Classics is the study of Greek and Roman civilizations in all of their diverse aspects: histories, languages, literatures, philosophies, and material culture. We focus on the peoples of the Mediterranean region from the Bronze Age until the Fall of the Roman Empire and the beginnings of the Mediaeval period and the Byzantine Empire. We also include study of neighbouring regions and cultures such as Egypt, Mesopotamia, North Africa, and Celtic and Germanic Europe.
These societies, especially Greece and Rome, were enormously influential for later western cultures. Most of the institutions and ways of behaving that we enjoy today have their roots in the classical world. For example, democracy and ideas of citizenship, social organization, sports and athletics, art and architecture, philosophy, modern Romance languages and even English, among others, all look back to Greece and Rome for their origins. In order to understand ourselves, we must know where we came from. The program in Classics and Archaeology also offers you the opportunity to travel and study abroad and experience the living cultures in the Mediterranean world today.
Like most humanities programs, Classics and Archaeology fosters excellence in written and oral communication skills. All classes include the objective to continually improve a student’s research and writing skills. Students learn to read and analyse primary evidence, such as texts and artifacts, to appreciate the arguments of others, and to evaluate them critically for relevance, distortion, and bias. Communication skills are greatly strengthened through presentations but also by acquiring familiarity with Greek and Latin. A thorough knowledge of how to express yourself in English comes through studying a foreign language, Greek and Latin especially, given the reliance of English on these languages for so much of its vocabulary and grammatical structure.
Our BA Honours program offers three streams: Ancient Art and Archaeology, Greek and Roman Studies, and Classical Civilisation. All three offer some combination of courses in art, archaeology, ancient history, literature in translation, and ancient languages (Greek and Latin), and you can focus on the stream that interests you the most. Classics and Archaeology often appeals to students with a range of interests, so our program is set up to be as flexible as possible.
Depending on the program requirements for your stream, you can take either language, or both (or neither). If you wish to study both Latin and Ancient Greek, we recommend that you take the 100-level foundational courses in consecutive years rather than both courses simultaneously. Students who follow a consecutive path tend to have stronger grades and progression rates.
Neither language is more difficult nor easier than the other. Both have their challenges and both have their rewards.
The Classics and Archaeology Department at Brock traditionally offers a course abroad every summer, led by a Brock Classics and Archaeology professor. In even-numbered years (i.e., 2016, 2018, 2020, etc.) we offer an archaeological practicum. In 2016, students worked with Dr. Carrie Murray on the island of Pantelleria and joined Dr. Elizabeth Greene in excavating a 6th-century shipwreck off the coast of Sicily; in 2014 students excavated in the Bronze Age palace at Gournia with Dr. Angus Smith. Visit the Archaeological Projects and Practica page to learn more about these exciting opportunities!
Yes! In odd-numbered years (i.e. 2017, 2019, 2021, etc.), we offer a study tour in Mediterranean countries; recent destinations have included Greece, Italy, and Turkey. Brock offers generous bursaries and the Department of Classics and Archaeology has raised considerable money for scholarships and travel awards to support student travel. Visit the Study Tours and Travel page to learn more about these transformative experiences!
Yes! The Classics and Archaeology department at Brock has 9 full-time professors, many of whom have won awards for their teaching! We consider our students to be the heart of the department and take pride in getting to know you. Language classes at all levels are normally small and regularly taught by permanent faculty, and classes in upper years (3rd and 4th year especially) are always smaller so students and professors interact in a seminar classroom setting.
Yes! The Brock University Archaeological Society (BUAS) is one of the most active on campus and a source of great pride for the department. It has existed for over 25 years! The students are very active in arranging both social gatherings and events related to our subject area (e.g., field trips to the ROM; student conferences).
The department also maintains an Undergraduate Workroom that is the students’ own space for studying or just to take a break between classes.