A summer on a Greek island, digging in the foundations of ancient buildings side by side with renowned archaeologists; a semester in Rome at an American school, reading Cicero in the Forum and investigating the Villa of the Mysteries at Pompeii - these are some of the opportunities offered to Franklin & Marshall Classics students. Since Classics is a broad field, F & M offers three majors: one in Greek, one in Latin, and a third in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History that builds on the allied disciplines of history and archaeology. The Classics faculty is convinced that nothing stimulates creativity and imagination as much as the study of ancient thinkers and artists. Many students start taking Classics courses out of a desire to learn more about their own roots and the origins of Western culture. As they continue, they find their minds growing in new ways that lead to self-understanding and a deeper knowledge of our complex world.
The study of Classics at F&M also stretches the traditional limits of the classroom. Faculty regularly engage in research projects with students under the auspices of the Hackman Summer Research Program. The Foreign Study Travel Award, given to a sophomore major every year, provides an opportunity to spend a summer in an ancient land, studying on one's own or joining an excavation. Israel, Greece, Italy (and even Britain with its Roman ruins) are suitable destinations for a student who wins this prize.
Franklin & Marshall helps to sponsor the excavations at Poggio Colla, an Etruscan site located north of Florence, Italy, where Professor Ann Steiner is Director of Research and Professer Gretchen Meyers is Director of Materials. F&M students participate in the summer field school, together with scholars and other students from several American and European universities; in recent summers, they have joined the research projects led by both Classics and Geosciences faculty. Each fall F&M student participants report on their findings at the campus autumn Research Fair. Many upper-class seminars at F&M incorporate antiquities from the college collections, among them an extensive collection of Roman coins. All courses in classical archaeology include field trips to museums with antiquities collections in Philadelphia, Baltimore, or New York.
Law, medicine, business, banking, insurance, advertising, the ministry, government - Classics majors from F & M have won success in careers as diverse as the students themselves. The faculty is also proud of those who have chosen to continue their commitment to the Classics through graduate programs at the University of Pennsylvania, Bryn Mawr College, the University of Michigan, Brown University, the University of Chicago, Princeton University, the University of Cincinnati, the University of North Carolina, and other institutions. But Classics offers more than pre-professional training.
It also immerses a student in a rich artistic and intellectual tradition which has inspired some of Western civilization's greatest achievements. Whether students approach Classics as a means or as an end, they gain a solid mental discipline and keen analytical skills. They come away able to appreciate literature, history, and art - abilities that will serve them well in facing whatever challenges life holds after graduation.
Students work in especially close contact with faculty in tutorials, directed readings, and Independent Study courses. Recent tutorials included a focused study of ancient law, and an Independent Study project developed a complete analysis, from iconography to style to cult function, of a small statue of the ancient goddess Cybele that is held in the college collections. Another student, now in medical school, carried out a detailed analysis of the role and meaning of dreams in the narrative of the Greek historian Herodotus; she was awarded departmental honors at graduation. Another honors Independent Study project was an analysis of the narrative technique of Philo, a Jew who lived in the Greek-speaking community of Alexandria, Egypt, during the first century A.D. Philo tried to steer the mad Roman emperor, Caligula, away from a course of action that would have been fatal to Judea.
The Classics department offers two concentrations:
A minor is also available in each of these areas.
The Classics department offers the following types of courses: