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Department of Classical Studies

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Berstein contestants

On March 24, 2015, our Department  held its Annual Latin  Declamation Competition.

       For more, click here!


CLASSICAL STUDIES have always been at the heart of a liberal education, because they afford unmatched perspectives from which to understand our own time. We offer courses in the history, religion, art, philosophy, legal systems, literature, mythology, social and cultural developments of antiquity. The curriculum covers 3,500 years of human experience in the Greco-Roman world, from the beginnings of Western civilization through the Christianization of Europe.

Three major programs are available. Students majoring in classical languages approach the ancient world primarily through its literature, read in the original language. Students majoring in classics integrate the ancient texts with other kinds of evidence. Students majoring in classical civilization receive the broadest introduction to the ancient world, and they read the primary sources in translation. Majors are encouraged to spend a semester at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome or a Maymester session in Greece or Rome led by one of our own professors.

Our Department is committed to the interdisciplinary study of Mediterranean antiquity, integrating the ancient texts with material and visual culture, both in our teaching and in our research.  Faculty members have recently published books on race and ethnicity in the classical world, the Roman law of obligations, and on Roman and Byzantine graves; they lead summer programs for students overseas; and one colleague directs the Kenchreai Excavations, a long-term archaeological project in southern Greece.


Maymester Courses in Greece
and Rome

Uncovering Greek Religion: Cults, Festivals, and Sanctuaries in the Ancient World.

Travel to Greece to survey Greek religion: its deities, sanctuaries, and festivals. Examine the wide variety of pagan cults from prehistory to late Antiquity; the roots of early Christianity; and the influence of ancient pagan cults on modern Greece. Related topics include Athenian democracy; the impact of cults and festivals on warfare, the economy, athletics, and literature; and the role of women and other marginalized groups.

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Archaeology, History, and Culture in Greece: Kenchreai Field School.

Archaeological field school at the site of Kenchreai with seminars and excursions in southern Greece. Basic techniques in excavation, survey, and the analysis of architecture, artifacts, and bones. Explorations of churches, temples, houses, and tombs. Focus on Greece during the Roman Empire and late antiquity. Landscape settlement, cult practice, cultural and social diversity, and funerary ritual.

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History and Art of Ancient Rome: Maymester in Rome and Campania.

Visits to significant archeological sites, monuments and museum collections in Rome and locations throughout southern Italy.

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Recent News

  • April 8, 2016
    Barbara Tsakirgis delivered the 8th annual Stuart Wheeler Gallery lecture at the University of Richmond. The talk was entitled "The Lives of Infants and Children in the Ancient Greek House and Household."
  • March 29, 2016
    Barbara Tsakirgis gave a paper on "Painting in Stone: Mosaics in the Greek World," as the inaugural lecturer in the new theater-auditorium at Nashville State Community College.
  • February 4, 2016
    Barbara Tsakirgis gave a paper at the College Art Association annual meeting in Washington DC, entitled "Hermes, Hekate, and Herakles. Defining and Defending the Oikos in the Greek World."
  • January 7, 2016
    Barbara Tsakirgis organized and gave a paper at the Gold Medal session at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in San Francisco.
  • November 5, 2015
    Max Goldman gave a paper titled "Orestes and The Forgotten Pistolero (1969): Baldi’s Tragic Western” at the 2015 Film & History Conference in Madison, Wisconsin
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Lectures and Events

  • There are no upcoming events on the calendar.
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New Publications
by Our Faculty

Barbara Tsakirgis,  Houses of Ill Repute: The Archaeology of Brothels, Houses, and Taverns in the Greek World

Tsakirgis  This volume examines buildings that housed activities neither public nor private—brothels, taverns, and other homes of illicit activity. While others have studied houses or brothels, this volume is the first to look at both together.

Thomas McGinn,  Obligations in Roman Law: Past, Present, and Future

McGinn_Obligations This volume investigates in detail the Roman law of obligations—a subset of private law—together with its subordinate fields, contracts and delicts (torts). 


Joseph Rife,  Isthmia IX: The Roman and Byzantine Graves and Human Remains.

Rife_Isthmia This study describes and interprets graves and human remains around the Isthmian Sanctuary, providing important evidence for both death and life in the Greek countryside during the twilight of antiquity.