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Ancient and Classical Studies:
Beyond the Relics — Wrestling with Ethical Issues

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Ancient and Classical Studies is the study of ancient Greece and Rome as well as of other cultures that influenced and impacted those societies. Our students examine the language, literature, art, history, religion and culture not only of ancient Greece and Rome but also of ancient Persia, Britain, Egypt and Gaul, among others.

Ancient Greece and Rome is important in that these civilizations have had a profound impact on the development of western culture, both positive (theatre, architecture, law, medicine) and negative (patriarchy, racism, classism). To study the ancient past is to study the roots of our own society. At the same time, there are deep differences between the ancient world and our own. Learning about the lives and experiences of others broadens one's intellectual horizons. This is especially true as scholars have sought to fill in the gaps of social history by focusing on those members of society who were traditionally marginalized, including women, children and slaves. Finally, it has become increasingly relevant for us to understand the ways in which Greece and Rome are actively being deployed today by those who would use these cultures as a basis for promoting their own moral or narratological authority (for example, the recent usage of Greco-Roman iconography by Neo-Nazis and other hate groups).


There are many ways of engaging with the ancient past beyond the traditional classroom. Our students can spend a semester abroad in Athens at Arcadia University studying Latin, Greek, archaeology, politics or art. In the Hiking with Hadrian EPIC Advantage research experience, they can hike all 84 miles of Hadrian’s wall in England, exploring along the way the affordances of digital storytelling and the politics of “place” and border walls. You can also use experimental archaeological techniques to test out the details of Roman military training in our on-campus May Term By the Spear, or dive into the ways in which Greek and Latin language still shape the technical language of the medical profession (Medical Terminology May Term).