Classics

http://wp.stolaf.edu/classics/

Chair, 2014-15: Anne H. Groton, Greek and Roman drama

Faculty, 2014-15: Christopher M. Brunelle, Latin poetry; James M. May, Greek and Roman rhetoric; Steve Reece, Greek and Roman epic (on leave); Lisa Whitlatch, Latin poetry

Long ago the Greeks and Romans conceived the idea of the liberal arts and made them the basis of higher education. Today the Department of Classics keeps that classical tradition alive at St. Olaf by offering courses in the languages, literature, and culture of ancient Greece and Rome. The study of Graeco-Roman civilization gives students perspective on their own place in history while increasing their understanding of the world into which Christianity was born.

Many students satisfy the foreign language requirement with three semesters of Greek or Latin. Greek is especially helpful for pre-seminary and pre-medicine students, Latin for pre-law students. Either language makes a good match with the Great Conversation program.

Most terms, the Department of Classics offers at least one course that demands no knowledge of Greek or Latin and fulfills general education requirements; among the most popular of these classics courses are Greek and Roman Myth (Classics 241) and the annual Interim in Greece (Classics 251).

Students often combine a major in Greek or Latin with another major. A classical background enriches one’s experiences in college and in later life, while the verbal and analytical skills acquired by learning classical languages are of lasting benefit in whatever career one chooses.

OVERVIEW OF THE MAJORS

Three different majors in classical language are available to St. Olaf students: Greek, Latin, and classics. The classics major combines Greek and Latin and is the most rigorous. All three majors have as their objectives competence in classical language at an advanced level, skill in translating and analyzing classical literature of different genres, and familiarity with classical civilization. Potential Latin teachers may complete a Latin education major. Ancient studies and medieval studies, two interdisciplinary majors overseen by the Department of Classics, are described elsewhere in this catalog.

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJORS
Requirements for the Greek Major

Seven courses in Greek, one classics course, and one ancient Greek history course. Students who begin Greek at the 231 level or higher have the option of taking six courses in Greek, one classics course, and one ancient Greek history course.

INTENDED LEARNING OUTCOMES FOR THE greek MAJOR

Requirements for the Latin Major

Seven courses in Latin, one classics course, and one ancient Roman history course. Students who begin Latin at the 231 level or higher have the option of taking six courses in Latin, one classics course, and one ancient Roman history course.

INTENDED LEARNING OUTCOMES FOR THE latin MAJOR

Requirements for the Classics Major

Six courses in Latin or Greek, three courses in the other language, one classics course, and one ancient history course. Students who begin one of the languages at the 231 level or higher have the option of taking five courses in that language, three in the other, one classics course, and one ancient history course.

INTENDED LEARNING OUTCOMES FOR THE Classics MAJOR

Requirements for the Latin Major with K-12 Teaching License

Seven courses in Latin, one ancient Roman history course, Education 349, and all other requirements of the K-12 teaching licensure program in Latin. Students who begin Latin at the 231 level or higher have the option of taking six courses in Latin, one ancient Roman history course, and one classics course.

DISTINCTION

To attain distinction in classics, a student must demonstrate talent with classical languages and literature, skill in conducting research on a classical topic, and broad knowledge of classical civilization. Specific guidelines are available from the Department of Classics. Classics majors who wish to pursue distinction should notify the department chair no later than January 1 of their senior year.

SPECIAL PROGRAMS

For more than 35 years St. Olaf students have had the opportunity to spend the month of January in Greece while enrolled in Classics 251 (Classical Studies in Greece), an Interim course focusing on ancient Greek history and art. St. Olaf offers a Latin major with teaching license for students preparing to teach Latin in K-12 schools. Education 349 is a teaching methods course designed specifically for future Latin instructors. Students may put their Greek or Latin courses to use as the core of an interdisciplinary major in ancient studies or medieval studies.

recommendations for graduate study

A doctorate in classics requires a reading knowledge of German and French (or Italian) as well as advanced proficiency in both Latin and ancient Greek. Recent St. Olaf graduates have been accepted into M.A., M.A.T., and Ph.D. programs at Indiana University, Penn State, the University of British Columbia, UCLA, the University of Colorado, the University of Florida, the University of Georgia, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, the University of Minnesota, the University of Texas, the University of Virginia, and Duke University.

COURSES

GREEK COURSES

111 Beginning Greek I

In this two-course sequence students learn the basics of ancient Greek. By studying the language's vocabulary, grammar, and syntax, they not only gain appreciation for its intricacies and nuances but also learn more about their own language and about language in general. Completion of both semesters equips students to translate almost any ancient Greek text with the aid of a dictionary. Offered annually in the fall semester.

112 Beginning Greek II

In this two-course sequence students learn the basics of ancient Greek. By studying the language's vocabulary, grammar, and syntax, they not only gain appreciation for its intricacies and nuances but also learn more about their own language and about language in general. Completion of both semesters equips students to translate almost any ancient Greek text with the aid of a dictionary. Prerequisite: GREEK 111 or equivalent. Offered annually in the spring semester.

231 Intermediate Greek

Third-semester Greek students translate selections from Plato's dialogues (Apology, Crito, Phaedo) while reviewing vocabulary, grammar, and syntax. Topics for class discussion include the life and death of Socrates and the significance of the dialogues as works of literature. Prerequisite: GREEK 112 or equivalent. Offered annually in the fall semester.

253 New Testament Greek

The New Testament is the most famous and most widely translated Greek text from antiquity. Students have the opportunity to read one or more of the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, or selected Pauline letters in the original language. Questions about the transmission of the text and about its theological implications provoke lively discussions. Prerequisite: GREEK 231 or equivalent. Offered annually in the spring semester.

298 Independent Study

370 Topics in Greek Literature

Students translate selections from one or more genres of ancient Greek literature while exploring a specific topic or theme chosen by the instructor. Close study of the text is combined with discussion of broader literary, historical, and cultural questions. Sample topics: "Tales of Odysseus," "Hellenistic Greek," "Famous Speeches in Ancient Greek Texts." Prerequisite: GREEK 231 or equivalent. Offered every third year.

372 Greek Philosophers

It has been said that all philosophy is a mere footnote to Plato and Aristotle. In this course students translate selected works by the two renowned philosophers and their predecessors, examining the forces that influenced them and the impact that Greek philosophy had on subsequent ages. Prerequisite: GREEK 231 or equivalent. Offered alternate years.

373 Greek Historians

Readings in Greek from the works of Herodotus, the "Father of History," and Thucydides, the first "scientific" historian, provide the backdrop for studying the development of Greek historiography. Students analyze the historians' distinctive methods and writing styles and compare them with those of modern historians. Prerequisite: GREEK or equivalent. Offered alternate years.

374 Greek Drama

Like the genre that it describes, the word drama is itself of Greek origin. From the treasure-trove left to us by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, and Menander, students translate one or two complete plays and discuss the evolution of the Greek theater, staging, and modern interpretations. Prerequisite: GREEK 231 or equivalent. Offered alternate years.

375 Homer and Greek Epic

The primary texts for this course are Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, the earliest recorded literature of Western civilization. Besides translating lengthy passages from one or both of these remarkable poems, students probe the characteristics of epic poetry and investigate current topics in Homeric scholarship. Prerequisite: GREEK 231 or equivalent. Offered alternate years.

398 Independent Research

LATIN COURSES

111 Beginning Latin I

In this two-course sequence students learn the basics of classical Latin. By studying the language's vocabulary, grammar, and syntax, they not only gain appreciation for its intricacies and nuances but also learn more about their own language and about language in general. Completion of both semesters equips students to translate almost any classical Latin text with the aid of a dictionary. Offered annually in the fall semester.

112 Beginning Latin II

In this two-course sequence students learn the basics of classical Latin. By studying the language's vocabulary, grammar, and syntax, they not only gain appreciation for its intricacies and nuances but also learn more about their own language and about language in general. Completion of both semesters equips students to translate almost any classical Latin text with the aid of a dictionary. Prerequisite: LATIN 111 or equivalent. Offered annually in the spring semester.

231 Intermediate Latin

Third-semester Latin students translate large portions of two orations (First Catilinarian, Pro Caelio) by Cicero and selections from Catullus' poetry while reviewing vocabulary, grammar, and syntax. Topics for class discussion include life in late Republican Rome and the stylistic features of the literature. Prerequisite: LATIN 112 or equivalent. Offered annually in the fall semester.

235 Medieval Latin

Latin has been spoken in one form or another for more than two thousand years. This course focuses on authors and texts dating roughly from 300 to 1500 CE and emphasizes the role of Latin as the language of the Church and of the intelligentsia during the Middle Ages. Prerequisite: LATIN 231 or equivalent. Offered alternate years in the spring semester.

252 Vergil and Latin Epic

Lord Tennyson called Vergil the "wielder of the stateliest measure ever moulded by the lips of man." Students encounter that stately measure when they translate selections from Vergil's three major poems (Eclogues, Georgics, Aeneid). They also engage in spirited discussion of Homer's influence on Vergil and of Vergil's influence on the literature, art, and music of Western civilization. Prerequisite: LATIN 231 or equivalent. Offered alternate years in the spring semester.

298 Independent Study

370 Topics in Latin Literature

Students translate selections from one or more genres of ancient Latin literature while exploring a specific topic or theme chosen by the instructor. Close study of the text is combined with discussion of broader literary, historical, and cultural questions. Sample topics: "Ovid," "Latin Epistolography," "Augustan Elegy." Prerequisite: LATIN or equivalent. Offered every third year.

371 Latin Lyric

Lyric poems -- short, occasional pieces composed in various meters, often concerned with love and longing -- are the focus of this Latin course. Students translate the vivacious verse of Catullus, Horace, Tibullus, and Ovid and learn to recognize the features that make lyric a distinctive genre of Latin poetry. Prerequisite: LATIN 231 or equivalent. Offered every third year.

372 Latin Historians

The writings of Sallust, Livy, and Tacitus provide breathtaking views of ancient Rome and memorable vignettes from the city's colorful history. Extended passages from the historians' works, read in Latin, form the basis for a survey of Roman historiography and of historical writing in general. Prerequisite: LATIN 231 or equivalent. Offered every third year.

373 Lucretius and Latin Poetry

Lucretius might best be described as a philosophical poet. His De Rerum Natura ("On the Nature of the Universe") presents the theories and teachings of Greek philosophers like Democritus and Epicurus, but with a Roman flavor. Students translate substantial sections of this fascinating poem. Prerequisite: LATIN 231 or equivalent. Offered every third year.

374 Cicero and Latin Prose

Rome's greatest orator, Cicero, was also its greatest prose stylist and the author most responsible for supplying Latin with philosophical vocabulary. Selections from his philosophical, rhetorical, and oratorical works show the range of his talents and help demonstrate the development of Latin prose style. Prerequisite: LATIN 231 or equivalent. Offered every third year.

375 Latin Drama

Strange things happened on the ancient Roman stage; this course gives students firsthand proof of that. The comedies of Plautus and Terence and the tragedies of Seneca make entertaining reading. Students translate selected plays and discuss the evolution of the Roman theater, staging, and modern interpretations. Prerequisite: LATIN 231 or equivalent. Offered every third year.

377 Latin Satire

The Romans claimed that satire was a literary genre of their own creation. Students are able to weigh the merits of that claim as they translate selections from the wry and witty texts of prominent Roman satirists such as Horace, Petronius, Martial, and Juvenal. Prerequisite: LATIN 231 or equivalent. Offered every third year.

398 Independent Research

CLASSICS COURSES requiring no knowledge of greek or latin

121 "Western" Greeks and Eastern "Barbarians" in Antiquity

This course introduces a variety of documents (both literary and artistic) to investigate cultural interactions between ancient Greece and the East in the first millennium BCE. By studying the mythological Trojan War, the Persian Wars, and Alexander the Great's decade of campaigns, students consider how the ancient Greeks related to the alien cultures with which they were in continual contact: what did it mean to be "Greek" or "barbarian" in the ancient world? Offered periodically during Interim. Counts towards ancient studies major.

126 Ancient Comedy: A Funny Thing Happened

This course introduces students to the wild and wacky world of ancient Greek and Roman comedy. It traces the development of the genre with discussion of how the plays were produced in antiquity and what influence they wielded on the drama of later centuries. Students read works by Aristophanes, Menander, Plautus, and Terence and stage selected scenes. Offered periodically during Interim. Counts towards ancient studies major.

128 The Fall of the Roman Empire and the Rise of Christianity

This course is an interdisciplinary introduction to the roughly 300-year period of Western European history from the Fall of the Roman Empire to the establishment of the 6th-century Christian Germanic kingdoms. Using primary sources, archaeological evidence, and remains of art and architecture, students investigate the collapse of Roman authority and the rise of the Christian Church, gaining insight into an age of great transition and change. Offered periodically during Interim. Counts towards ancient studies or medieval studies majors.

129 The Neverending Myth: Ovid's Metamorphoses

Ovid was the most witty and popular Roman poet of his time, and his 12,000-line Metamorphoses has influenced more European literature and art than any other classical Latin text. By analyzing two modern English translations and studying other poems, stories, and artwork based on the Metamorphoses, students gain an understanding of the nature of Ovid's storytelling and the power that it has exerted on our cultural tradition. Offered periodically during Interim. Counts towards ancient studies major.

241 Greek and Roman Myth

For the Greeks and Romans myth was a cultural reality, just as it is for us. Students in this course read the famous tales told by the poets Homer, Hesiod, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Vergil, and Ovid, and ponder the deeper truths contained in their works of fiction. The class also explores the use of classical myth in later literature and its manifestations in art, music, and drama from ancient to modern times. Offered annually. Counts towards ancient studies major.

243 The Golden Age of Greece

This course takes students on an exciting journey back to the 5th century BCE, as the Athenians emerge triumphant from the Persian Wars and develop the "Golden Age" of Greece. Studying the history, literature, and art of ancient Athens reveals how distinctive that city-state was and how lasting its contributions to Western civilization have been. Offered alternate years. Counts towards ancient studies major.

244 The Golden Age of Rome

What made the last years of the Roman Republic and the early years of the Roman Empire "golden"? Students learn the answer by reading some of the finest Latin literature ever written, from epic to satire. They also do research with historical source materials. The course emphasizes the many ways in which ancient Rome has influenced and continues to influence Western culture. Offered alternate years. Counts towards ancient studies major.

251 Classical Studies in Greece (abroad)

This course introduces students to the history and art of ancient Greece. It covers more than two thousand years of Greek civilization, from the Bronze Age through the archaic, classical, and Hellenistic periods. The itinerary takes students to every major region of Greece, with extended stays in Athens, Crete, and the Peloponnese. When not visiting museums and archaeological sites and learning about ancient Greek culture, students have the opportunity to experience modern Greek culture as well. Offered annually. Counts towards ancient studies major.

294 Internship

298 Independent Study

394 Internship

396 Directed Undergraduate Research

This course provides a comprehensive research opportunity, including an introduction to relevant background material, technical instruction, identification of a meaningful project, and data collection. The topic is determined by the faculty member in charge of the course and may relate to his/her research interests. Prerequisite: determined by individual instructor. Offered based on department decision. May be offered as a 1.00 credit course or .50 credit course.

398 Independent Research