For centuries the study of Classics has been central to any well-rounded humanistic education. The Romans, along with the Greeks, provide the foundation for many of the values and intellectual ideas that we take for granted in Western civilization. Incredibly sophistiated notions of justice, equality, mutual respect, and freedom were hammered out amid the stone and struggle for survival and have become our inheritance. In Classics, we study that inheritance through the literary and material remains. The concentrations in Greek and Latin focus mainly on the respective contributions of each culture, with an emphasis on the advanced reading of the languages from Homer (Greek) through the Medieval period (Latin).
Students who choose the Greek or Latin major should expect to learn to read the language at a very advanced level by the time s/he completes the requirements. We are not learning the language for its own sake, but in order to access directly in the original the centuries-long discussion about what makes us human beings. Students should have a propensity for language study and an interest in humanities in general. Not only does the study of Greek and Latin increase the sophistication of one’s thinking and provide a clearer scope of the sweep of intellectual history, it improves one’s understanding of language in general. Greek and Latin are precise languages that demand a thorough comprehension of how sentences are built and structured, while their vocabulary constitutes the basis of a considerable number of English words. Thus the knowledge of Greek and Latin sharpens one’s understanding of English.