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 include study of the neighbouring regions as well such as Egypt, Mesopotamia, North Africa, Celtic and Germanic Europe.
These societies, especially Greece and Rome, were enormously influential for later civilization. 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 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 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 bias, distortion, and relevance. 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.
We have three main areas of study: art and archaeology, literature and languages (Greek and Latin), and ancient history. All Classics majors must take some courses from each broad area, but you can focus on the stream that interests you the most. Classics often appeals to those students with a range of interests, since we offer and encourage students to take a variety of courses: for example, some ancient history courses, some ancient art courses, some archaeology courses, some literature courses, some language courses.
Yes! The Classics Department at Brock traditionally offers a course abroad every summer, led by a Brock Classics 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 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 department at Brock has 9 permanent professors. Most were hired in the 2000s and all are enthusiastic teachers — some have even won awards for their teaching! We consider our students to be at heart of the department and take pride in getting to know all of our students. 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 both in arranging social gatherings and academic meetings. In the winter, BUAS has a long tradition of organizing a “Scholarly Symposium”, inviting professors from Brock and other universities to speak on a chosen theme. The Scholarly Symposium has become very well-regarded by professors at other universities.
The department also maintains an Undergraduate Workroom that is the students’ own space for studying and holding BUAS meetings, as well as an Undergraduate Lounge for students in the Faculty of Humanities students where they can gather for lunch, studying, and socializing. The Undergraduate Workroom is a great place to get help and advice about your studies in Classics from fellow students or by making use of our Peer Mentor Program. Please visit us in the department and stop by both of our terrific undergraduate spaces!