Classics involves the study of ancient cultures, in particular the literature, history and art of the great civilizations of Greece and Rome in the period from about 500 B.C. to A.D. 500. The Department offers courses in many aspects of Greek and Roman life and in a number of related fields such as the Ancient Near East and Egypt. An important focus of Classics is the teaching of ancient Greek and Latin languages and literature (e.g. Homer, Sophocles, Virgil), which can be studied either in translation or in the original. Language courses are offered both at the introductory and advanced levels and provide opportunity for learning through computer-assisted language programmes. While a requirement of the Classics Honours B.A. and graduate degree programmes, courses in Greek and Latin are open to all, whether majors or minors in the B.A. programme, or students (inside or outside the Faculty) simply wishing to expand their intellectual horizons.
For those with a particular interest in history and archaeology, Classics also offers an opportunity to explore the ancient world through courses in Greek and Roman history; art and architecture; archaeology; science and technology; myth and religion; women's studies; and literature in translation (poetry, drama and prose). Classics as a discipline is central to the Faculty of Arts. The study of Classics will provide skills and background essential for work in a number of related areas: Law, History, Comparative Literature, Religious Studies, Sociology, English, and Fine Arts.
The Department's resources include the W.G. Hardy Museum of Ancient Classical and Near Eastern Antiquities, which contains extensive displays of Egyptian, Greek and Roman artifacts, including coins, pottery, jewellery, and statuary. During the Spring and Summer terms, by arrangement with Special Sessions, the Department frequently offers undergraduate and graduate courses in practical archaeology at excavation sites in Italy and Greece.