Ancient and Classical Studies is the study of ancient Greece and Rome as well as of other cultures that influenced and impacted those societies. Our students examine the language, literature, art, history, religion and culture not only of ancient Greece and Rome but also of ancient Persia, Britain, Egypt and Gaul, among others.
Ancient Greece and Rome is important in that these civilizations have had a profound impact on the development of western culture, both positive (theatre, architecture, law, medicine) and negative (patriarchy, racism, classism). To study the ancient past is to study the roots of our own society. At the same time, there are deep differences between the ancient world and our own. Learning about the lives and experiences of others broadens one's intellectual horizons. This is especially true as scholars have sought to fill in the gaps of social history by focusing on those members of society who were traditionally marginalized, including women, children and slaves. Finally, it has become increasingly relevant for us to understand the ways in which Greece and Rome are actively being deployed today by those who would use these cultures as a basis for promoting their own moral or narratological authority (for example, the recent usage of Greco-Roman iconography by Neo-Nazis and other hate groups).