The Department of Classics invites students to share in the study of the language, literature, and culture of ancient Greece and Rome and the civilizations they helped to shape. We offer an undergraduate major and minor, including honors option, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. Because we are a small and collegial department, students have the opportunity to work closely with distinguished faculty and to develop individualized or collaborative research programs.
Prof. James Collins
The Greeks and Their Legacies introduces the culture of ancient Greece, including its mythology, drama, sport, history, art, science, and philosophy from the Bronze Age through the death of Alexander the Great. Throughout, this course focuses on the achievements of the Greeks and their relevance in the modern world. It also considers the representation of the ancient Greek world in films like Black Orpheus, Troy, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?, and Alexander the Great. Participants will also explore some of the masterworks of Athenian drama with a focus on their social role in educating citizens and integrating veterans returning from war. As ancient Greece is also the birthplace of democracy, there is also a strong emphasis on the ideals of democracy, the conditions that foster it as well as those that threaten it.
Meet ten remarkable individuals in Greco-Roman antiquity: a democratic statesman (Pericles), two brilliant generals (Alcibiades and Julius Caesar), a world conqueror (Alexander), an empire builder (Augustus)—but also a philosopher of dissent (Socrates), two lovers who thirsted for power (Mark Antony and Cleopatra), a monstrous tyrant (Nero), and a woman who was a pioneer in math and science (Hypatia of Alexandria).
First learn their stories from Greek and Roman historians and biographers (Thucydides, Plutarch, Arrian, Tacitus and Suetonius) and philosophers (Plato, Xenophon, Seneca, Diogenes Laertius).
Meet them all again in modern retellings: Shakespearean tragedy, historical fiction, feature films, TV series, and comic books. Find out how these ancient lives acquire new meanings relevant to today’s moral, political, and social issues—but also to your own professional and personal lives.
Hear about the undergraduate Classics major from professors and undergrads in our video, Classics at USC Dornsife.
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"The Spectrum of Animal Rationality in Plutarch."
ABOUT THE GUEST
Phillip Sidney Horky is Lecturer of Classics at Durham University. His research focuses on ancient philosophy in its historical and literary contexts. He has written a book entitled Plato and Pythagoreanism (Oxford University Press, 2013) and is currently developing a source book entitled Pythagorean Philosophy: 250 BCE to 200 CE (for Cambridge University Press). He is an alumnus of the Classics Department at the University of Southern California (PhD 2007).