Founded by the Department of Classics in 1971, ancient studies is one of St. Olaf’s oldest interdisciplinary programs. In scope it spans the more than two millennia between Greece’s Bronze Age and the fall of the Roman Empire. Combining art, history, language, literature, philosophy, religion, and theater, it encourages students to take a broad look at ancient Western culture, examining it from multiple perspectives.
The ancient studies program has no courses of its own; instead it relies on courses offered by individual departments. Students who major in ancient studies choose electives from the various departmental courses that deal primarily or entirely with the world of ancient Greece and Rome. Many of these courses also satisfy general education requirements. The required courses in Greek or Latin can simultaneously fulfill the college’s foreign language requirement.
It is common for St. Olaf students to combine an ancient studies major with a B.A. major like art history, English, history, philosophy, political science, or religion. Even mathematics or natural science majors often complete a second major in ancient studies. The major provides a useful background in the humanities for students interested in virtually any career.
Overview of the Major
The objectives of the major are competence in ancient Greek or Latin at the intermediate level, familiarity with ancient Greek and Roman civilization, and in-depth knowledge of one subject area within the major.
Any student interested in an ancient studies major should draw up a contract with the program’s director. The contract may be changed at any time up to second semester of the senior year.
To attain distinction in ancient studies, a student must demonstrate talent with ancient Greek or Latin, skill in conducting research on an ancient topic, and broad knowledge of ancient Western civilization. Specific guidelines are available from the director of ancient studies. Ancient studies majors who wish to pursue distinction should notify the director of the program no later than January 1 of their senior year.
Students majoring in ancient studies must complete the following:
|Fourth semester (or higher) of ancient Greek or Latin||1.00|
|One ancient history course||1.00|
|One classics course||1.00|
|Four electives chosen from various departments||4.00|
|One independent research||1.00|
The following courses have been approved for the major (seminars and topics courses are acceptable only when they focus on the ancient world):
ART 267 Ancient Near Eastern and Islamic Art
ART 275 Topics in Art History
CLASS 240 Gender and Sexuality in the Ancient World
CLASS 241 Greek and Roman Myth
CLASS 243 The Golden Age of Greece
CLASS 244 The Golden Age of Rome
GCON 113 The Tradition Beginning: The Greeks and the Hebrews
GREEK 253 New Testament Greek (or any other Greek course beyond 231)
HIST 101 Ancient Warfare
HIST 190 Europe from the Ancients to the Renaissance
HIST 201 Major Seminar: Ancient History
HIST 203 Ancient: Greece
HIST 204 Ancient: Rome
HIST 205 Ancient: Near East
HIST 299 Topics in History
HIST 302 Greek Civilization
HIST 303 Roman Civilization
LATIN 252 Vergil and Latin Epic (or any other Latin course beyond 231)
PHIL 235 Ancient Greek Philosophy
PHIL 374 Seminar in the History of Philosophy
PSCI 259 History of Classical Political Thought
PSCI 299 Topics in Political Science
REL 221 Jesus in Scripture and Tradition
REL 222 The Biblical God
REL 223 Paul: His Letters, His Gospel
REL 273 Hebrew Prophets in History and Christian Tradition
REL 276 The Ethics of Jesus
REL 302 History of Christian Thought I
REL 320 Interpreting Sacred Texts
REL 391 Biblical Seminar
REL 392 Studies in Religion Seminar
REL 393 Theological Seminar
REL 399 Thematic Seminar
THEAT 270 History of Theater up to 1700
298: Independent Study
398: Independent Research
Those who fulfill the major's language requirement with Latin may use one Greek course as an elective; those who fulfill the major's language requirement with Greek may use one Latin course as an elective.
Interim or summer courses such as the following:
CLASS 123 The Roman Animal
CLASS 124 The Many Faces of Homer
CLASS 126 Ancient Comedy: A Funny Thing Happened
CLASS 129 The Neverending Myth: Ovid's Metamorphoses
CLASS 251 Classical Studies in Greece (abroad)
CLASS 253 Classical Studies in Italy (abroad)
GCON 115 The Tradition Continuing: The Romans and the Christians
HIST 202 Mediterranean Archaeology Field School (abroad)
REL 271 Bible in Context:Hist/Geography/Culture in Israel & Palestine (abroad)
REL 272 Sacred Places in Greece and Turkey (abroad)
and other courses offered occasionally or only once (including courses at Carleton College) may also be used as electives.
See the director for information on courses offered in a particular year.
Anne H. Groton
Professor of Classics
Greek and Roman drama; classical languages and literature
A list of the Ancient & Medieval Studies Steering Committee members can be found here.