ROSARIA V. MUNSON, J. Archer and Helen C. Turner Professor
WILLIAM N. TURPIN, Professor, The Scheuer Family Chair of Humanities
GRACE LEDBETTER, Professor and Chair
JEREMY LEFKOWITZ, Associate Professor1
VARUN KHANNA, Visiting Assistant Professor
KYLE MAHONEY, Visiting Assistant Professor
HELEN PLOTKIN, Visiting Assistant Professor
DEBORAH SLOMAN, Administrative Assistant
1Absent on leave 2020-2021
The field of Classics is devoted to the study of the cultures of the ancient Greeks and Romans. The curriculum includes training in the Greek and Latin languages at the Elementary, Intermediate, and Seminar levels. In addition, the department offers courses in Classical Hebrew and Sanskrit, and a range of courses on the history, literature, philosophy, religion, and cultural life of antiquity, including classes that explore the reception of the Classical past in later periods up to the present day. The rigorous training in Greek and Latin that is the hallmark of Swarthmore’s Classics program has meant that the department enjoys remarkable success in producing students who go on to become leaders in the field. But because it is a truly interdisciplinary field, Classics also appeals to students with a wide variety of interests and career goals.
The Academic Program
Greek, Latin, Ancient History, and Classical Studies may be a student’s major or minor subject in either the Course or the Honors Program. Three of these tracks (Greek, Latin, and ancient history) require advanced work in one of the original languages, while a major or minor in Classical Studies does not require but may include language study. Acceptance into one of the majors is dependent on promising work in relevant courses (normally indicated by A’s and B’s).
First course recommendations
The elementary Classics courses recommended are: GREK 001 Intensive First Year Greek and GREK 002 Intensive First Year Greek to be taken after completion of GREK 001; LATN 001 Intensive First Year Latin and LATN 002 Intensive First Year Latin to be taken after completion of LATN 001; all First Year Seminars (FYS) in ANCH, CLST, GREK and LATN; all ANCH courses and CLST 036 Mythology.
Greek: 8.5 credits required, including .5-credit senior course study (see below). Two credits must come from an honors seminar in Greek.
Latin: 8.5 credits required, including .5-credit senior course study (see below). Two credits must come from an honors seminar in Latin.
Classical Studies: 8.5 credits in Greek, Latin, Classical Studies or Ancient History including .5-credit senior course study (see below). Two credits must come from a double-credit Classical Studies Capstone Seminar. Other disciplines on campus offer courses focused on aspects of classical antiquity (e.g. Art History, Philosophy, Political Science), and usually these will count toward completion of the major; students are advised to consult the chair for an accurate list of such courses.
Ancient History: A major in Ancient History consists of four Ancient History courses (ANCH 031, 032, 042, 044, 056, or 066), four credits in Greek or Latin, two of which must be from an honors seminar, and .5-credit senior course study. A second seminar in Latin or Greek may be substituted for two Ancient History courses.
Greek: 5 credits in Greek.
Latin: 5 credits in Latin.
Classical Studies: 5 credits in Greek, Latin, Classical Studies or Ancient History.
Ancient History: A course minor in Ancient History will consist of four courses in Ancient History, and an attachment to one of them.
Culminating Exercise/Senior Course Study
The culminating experience for course majors in Greek, Latin, Classical Studies, and Ancient History is a .5-credit senior course study (GREK 098, LATN 098, CLST 098, ANCH 098). This independent study will be taken in the senior year to prepare for a graded oral exam taken in the spring with the Classics faculty. The oral exam will be based on a 2-credit seminar the student has completed. The students will submit their final exams and a paper from the seminars, which may be revised. The oral exams focus on the seminar as a whole as well as on the papers and written exams submitted.
Honors Program in Classics
Greek and Latin: For a major in Greek or Latin, preparation for honors exams will normally consist of three seminars. A student minoring in Greek or Latin will take one external examination based on one seminar. Minors are, however, strongly encouraged to take more than one seminar, in order to be adequately prepared for the examination.
Classical Studies: Honors majors will complete 8 credits in Greek, Latin, Classical Studies, or Ancient History. They must complete three 2-credit units of study, of which at least one must a double-credit Classical Studies Capstone Seminar. Minors will complete 5 credits in Greek, Latin, Classical Studies, or Ancient History including a double-credit Classical Studies Capstone Seminar.
Ancient History: For a major in Ancient History, one preparation will be a seminar in either Latin or Greek. The other two preparations can be another seminar in the same language and a course-plus-attachment, or two courses-plus-attachments. Students minoring in Ancient History will take three courses in Ancient History and add an attachment to one of them. That course-plus-attachment will be the preparation for the external exam. No ancient language is required for this minor.
Senior Honors Study
All honors majors and minors will select one paper from each seminar to be sent to the external examiner for that seminar. The student is free to submit the paper with minor or major revisions or no revisions at all. 4,000 words is the senior honors limit set by the college. Majors will, therefore, submit three such papers, and minors will submit one. Senior Honors Study is not required for students whose Honors preparation is a course with an attachment. The portfolio sent to external examiners will contain the seminar papers, together with syllabi and related materials, if any, from the instructors. A combination of (three-hour) written and (one-hour) oral exams will be the mode of external assessment for seminars. For course-plus-attachment, examiners will receive the course syllabus and the written product of the attachment. The exam will be just an oral assessment.
Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate Credit
The department will grant one credit (only) for one or more grades of 5 on the Latin AP, or the IB equivalent. This credit may be counted toward the major or minor in Latin or CLST.
A semester of off-campus study is usually possible for majors in classics. The department is a member of the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome, and encourages interested students to participate, preferably in the fall semester of their junior year. The ICCS program offers traditional courses in Greek, Latin, Italian, Renaissance and Baroque art history, and a required two-credit course based on first-hand exposure to the archaeological and artistic monuments of the ancient world to be found in Rome, the Bay of Naples, and Sicily.
Research and Summer Study
Students may apply to the department for summer funding to support intensive summer courses in Latin and Greek, participation in archaeological field work abroad, internships connected with classics, or research projects undertaken with a member of the department.
Some summer programs recently attended by Swarthmore students include CUNY Summer Language Institute, Berkeley Summer Language Programs, Unviersity College in Cork, Ireland, Via Consulare Project in Pompeii, Agora Project in Athens, American Academy in Rome Summer Program, Gabii Project, Azoria Project, Morgantina, and Mt. Lykaion.
Life After Swarthmore
Many of our majors, and some minors, go on to pursue careers as professional classicists, at both the college and secondary levels. Swarthmore students well prepared in both Latin and Greek are competitive candidates for excellent graduate programs in classics, and in related fields such as medieval studies, English, history, and archaeology. In recent years Classics majors have been admitted to graduate programs at UNC-Chapel Hill, Penn, CUNY Graduate Center, Yale, Harvard, Duke, Princeton, University of Chicago, and Stanford. Others have successfully obtained teaching positions in secondary schools, both public and private; it is worth mentioning that there is a significant demand for teachers of Latin, particularly at the secondary level, and some states, including Pennsylvania, make it possible to teach Latin in public schools before obtaining professional certification. Most majors and minors have successfully pursued careers only tangentially related to classics, often after attending professional school. There are Swarthmore classicists in law, medicine, business, art, and music, and many other walks of life.
Classics Department Courses
Each semester we offer Greek at the elementary level (Greek 001 and 001), at the intermediate level (Greek 011, 012, 014), and at the advanced level. Teaching at the advanced level is typically an Honors seminar open to all qualified students.
Each semester we offer Latin at the elementary level (Latin 001 and 002), the intermediate level, and we offer an Honors seminar open to all qualified students. We also offer intermediate Latin courses that can be taken with an attachment to create a two-credit unit for the Honors Program or the course major.
Each semester we offer one course in Ancient History (typically Greek history in the Fall and Roman history in the Spring). Students may combine any course with a research paper (“attachment”) to create a 2-credit unit for the Honors program or the Course major.
Courses in Greek, Latin, and Ancient History can be part of any Classical Studies program. In addition, we offer at least one Classical Studies course (in English translation) every Fall, and a Capstone Seminar (open to all students but with preference given to those with at least one course in the field) in the Spring.
Honors Seminars and Capstone Seminars