Classical Studies

At Hanover, you'll 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 if you're interested in ancient literature, philosophy or early Christianity, you'll spend most of your time studying ancient texts in the original languages.

The aim is to help you find your way into the worlds of the Greeks and Romans, which means, on the one hand, studying texts that have been continuously important. On the other hand, this means making an effort to understand ways of thinking and feeling that may seem alien, but that will help you gain perspective on your own culture’s values and aspirations.

Archaeology and History

If you're drawn to archaeology, classical art and ancient history, the major in archaeology and history is meant for you. In courses on archaeology and art, you'll have more time to become familiar with archaeological evidence and objects from the ancient world that have been accumulating and are still coming to light.

You'll 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, you'll 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.

All this means you'll find your way not just into modern scholarly discussions of ancient history, you'll study the methods and aims of both modern and ancient historians.

Travel Courses and Study Abroad

An integral aspect of studying 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.

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 during your four years at Hanover you'll have the opportunity to experience the modern-era culture and remnants of the ancient past in several countries.

One way you might immerse yourself 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 earning 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

If you're interested in the archaeological and historical sides of our discipline, we encourage you 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.


"Thanks to the excellent education I received from the Hanover Classics Department I was able to begin teaching Latin the fall after I graduated … and I am still doing it six years later!"
Emily Rogers, Classical Studies Major, class of 2008

"The Hanover Classics Department taught me about the ancient past, asked me about my present experiences at Hanover, and they were always concerned about preparing me for a bright future."
Alexandria Boss, Latin Minor, class of 2011

"The Classics department, honestly, could not have been more helpful while I tried to decide exactly what I wanted to do with my life. Throughout the entire process of trying to decide if I wanted to be a major or a minor they were always there to offer advice and guidance. Even when I ran into issues with declaring the minor, the faculty were right there with every book and rule; they knew how to find a way to make it work. They were the type of professors I came to Hanover looking for: friendly, helpful and invested in their students from day one."
Tylor Cuningham, Latin and Classical Studies Minor, class of 2014

"The Classics Department at Hanover is always willing to address my individual interests when it comes to the ancient world, whether it involves the social position of women in Rome's religious structure or how ancient cities were organized. They also bring to light different facets of the ancient world to which I had not previously given much thought."
Ivana Eiler, Classical Studies Major, class of 2015

"The professors of the Classics Department have always been helpful and available whenever I have questions concerning either a class or my future … not to mention the fact that they're easy to talk to."
Annabelle Goshorn-Moroney, Classical Studies Major, class of 2015

Helpful Links

Society for Classical Studies
(the national organization for the field of Classical Studies)

Archaeological Institute of America
(the national organization for archaeologists)

Classical Association of the Midwest & South
(our regional conference for the field of Classical Studies)

American Classical League
(dedicated to the teaching and learning of Classics)

American Numismatic Society
(dedicated to the study of coins [including many ancient ones])

The Latin Library
(texts of Latin authors)

Internet Ancient History Sourcebook
(sources in translation)

Maecenas Project
(images of ancient Greece and Rome)

Perseus Project
(Greek and Latin texts in original form and in translation)

de Imperatoribus Romanis
(on-line encyclopedia of the Roman Emperors)

(women & gender in the Ancient World)

(the Athenian Democracy)

(Gazeteer of Ancient Places)

Voice of the Shuttle
(links to hundreds of internet resources for Classicists, all over the web)


CLA 100
Depending on the instructor, the course will be an introduction to Greek myth or to Roman myth and Roman uses of Greek myth. Topics may include: myth in its historical and social context, myth as a conceptual language for expressing a culture's world-wide view, modern theoretical understandings of the functions of myth, myth as part of a literary and artistic tradition. Offered alternate years.
CLA 161
Ancient Oratory
The art of oratory (i.e., public speaking) was developed and elaborated by both the ancient Greeks and the Romans. Persuasion and oral arguments were crucial for the conduct of politics and the law-courts. Not only were famous political and court speeches painstakingly preserved and avidly read, but ancient historical narratives, philosophical works, and even stage dramas also contain extended speeches exhibiting many of the same rhetorical features as their "real-world" cousins. Students in this course will read and analyze a variety of ancient Greek and/or Roman speeches as well as theoretical works about speech-making, all in English translation. They will also give several speeches of their own in which they will construct arguments and practice persuasive techniques. Satisfies S ACE and partially satisfies the HC CCR.
CLA 162
Ancient Eurasia
An examination of great works of literature and art of Greece, Rome, India, and China from about 2500 BCE to 0 CE. This period saw the founding and development of both western culture, in the Greco-Roman period, and the non-western cultures of India and China. The course will trace such themes as Ultimate Reality and the human relationship to it, mortality, the good life, love, heroism, and leadership through the literature and art of these ancient cultures. Partially satisfies LA CCR and satisfies S and CP ACE.
CLA 171
Ancient Comedy and Tragedy
This course studies both samples of Greek and Roman comedy and tragedy and examples of later Western drama that respond to and reinterpret ancient ideas of drama. In doing so, it examines the conventions of each genre and various ways in which drama can be approached and interpreted. Satisfies W1 ACE and partially satisfies LA CCR.
CLA 172
Ancient Epic
Starting from study of one or more ancient epics, the Iliad, Odyssey, Aeneid etc., the course moves on to further examples of Greek or Roman epics, or non-western epics (like Gilgamesh and The Bagavad Gita), or later literary and artistic works in the western tradition. Possible topics: the epic hero, adventures and journeys, ancient religion(s), and the nature of literary and artistic traditions. Satisfies LA CCR and W1 ACE.
CLA 173
The Writing of History
Narrative history was an important form of writing in the ancient world. Famous authors such as Herodotus, Thucydides, Livy, Tacitus, and others produced extended literary works in which historical events were recounted in an effort to commemorate, reflect on, and learn from the past. Students in this course will read extensively in English translation from ancient writers of history and will write a series of analytical essays on their methods and aims. Partially satisfies the HS CCR and satisfies W1 ACE.
CLA 224
Topics in Classical Mythology
Students will explore one or more aspects of ancient Greek and Roman myth through focused and detailed analysis. While the mythological "theme" may vary from offering to offering, one of the primary goals of the course will be to investigate how and why certain myths or types of myth can resonate so powerfully in Classical culture or in the European tradition (or in both). Possible contexts for analysis include: the original ancient cultural settings, contemporary and later artistic and literary traditions, the broader sphere of comparative mythology, and modern myth-theory. May be repeated for credit with the permission of the instructor. Prerequisite: CLA 100 or permission of the instructor. Partially satisfies LA CCR and satisfies W2 ACE.
CLA 225
Intro Classical Art & Archaeology
This course examines the degree to which the art and artifacts of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds can help to inform us about the cultural settings in which they were created. Throughout the semester, students will chart the evolution of Classical art and architecture and discover how an archaeologist might use the remains of the ancient past to reconstruct daily life and broader cultural phenomena. This overview is intended to introduce the student to the most widely referenced material works of the Greek and Roman past and the factors which influenced their style and substance. Identical to ARTH225. Partially satisfies the LA and HS CCRs.
CLA 226
Medieval Philosophy
A survey of Western philosophy from St. Augustine to Nicholas of Cusa. Focus on the development of Christian philosophy. Identical to Phi 226.
CLA 228
Archaeological Methods and Theory
This course introduces the discipline of archaeology and the methods used by archaeologists to study the human past through material remains. Both within and outside of the classroom, a wide range of techniques will be explained and evaluated, including: preliminary research design, excavation, data collection and analysis, dating methods, sampling, geophysical exploration, surface survey, site preservation, and artifact conservation. Much of the requisite work will take place outside of the classroom, and every student will be required to participate in active fieldwork throughout the semester. Identical to Anth 228.
CLA 234
Classical Literature in Translation
This course offers students the opportunity to get an overview of a particular genre of Classical literature, history, or rhetoric: ancient epic, ancient drama, personal lyric, historical biography, ancient letters, political rhetoric, etc. -any genre can be studied in survey form and in translation. The course will be particularly valuable for students interested in the connections between Greek and Roman texts or in the later history of the genre in the European tradition. Course can be repeated for credit with the permission of the instructor. Partially satisfies the LA CCR and satisfies W2 ACE.
CLA 251
Greek History
A survey of Greek history from the Aegean Bronze Age to the age of Alexander. Identical to His 251. Offered every third year. Partially satisfies the HS CCR.
CLA 252
Roman History
A survey of Roman history from the founding of the city to the fall of the Roman Empire. Identical to His 252. Offered alternate years. Partially satisfies the HS CCR.
CLA 253
Roman Games
Mass-entertainment by means of blood-sports, in the arena and the circus, was a prominent feature of Roman culture. This course will examine the social, religious, economic and political significance of the Roman games from a historical standpoint, including archaeological remains, artistic renderings and literary sources both pagan and Christian. Discussion will also touch on modern parallels and big-budget Hollywood films. All sources in English translation. Identical to His 253. Offered alternate years during Spring Term. Partially satisfies the HS CCR.
CLA 345
Topics in Mediterranean Archaeology
This course offers a thorough examination of a topic related to the material culture of the ancient Mediterranean world. While the geographic and chronological focus may change from offering to offering, this course will invariably provide the setting for the concentrated analysis of a particular range of archaeological materials and approaches, with a strong emphasis placed on current field methods, theoretical discussions, and research practices. This course may be repeated for credit with the permission of the instructor. Prerequisite: Cla 101 or Cla 228. Partially satisfies the HS CCR.
CLA 346
Society and Politics in Athens
How did people in ancient Athens think about differences among various kinds of people: rich and poor, free and slave, male and female, Athenian and non-Athenian? This course examines the social and political world shaped by Athenian thinking about those differences. Partially satisfies HS CCR.
CLA 351
Alexander & the Hellenistic World
Alexander the Great remains one of the most compelling figures in all of history, and after his death the Mediterranean world was never the same again. His successors carved up his vast empire between them, and the new hybrid civilization they created (known as Hellenistic or "Greek-ish") was still in place more than a century later when the Romans came along. This course is taught as a seminar and will cover a wide range of topics, including warfare, politics, society, culture and always the problem of evidence. No prerequisite, but students are encouraged to contact the instructor in advance. Offered every three years. Identical to His 351. Partially satisfies the HS CCR.
CLA 353
Advanced Topics in Ancient History
This course offers a thorough and detailed examination of an important topic or problem from Greco-Roman history. The specific focus of the course may vary, but the goal in each case will be to sift through the ancient evidence for the problem at hand, knowing that this is often highly fragmentary and/or biased in some way, and also to analyze and assess a range of divergent scholarly arguments based on that evidence, so as to arrive at a deeper understanding of the ancient historian's craft, as well as an understanding of its inherent limitations. This course may be repeated for credit with the permission of the instructor.
CLA 366
Studies in Historiography
. An examination of selected topics in the ancient world, emphasizing the history, philosophy and methods of historical investigation. Content may vary. May be repeated for credit with permission of instructor. Offered alternate years. Identical to His 366.
CLA 401
Seminar for Majors
Preliminary work for the Senior Thesis combined with background for the reading lists for the comprehensive exam and study of the history and methodologies of Classics as a discipline. .50 unit


LAT 115
Introduction to Classical Latin I
An introduction to Classical Latin and to the culture of the Romans during the Republic and under the rule of the emperors. Students will develop skills related to the study of inflected languages while working to master aspects of language-learning that are necessary for a productive treatment of Latin texts. They will also be introduced to the cultural context of Roman literature, history, and philosophy and develop a familiarity with a selection of well-known authors and some of the most admired texts in the Latin corpus. Partially satisfies WL CCR.
LAT 116
Introduction to Classical Latin II
A continuation of Lat 115, completing the fundamentals of Latin grammar and leading to the first reading of unadapted Latin texts. Students will develop their reading comprehension skills in Latin and be introduced to certain basic types of reference works that Classicists typically use to aid in their reading. Emphasis is also given to the importance of the Latin language for the study of Roman civilization and history. Prerequisite: Lat 115. Partially satisfies WL CCR.
LAT 217
Intermediate Latin I
After a review of the grammar and forms, the course focuses on the skills and background knowledge necessary for translating, working through, and better understanding Latin in the original, both prose and poetry. This implies not just learning more grammar and vocabulary but also learning more about how to use basic tools: dictionaries, grammars, commentaries, etc. The larger aim of the course is to help students begin finding out for themselves what they want to learn about, and by means of, the texts they translate. Prerequisite: Lat 116. Partially satisfies WL CCR.
LAT 218
Intermediate Latin II
As they continue to develop the skills practiced in Lat 217, students will explore selections from Virgil's Aeneid. Working on translation will help in appreciating Vergil's poetic style. Reading both the selections in Latin and the full work in English will help in understanding the historical and literary context for the creation and reception of Vergil's poetry. Prerequisite: Lat 217. Partially satisfies WL CCR and satisfies W2 ACE.
LAT 320
Medieval Latin
Survey of Latin language and literature from the 4th to the 14th century and of the cultures from which it arose. Prerequisite: Lat 217. Offered every third year. Partially satisfies WL CCR.
LAT 321
Latin Poetry
Study of the major authors and genres of Latin poetry. The texts read may vary, depending on student interests. Course can be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: Lat 218. Satisfies WL CCR.
LAT 324
Latin Prose
Study of the major authors and genres of Latin prose. The texts read may depend on student interests, although normally oratory will alternate with historiography or prose fiction. Course can be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: Lat 218. Partially satisfies WL CCR.


GRE 115
Beginning Classical Greek I
An introduction to Ancient Greek and to Athenian culture of the fifth and fourth centuries B.C.E. Students will develop skills in grammatical analysis, useful for understanding how both Greek and other languages work. At the same time they will begin learning about the literature and social values of Classical Athens. Partially satisfies WL CCR.
GRE 116
Beginning Classical Greek II
A continuation of Gre 115. During the second semester the readings will become progressively more complex grammatically and the cultural context of the readings richer and more detailed. Prerequisite: Gre 115. Partially satisfies WL CCR.
GRE 217
Intermediate Greek I
After review of the work done in the first two semesters, students will continue to work on their understanding of the language and its grammar. Unadapted ancient prose texts bearing on central cultural concerns of the Athenians will be read, excerpted or as wholes. Further readings in English will provide background and historical context. Prerequisite: Gre 116. Partially satisfies WL CCR.
GRE 218
Intermediate Greek II
After finishing the reading of the prose texts started in the first semester, the course will move on to selections from a drama, usually a tragedy of Euripides or a comedy of Aristophanes, bearing on the topics addressed in the first semester. There will be additional readings in English on the history and practice of Athenian theater. Prerequisite: Gre 217. Partially satisfies WL CCR and satisfies W2 ACE.
GRE 323
Ancient Greek Poetry/Drama
The texts read for the course in a given year may vary. Normally, a course on fifth-century drama will alternate with a course on Homer and other early poetry. Course can be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: 218. Partially satisfies WL CCR.
GRE 324
Ancient Greek Prose
The topic of the course in a given year may vary. Normally, a course on Herodotus and Thucydides will alternate with a course based on the texts of the orators, Plato and Aristotle. Course can be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: 218. Partially satisfies WL CCR.