion (3)

Special interdisciplinary offerings in Classics, Philosophy, and Religion

104 – Meditation and Contemplative Practices (3)

This course offers a practical, experiential and theoretical introduction to mindfulness meditation and contemplation.  Students learn and practice meditation techniques daily while exploring the contemplative practices and theories of diverse cultural traditions from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, such as philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience.

299 – Mysterium Humanum Studies (3)

Different topics of fundamental human concern are treated at different times in this interdisciplinary course involving the entire faculty of the Department of Classics, Philosophy, and Religion. Topics covered in the past include “Wrestling with Death,” “The Tempest of Time,” “Sex and Society in the West,” and “Slavery.”

301, 302 – Studies in Ancient Languages (3, 3)

Introduction to the morphology and syntax of selected ancient languages relevant to the study of Classics, Philosophy, and Religion (such as Coptic, Quranic Arabic, and Sanskrit). By permission of instructor. These courses do not satisfy the College’s general education requirement for proficiency in a foreign language.

304 – Contemplative Practice II (3)

Prerequisite: CPRD 104.  Contemplative Practice II is a continuation of CPRD 104.  Students will further develop and refine their daily meditation practice by exploring additional techniques and advanced topics.  It also surveys current trends in psychological and neuroscientific research on meditation, and deeply engages related philosophical concepts and debates.

331 – Cross-disciplinary Topics in Classics, Philosophy, and Religion (3)

A consideration of a theme from the perspective of two or three of the disciplines taught in the Department of Classics, Philosophy, and Religion.