Classical Studies and Languages
Homo sum; humani nil a me alienum puto . . . (I am human; I think nothing human foreign to me . . .) ~ Terence
Classical Studies is the study of cultural achievements of the ancient Greeks and Romans from the earliest records to the Middle Ages. Their development of critical thinking, political organization and the arts was of the greatest importance in forming the cultural tradition of the West. The Classical Studies student will come to understand the value of the Greek and Roman contribution to modern humanism.
This investigation involves various kinds of inquiry into language, history, literature, philosophy and fine art, among others. The variety of this inquiry imparts a fuller understanding of its subject-matter than any single line of inquiry could, and the student develops the various skills appropriate to the investigation of the different areas.
For this reason Classics is the “discipline of disciplines;” it is the original, and remains the pre-eminent, interdisciplinary study. The study of Classics accordingly makes a central and comprehensive contribution to the integration of many separate disciplines.
Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas . . . (Happy is he who can learn the reasons of realities . . .) ~ Vergil
Most students begin their study of classics at Guelph in courses which deal with the literature, history and fine art of the Greeks and Romans. These courses do not require a knowledge of Greek or Latin. The broad exposure to the ancient records in translation and the analysis of this evidence is both valuable and attractive. Such courses form the substance of a major or minor honours specialization in Classical Studies.
Students who want to master Greek and Latin as the key to a more profound understanding of the ancient world should take a major or minor honours specialization in Classical Languages. This involves the study of each language and its literature for at least five semesters. Courses are available for the study of Greek and Latin literary works in different genres over six semesters.
Students may combine the study of Classical Studies with another subject (as double major, major-minor or minor-major specialization options). Such a combination is recommended to any student of Classical Studies who wants to connect Greek and Roman achievements to those of their more recent counterparts, whether in art, history, language, literature or philosophy.
Several students at Guelph have won national competitions in Greek and Latin, which are organized each year by the Classical Association of Canada.
Greek or Latin is needed to follow up questions about the extant texts in detail and accordingly a competence in one of these languages is required for an honours degree in Classical Studies. One may begin the study of either language every year in the Fall term.
The graduate in Classical Studies will understand the roots of our Western cultural traditions and appreciate the permanent value of the original development of classical Greek and Roman humanism. The study of Classical Studies, involving different kinds of inquiry, develops a wide range of mental operations in the student. In this way, Classics prepares you well for any career which demands mental versatility. In addition, the combination of Classical Studies with a specialization in French, Spanish, German or Italian will give you a comparative advantage in applying for jobs in Canada, the Americas or the European Union.