Classical Studies

At Hanover, you will find many paths into the worlds of the Greeks and Romans. You can study Latin and Greek texts, as well as archaeology and the history of the ancient Mediterranean. And you can take further courses in mythology, classical art, early Christianity, anthropology, or gender studies. In other words, Classical Studies is “interdisciplinary” – it covers many ways of thinking about and approaching Greek and Roman culture. So we offer two different majors, designed for a variety of student interests. And within each major there is freedom to choose from among a variety of courses:

Language and Literature

A foundation for studying Classics is learning to read and analyze ancient texts in the original languages. Studying Greek and Latin has traditionally been a way to study the cultures and cultural values of ancient Greece and Rome. So, basic competence of at least one language is required of all students. But some, interested in ancient literature, philosophy, or early Christianity, will spend most of their time studying ancient texts in the original languages. The aim is to help students find their way into the worlds of the Greeks and Romans, which means, on the one hand, studying texts that have been continuously important to us. On the other hand, this means making an effort to understand ways of thinking and feeling that may seem alien but that help us gain perspective on our own culture’s values and aspirations.

Archaeology and History

The major in archaeology and history is meant for students drawn to archaeology, classical art, and ancient history. In courses on archaeology and art, students will have more time to become familiar with the archaeological evidence, the objects from the ancient world that have been accumulating and are still coming to light. They will also study the architecture and art of Greece and Rome, fragments from a rich visual culture that have fascinated us since the Renaissance.  Courses in archaeology and art will help you to understand how both the archaeological evidence and pieces of ancient art have been found, preserved, and used to understand ancient culture. In courses in ancient history, students will get a chance to study both modern thinking about ancient history and culture and the ancient historical texts that are the foundation for that thinking. These texts have been the basis for reconstructing narratives of ancient history, for reconnecting with ancient culture, and for gaining perspective on our own history. Further, they have helped shape our culture’s thinking about why history is worth studying to begin with. So students will find their way not just into modern scholarly discussions of ancient history; they will study the methods and aims of both modern and ancient historians.

Travel Courses and Study Abroad

An integral aspect of studying the field of Classics is becoming familiar with the topographic setting in which the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world existed. While some of this familiarity might be gained through coursework, the department encourages and works to enable its students to travel as much as possible in order to observe this topography and surviving Classical material in person. And so, we offer a wide, rotating range of travel-courses to countries scattered across the Mediterranean basin. Professor Miriam Pittenger, for example, has taken students to Italy to learn about Etruscan and Roman material. Professor Nick Baechle has led a travel-course to Greece. Professor Sean O’Neill has designed travel-courses to both Turkey and Egypt. This broad variety and the frequent offering of such courses ensure that four-year students at Hanover will have the opportunity to experience the modern-era culture and remnants of the ancient past in several countries.

Another way in which students might immerse themselves in the culture and topography of the regions that once comprised the Classical World is to participate in a semester- or year-long Study Abroad program. Opportunities for these sorts of long-term academic experiences can be arranged in coordination with the college’s Office for Off-Campus Study.  Possibilities include the earning of collegiate credit at partner institutions based in Turkey, Germany, Spain, France, or Belgium. Additional opportunities for Classics-based study (and transferable credit) are provided by programs in Rome, Athens, or Cairo, among others.

Archaeological Fieldwork

All students interested in the archaeological and historical sides of our discipline are encouraged to gain firsthand experience by doing fieldwork at an archaeological site (usually for four to six weeks during the summer). Although regional and U.S.-based opportunities are available, our departmental focus on the Greek and Roman worlds naturally creates a strong emphasis on field-projects based in Europe, North Africa, and the Near East. Majors, minors, and all other interested students are encouraged to work with Professor Sean O’Neill to determine which type of fieldwork opportunity is most appropriate for them. The selection of possible in-the-field experiences is rather vast and spans the full range of options from serving as an “undergraduate volunteer” on a project to being enrolled for transferable credit in an archaeological field-school.

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