What is Classics?

Tom Hiddleston discusses his classical education

The study of the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome, is the origin of the liberal arts and a sound foundation for investigating the modern world. Philosophy, democracy, history, political science, and drama originate in classical Athens. Physics traces its origins to the Greek scientific revolution in Ionia. The founding fathers created three balanced branches of government after the philosophical ideal in the Histories of Polybius. Western law claims descent from Justinian’s Code, and medicine owes its physician’s oath to the Greek doctor, Hippocrates, and its scientific method to the Roman doctor, Galen. Shakespeare’s plays adapt the Roman dramas of Plautus and Seneca. The plans of our great modern capitals – Paris, Berlin, London, St. Petersburg and Washington – all imitate the triumphal avenues of Augustan Rome.

The approach to all these subjects is the study of classical Greek and Latin, the languages of Homer, Plato, the Bible, Cicero and Vergil. Classics is an ideal preparation for careers that require careful reading, clear writing and articulate speaking, such as law, medicine, education, publishing, journalism and business.

At ECU, Classical Studies is an interdisciplinary program within the Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences’ Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures. Students may major or minor in Classical Studies. The program offers four years of Latin and classical Greek, and more than twenty courses on classical archeology, art history, history, literature, philosophy and religion.

John Stevens, Coordinator of Classical Studies