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Classics Department

Colosseum

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What is Classics?

Classics is a challenging and rigorous discipline grounded in the study of ancient Greek and Roman societies and how they have been interpreted over time. In order to build understanding of the ancient Greco-Roman world, students in Classics investigate and evaluate diverse bodies of evidence (such as literature, mythology, material remains, and the Latin and ancient Greek languages) by means of the subdisciplines of Classics (e.g., philology, numismatics, and epigraphy) and in dialogue with other fields and methodologies. Students in Classics at Beloit learn and develop linguistic, analytical, critical, creative, and communicative skills that prepare them intellectually for a wide range of postgraduate professional and career trajectories.

What Makes Beloit Classics Distinctive?

Because ancient Greco-Roman culture was central in forming the basic conceptual categories that shape histories of Western intellectual, artistic, and civic lives, it holds an extraordinary place in the past and present of many contemporary societies. But our program is not confined to celebrating the achievements of antiquity and acknowledging its impact on the present. The vast differences between these ancient cultures and our contemporary world bring students of Classics face to face with the Otherness of antiquity and forces a critical examination of “our” purported cultural roots. Engaging with ancient Greece and Rome means engaging with perceptions of ourselves, too, and contemporary interests, preconceptions and prejudices can often be challenged by a critical examination of their "classical" origins. Like a fun-house mirror in which one can observe oneself in a state of distortion—simultaneously familiar and alien—Greek and Roman antiquity furnishes us with a special vantage point from which to critique and reimagine what is taken for granted in our own time and place. Classics at Beloit, in its focus on the present historical moment, thus develops the thinking and skills necessary for students to take an active part in the humanistic enterprise by engaging in the present world and constructing future worlds both creatively and ethically.