ChairR. Ammerman
DEPARTMENT SITE 

The Department of the Classics strives for a broad and deep understanding of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds, studying not only language and literature but also history, art, archaeology, religion, and society. Students concentrating in the department may choose one of four different tracks. Those who major in Latin, Greek, or Classics make language and literature their main focus; majors in Classical Studies give less emphasis to the languages but acquire a wide knowledge of Greco-Roman history and culture. In addition, we offer a minor in Classics that requires a total of six courses. Most of our courses are also relevant to students concentrating in a range of other subjects (e.g., history, English, political science, philosophy). The skills acquired in our classes — critical thinking, clear writing, and attention to detail — are of permanent value, and many of our graduates are pursuing careers in law, medicine, investment banking, computer science, and education. Others have gone on to graduate work in classics, ancient history, or archaeology.

With the exception of 300- and 400-level Latin and Greek, all courses offered by the department are open to first-year students. Courses listed as CLAS have no prerequisites and require no knowledge of Greek or Latin; they provide penetrating surveys of literature, history, mythology, religion, art, and archaeology. GREK and LATN courses are all based on study of the ancient languages, and interested students are urged to begin taking them sooner rather than later. First-year students with high-school background in either Latin or Greek should discuss course placement with a faculty member in the department.

The department supplements its courses with extracurricular activities that include lectures by well-known scholars, opportunities to assist professors in research (on campus and abroad), extended study courses to Rome and Athens, and participation in the Venice Study Group.

The classics faculty are always glad to discuss the program with anyone interested.

Advanced Placement

Students who submit a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Latin exam are eligible to receive course credit forLATN 122 provided that they complete a higher level Latin course at Colgate (i.e., LATN 201 or above). Students must contact the registrar's office once the higher level is completed to have the credit officially recorded.

Courses

 

Explores the dramatic challenge of producing a Greek tragedy. Students focus on a Greek play of global impact, one that is performed all over the world today in a variety of different cultural and social contexts. Students begin with an introductory segment that explores what is distinctive about Greek tragedy and has made it a central part of an increasingly complex theatrical canon. The course concludes with students working in groups to experiment with and stage their own interpretations of scenes from the play.

Required lab; see CLAS 220 for more information.

An introduction to Minoan, Mycenaean, and Greek civilizations, including a survey of major sites and monuments. Attention is given to ways in which arguments are developed from the archaeological record.

Professor Tober 

Alexander the Great: Fact & Fiction 

By the time of his death in 323 BCE, Alexander III, the young king of Macedon, had expanded his realm from northern Greece to the borders of India, in the process transforming the Mediterranean world and much of the Middle East and earning himself unparalleled fame. Indeed, Alexander the Great, as he came to be known, has remained one of the most iconic and recognizable names of antiquity: he crops up not only in Greek and Roman texts but also in Egyptian, Persian, and Indian tradition and in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scripture; the so-called Alexander Romance, an early novelization of his exploits, was one of Medieval Europe’s best-selling books; and he was recently named by Time Magazine as one of the top ten “most significant figures in history”, outstripping Thomas Jefferson, Julius Caesar, and the Buddha. Students examine the life and afterlife of Alexander, not only what Alexander did, why he did it, and how, but also the ways in which his life and achievements have been interpreted, emulated, used, and abused over the past 2300 years. While the brunt of our attention will be on Greek and Latin histories, students also work with other contemporary material, literary, archaeological, epigraphical, and numismatic (we shall even have the opportunity to familiarize ourselves firsthand with the extraordinary gold and bronze coinage produced by Alexander and his successors). The course will conclude with a unit on Alexander’s reception in twentieth-century literature and film (from Hollywood to Bollywood and beyond). Students who successfully complete this seminar will receive credit for a 200-level CLAS course and satisfy one half of the human thought and expression area of inquiry requirement. 

Daniel Tober is an Assistant Professor of the Classics, focusing on Greek and Roman history. His current interests include community and memory in Greece and Rome, Hellenistic Athens, and Greek local historiography.

The second semester of an introductory study of the elements of the Greek language. A thorough and methodical approach to the basics is supplemented, as students progress, by selected readings of works by ancient authors.

The first semester of an introductory study of the elements of the Latin language. A thorough and methodical approach to the basics is supplemented, as students progress, by selected readings of works by ancient authors.

Examines the prose styles of Cicero and Sallust through readings of selections from both Cicero's Orations and Sallust's Bellum Catilinae. Close reading allows students to expand and develop their knowledge of Latin grammar and syntax as well as to learn the fundamentals of Latin prose style.

Explores the dramatic challenge of producing a Greek tragedy. Students focus on a Greek play of global impact, one that is performed all over the world today in a variety of different cultural and social contexts. Students begin with an introductory segment that explores what is distinctive about Greek tragedy and has made it a central part of an increasingly complex theatrical canon. The course concludes with students working in groups to experiment with and stage their own interpretations of scenes from the play.