Why study Classics?

Classics is the study of the origins of Europe, and in particular its roots in Greek and Roman culture.

As a discipline, Classics is distinctive in three ways:

1) The long perspective

Classics follows the development of human culture and creativity over millennia, not just centuries. Our interests range from the Minoan people of Bronze Age Crete (c. 3500 to 1100 bc) to the end of the western Roman Empire (5th cent. ad), and well beyond. 

Classics is not only about the ancient world. It also explores how ancient culture either survived or inspired revivals during the Middle Ages, the Renaissance (one of several ‘rebirths’ of Classical culture), right down to modern times.

2) Geographical breadth

Greek and Roman culture extended far beyond the confines of Greece and Rome. In the fourth century bc the empire of Alexander the Great brought Greek culture to a vast geographical area ranging from Greece to India.

A large part of this was later subsumed into the Roman Empire, which extended a hybrid Graeco-Roman culture into western Europe and as far north as Hadrian’s Wall.

3) Multi-disciplinary approaches

Classics involves learning to see the world through many different perspectives. We study literature (from its beginnings in Homer) and mythology; theatre; art and archaeology; political, social and cultural history; and languages and linguistics.‌