Dan Davis (program director)

Classics is the study of the languages, literature, and culture of the ancient Greco-Roman world. Greek and Latin are fundamental languages for the study of European literature and civilization, as well as the development of modern languages. The timeless literature of the Greeks and Romans produced Homer, Sappho, Thucydides, Plato, Virgil, and St. Augustine, to name just a few. Greek and Roman civilization has also had an enormous influence on facets of modern culture from law and poetry to art and religion. At Luther, classics can also include the study of Biblical Greek.

At Luther, students may earn a minor in classical studies.

The study of classics is excellent preparation for any number of fields, including education, business, computer science, music, foreign language, theology, law, and medicine. Students with a background in classics often go on to pursue graduate studies in history, political science, classics, or archaeology.

A classical studies minor can combine the study of the Greek and Latin languages, along with thematic courses in classical civilization.

Required for a classical studies minor: Two foundation courses that cover both Greek and Roman history/culture (see lists below), plus three electives chosen from Classical Studies, ART 251, HIST 241, 242, MUS 244, and PHIL 200. Other non-language courses may apply with the permission of the department head. Students may also apply GRK 101, GRK 102, LAT 101, and/or LAT 102 to the minor for a maximum of two electives.

Greek History/Culture
CLAS 240: Classical Mythology
CLAS 250: Ancient World: Greece
CLAS 270: Archaeology of Ancient Greece
CLAS 299: Study Abroad Classics (Greece)

Roman History/Culture
CLAS 275: Archaeology of Ancient Rome
CLAS 299: Study Abroad Classics (Italy)
CLAS 330: Pompeii: Life and Death in a Roman City
HIST 241: Rome: Republic and Empire

View program learning goals for an explanation of learning outcomes in Classics. 

Classical Studies Courses

CLAS 240 Classical Mythology

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression—Primary Texts

A survey of the major myths and legends of ancient Greece and Rome by reading such authors as Homer, Hesiod, Aeschylus, Euripides, and Ovid. The course also addresses the problem of interpreting myths and, when possible, introduces parallels from non-Greco-Roman traditions.

CLAS 250 The Ancient World: Greece

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression—Primary Texts

A historical survey of ancient Greek culture from the Trojan War to the rise of Rome, including political, economic, social, literary, philosophical, and religious developments. Topics include the rise and fall of the Mycenaean kingdoms, the beginnings of the city-state, the interaction of Greeks with other cultures, Athenian democracy and imperialism, the role of women, Greek religion, the beginnings of literary genres, and the origins of Greek science and philosophy. Readings will draw from ancient historical documents and Greek literature, but also modern archaeological excavations. Open to all students without prerequisite. Offered alternate years.

CLAS 270 Archaeology of Ancient Greece

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression—Primary Texts, Historical

An in-depth study of the archaeology of ancient Greece, with a focus on the high points of Greek civilization and material culture during the Classical and Hellenistic periods. We will examine archaeological methods along with developments in technology, architecture, sculpture, painting, and the minor arts. We will also consider the nature of archaeological evidence, the relationship between classical archaeology and history, and the legacy of Athens and the classical world in modern culture. Offered alternate years.

CLAS 275 Archaeology of Ancient Rome

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression—Primary Texts, Historical

This course explores the archaeology of ancient Rome from its early beginnings to its rapid growth into one of the world's largest empires. As we examine Roman technology, architecture, burial practices, sculpture, painting, and the minor arts, we will also consider the nature of archaeological evidence, the relationship between history and archaeology, and the legacy of ancient Rome in the modern world. Offered alternate years.

CLAS 299 Study Abroad-Classics

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Historical

In-depth study of selected topics in the Greco-Roman world taught during January term as part of Luther's study abroad offerings. Topics will vary according to faculty member and location. Possible topics may include the Ancient Empires of the Mediterranean, Age of Pericles, the World of Alexander, Caesar's Rome, and Roman Britain. Consent of instructor required.

CLAS 310 Ancient Science

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Natural World—Nonlab
  • Prerequisites: PAID 112 or equivalent

This course examines the history of science and technology in the ancient world between 1200 B.C. (when Babylonian astronomical texts emerge) and A.D. 500. Scientific ideas and technological innovations will be placed in their intellectual, social, religious, economic, and political context. Emphasis is placed on the Greek and Roman period, which saw substantial developments in agriculture, astronomy, geography, mathematics, hydraulics, medicine, music, botany, zoology, and meteorology. Attention will be paid to both literary sources (read in translation) and archaeological evidence.

CLAS 330 Pompeii:Life and Death in a Roman City

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Historical, Human Expression—Primary Texts
  • Prerequisites: PAID 112 or transfer equivalent

This course examines the ancient city of Pompeii in order to understand its development from a prehistoric village to the Roman city buried by Vesuvius in A.D. 79. From its preserved loaves of bread to houses filled with mosaics, paintings, and art collections, Pompeii provides us with unique and spectacularly detailed insights into social, political, and commercial life in the ancient Roman world. We explore the streets, homes, shops and sanctuaries of Pompeii, along with those of neighboring cities and settlements buried by the eruption. Through ancient accounts of the city, urban life and eruption, and through the things the Pompeiians left behind, we will learn about everyday life, and untimely death, in the ancient world.