Jan 30, 2023  
Course Catalog 2022-2023 
Course Catalog 2022-2023


Christopher V. Trinacty, Professor of Classics, Chair
Benjamin T. Lee, Professor of Classics
Kirk W. Ormand, Professor of Classics
Andrew T. Wilburn, Professor of Classics

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The study of Classics is a dynamic, multifaceted discipline engaged in the exploration of a remarkably multicultural part of the world-the ancient Mediterranean-from early prehistory to late antiquity (3000 BCE-600 CE). Students in Classics will study the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome in the wider Mediterranean basin-from Spain, through Europe and North Africa and Egypt, and into the modern Middle East. This is an area of extraordinary religious, ethnic, linguistic, and cultural diversity. Research in Classics engages with literature, drama, art, politics, philosophy, archaeology, and history. We are therefore inherently interdisciplinary, and intentionally inclusive in our approach to understanding the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome as completely as possible.

At the same time, classical scholars are keenly aware of the role that classical culture and the scholarship that surrounds it has played in the production of modern institutions, forms of power, and aesthetic standards in the modern West. By studying ancient Greece and Rome in all their complexity, we can better understand-and critique-the structures of power that have claimed them as ancestors.

The Classics Department offers courses in classical civilization that cover literature, history, and society, as well as Greek and Roman contributions to philosophy, religion, and government. These classes have two aims: to provide a background for students interested in literary, humanistic, artistic, and historical study; and to allow detailed study of particular historical, cultural, and literary moments from the ancient Mediterranean.

We also offer a full range of courses in Greek and Latin language and literature. Students who pursue the languages will develop a deeper understanding of the works of ancient Greece and Rome, and will be able to study source documents in their original languages. The Classics Department designs the introductory courses in ancient Greek and Latin so that students are able to approach significant material as soon as possible. Advanced seminars aim at close study of one or two ancient authors, in their literary, historical, and cultural context.

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Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Exams

Students who have been enrolled in the AP or IB programs in high school will be assigned advanced placement in accordance with the results of the qualifying examinations. A score of 4 or 5 on the AP Latin examination, or a 6 or 7 on the Latin IB Examination, is required for the award of college credit. Students will need to show the chair a syllabus and samples of their work in Latin to determine what level of class they will place into at Oberlin. Credits earned from the AP or IB exam count toward general college credit, and cannot be used to fulfill requirements of the major(s), but will result in advanced placement.

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Majors and Minors

Entry-Level Course Sequence Suggestions

Students beginning to study the ancient Mediterranean should begin with CLAS 103 CLAS 104 CLAS 111 , CLAS 112 , GREK 101 , or LATN 101 . Students are encouraged to enroll in any language course for which they are qualified. All entering students who have studied Latin or Greek previously should consult with a member of the department to determine the appropriate level for the language sequence. Students with four years of secondary-school Latin (including Vergil) will ordinarily be eligible for LATN 201  offered in the first semester. Such students are encouraged to consider beginning Greek.

Students who have had less than three semesters of Latin will be advised to enroll in or audit LATN 101 , to enroll in the Winter Term group class in Latin, or to devote a Winter Term to review in order that they may enroll in LATN 102 . Well-motivated students have done the equivalent of GREK 101  or of LATN 101  during a Winter Term and have then participated successfully in GREK 102  or LATN 102  in the following spring semester.

Students considering a major in Greek or Latin should include in their first year and second year programs four semesters of work in the language as well as either CLAS 103  or CLAS 104  and either CLAS 111  or CLAS 112 . Students who plan to major in classical civilization should take CLAS 111  or CLAS 112 , CLAS 103  and CLAS 104 , and two semesters of either Greek or Latin as early as possible.