The study of the classics concerns itself with the one fixed point of reference in the liberal arts: the origins. The very notion of liberal arts is a creation of ancient Greece and Rome. Courses in the classics are intended to acquaint the student with the languages, literature and civilizations of those cultural wellsprings. Because classics comprehends all aspects of these ancient civilizations, it is in fact an interdisciplinary field.
Greek and Latin are fundamental languages of the West, with literature extending over three millennia. Serious study of Greece and Rome (as of most cultures) should include the study of their languages. Coursework in Greek, Latin and classical civilization enhances understanding of subjects as diverse as art history, drama, history, linguistics, philosophy, political science, religion and the modern literatures of Europe and America. Indeed, almost any study of the Western intellect and imagination looks repeatedly toward Greece and Rome and does so to greatest advantage through the lucid windows of the original languages.
Besides Latin and Greek, Sanskrit may usually be studied.
The department encourages its students to study abroad, especially in Greece and Italy, but in many other countries as well, either during the summer or for a semester or year.
First-year students or students new to classics are particularly advised to take the classical civilization courses. Courses in classical civilization do not require a knowledge of Greek or Latin. Under this heading, students' particular interests may lead them to courses that concern ancient history, literature, myth or archaeology. Please note that the distinction between civilization courses at the 100 level and 200 level is not one of difficulty. Courses at the 200 level tend to have a narrower focus than the surveys at the 100 level, but both typically combine lectures and discussions, and the work may involve presentations, papers, and tests.
New students also are encouraged to take Latin and/or Greek at the appropriate level. Those who have previously studied Latin or Greek should consult with a member of the departmental faculty to determine which course would be appropriate. We offer proficiency tests in both Latin and (on demand) Greek during Orientation and in Latin during the spring semester. For many reasons, it is ideal for students to begin studying a language in their first year of college, and our elementary courses in both Latin and Greek are specifically designed to meet their needs. No previous linguistic training is required or assumed for these courses, but regular attendance and thorough preparation are crucial.
A year of study at Kenyon in either Latin or Greek satisfies Kenyon's language requirement. To satisfy the language requirement through previous study in Latin, a student needs a score of 4 or 5 on either Latin Advanced Placement exam, or a passing grade on the department's proficiency test. The proficiency test is given during the Orientation Program as well as on the Wednesday of the ninth full week of classes in the spring semester. The examination tests the student on the equivalent of a year of Latin at Kenyon. To satisfy the language requirement through previous study in Ancient Greek, a student needs to achieve a passing grade on an examination set by the department during Orientation, but only by arrangement between the student and the department. The examination tests the student on the equivalent of a year of Greek at Kenyon.
Students majoring in classics may choose any one of the four forms of the major: (1) Latin and Greek, (2) Latin, (3) Greek, (4) classical civilization. A Senior Exercise and the Senior Seminar, CLAS 471, are required of all majors. Students must declare their classics major by Nov. 1 of their senior year.
Students who intend to continue the study of the classics in graduate school are advised to choose the Latin and Greek form of the major and to develop reading ability in both French and German.
Transfer students and students who study abroad may receive collegiate credit for coursework completed off campus, but each student should ascertain from the department in advance how work done elsewhere will be credited to the departmental requirements for the major.
Time away from Kenyon, as well as other circumstances, may render it impossible for a student to proceed with his or her language study according to the established sequence: LATN 101Y-102Y or GREK 111Y-112Y, respectively, followed by one odd-numbered and one even-numbered course on the 200 level, followed by as many courses as possible on the 300 level. To take one of the courses in Latin or Greek offered at Kenyon out of sequence, a student must solicit in advance the department's approval for the necessary deviation by means of a brief petition emailed to all classics faculty members currently on campus. Students wishing to substitute a different course for any of the courses required for their type of the major or minor should follow the same procedure.
We encourage all majors and minors to take as many as possible of these six survey courses, which are known as the core civilization courses: CLAS 101, CLAS 102, CLAS 111, CLAS 112, CLAS 121 and CLAS 122. We offer at least two, and usually three, of these core courses every year.
The Greek major must include at least one CLAS course concentrating on Greece, usually CLAS 101, CLAS 111 or CLAS 121.
The Latin major must include at least one course in CLAS concentrating on Rome, usually CLAS 102, CLAS 112 or CLAS 122.
To fulfill the Senior Exercise, each major must pass the appropriate sight translation examinations and the Senior Seminar. For detailed information about the Senior Exercise, please see Classics department webpage.
Honors in classics involves a substantial senior thesis in the area of Greek, Latin, ancient history or archaeology. The thesis is written in the senior year under the direction of an advisor.
For detailed information about Honors, please see Classics department webpage.
Students minoring in classics may choose any of the three forms of the minor: (1) minor with language emphasis, (2) minor with civilization emphasis, (3) minor with language and civilization emphasis. While the senior seminar is required of all minors, minors do NOT have to take the sight translation examinations that constitute part of the Senior Exercise. Students must declare their classics minor by Nov. 1 of their senior year.
Several of the forms of the classics major and minor allow .5 unit or 1 unit of cognate courses taught in other departments to be used to meet requirements. These courses include, but are not limited to, the following:
ARHS 110 Survey of Art, Part I
ARHS 220 Greek Art
ARHS 221 Roman Art
ARHS 373 Pompeii and Herculaneum
DRAM 251 Classical Drama
HIST 437 Late Antiquity
IPHS 113Y-114Y Odyssey of the West (.5 unit)
PHIL 200 Ancient Philosophy
PHIL 308 Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy
PHIL 353 Aristotle
PSCI 220 Classical Quest for Justice
PSCI 421 Socrates Seminar
PSCI 422 Thucydides: War and Philosophy
RLST 225 The New Testament
To determine whether a particular course not on this list may be counted as a cognate course for a major or minor, the student should email a brief inquiry to all classics faculty members currently on campus.