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    Vassar College
   
 
  Aug 21, 2017
 
 
    
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Catalogue 2017-2018

Greek and Roman Studies Department


Chair: Rachel D. Friedman;

Professors: J. Bert Lott (and Associate Dean of the Faculty);

Associate Professors: Rachel D. Friedman, Barbara A. Olsen;

Visiting Assistant Professor: Thomas Beasley, Curtis Dozier, Tara Mulder;

Students who study in the Greek and Roman Studies department explore aspects of the ancient Mediterranean world with an emphasis on the cultures of Greece and Rome. At the heart of this exploration are the languages of the Greeks and the Romans, their literature, their history, their art, their philosophy, their religion, their politics, their relations with the other peoples of the Mediterranean, and their reception and interpretation by later cultures.

The story of “Classical” scholarship goes back to the Library of Alexandria in the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE. The project that the scholars of the library undertook was to collect, copy and edit as many texts of Greek literature as they could find. The study of the Greeks and Romans still has at its core this act of preservation. But, like the Alexandrian scholars and perhaps more self-consciously, we acknowledge that we are also involved in an act of reinterpretation. Our goal is both to preserve the knowledge of ancient cultures but also to interpret that knowledge in the context of contemporary culture.

We bring to this project many different skills and many different methods. Again, at the heart of the enterprise is the philological skills that the Alexandrian scholars developed: the ability to look back at a “dead” language and imagine it in its living form, in order to be able to read the written remains as richly as possible. An ancient historian adds to this skill the ability to gather disparate kinds of fragmentary evidence, both literary and material, to reconstruct both the major national and international events that shaped these cultures and the texture of the lives of their peoples from day to day. In this they rely heavily on archaeologists who uncover the physical traces of the past and attempt to establish a chronology and a function for these remains. Literary scholars find in works of literature not only evidence for the aesthetic principles that govern the creation of literary works of art but also apply modern theoretical approaches that allow us to see literature as a reflection of social, political and religious assumptions.

But in the end every student of Greek and Roman Studies is using insights about the ancient world to enrich his or her understanding of our modern world. In the end what classicists develop is an intense self-consciousness about the nature of their own assumptions, fashioned by the world in which they live - assumptions which the study of antiquity allows us to question and assumptions which we must question in order to be able to focus our attention on the strange “otherness” of different cultures that have much to teach us.

Recommendations: All students are strongly advised to study either Greek or Latin language at the 300-level.

Recommendations for graduate study: Students considering graduate work in Greek and Roman Studies should at a minimum have at least 2 units of 300 level work in one ancient language and 1 unit of 300 level work in the other. Proficiency in at least one relevant modern foreign language (e.g. French, Italian, German) is also recommended.

Departmental honors: In addition to the senior project students must elect 300-level work in the department both semesters of their senior year to be considered for honors.

Advisers: The department.

Programs

Major

Correlate Sequence in Greek and Roman Studies

Courses

Greek and Roman Studies: I. Introductory

Courses in English Translation

Courses in English translation, numbered X00-X19 are taught entirely in English. No knowledge of Greek or Latin is required.

Greek and Roman Studies: II. Intermediate

Independent Work

Independent work may be pursued in Greek, Latin, or English translation.

Greek and Roman Studies: III. Advanced

Courses in Greek Language and Literature: I. Introductory

Courses in Greek Language and Literature

Courses numbered X20-X39 require appropriate reading ability in ancient Greek.

Courses in Greek Language and Literature: II. Intermediate

Courses in Greek Language and Literature: III. Advanced

Courses in Latin Language and Literature: I. Introductory

Courses in Latin Language and Literature

Courses numbered X40-X59 require appropriate reading ability in Latin.

Courses in Latin Language and Literature: II. Intermediate

Courses in Latin Language and Literature: III. Advanced