Welcome to USC Dornsife Classics

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.


CLAS 150g: The Greeks and Their Legacies

T/Th  12:30-1:50
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.

Watch Professor Tom Habinek issue the charge to the Trojan graduates, as he reads in Latin from Virgil’s epic: The Aeneid.

What's it like to study Classics at USC Dornsife?

Hear about the undergraduate Classics major from professors and undergrads in our video, Classics at USC Dornsife.

The Pre-Modern Mediterranean Seminar of USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute invites you to participate in its next seminar

Joseph G. Manning    Yale University

Climate change, social unrest and the economy in Hellenistic Egypt: Global implications?

Friday October 23, 2–4 pm

USC Campus, Leavey Library (LVL 17)

 Map with Public parking @ http://web-app.usc.edu/maps/

 Refreshments will be served

For further information about this event, contact Christelle Fischer-Bovet (fischerb@usc.edu).  

For general information about the seminar, go to


If you want to join the mailing list of the Early Modern Studies Institute, please email: emsi@usc.edu.

NEW Undergraduate Degree Requirements

The new major requirements ask each student to choose a TRACK of courses whose learning objectives provide distinctly different sets of skills and types of knowledge about ancient Greece and Rome.

GUEST LECTURE: Phillip Horky

"The Spectrum of Animal Rationality in Plutarch."

Monday, September 21, 2015, 5:00 PM, VKC 260


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). 


Did you know both Greek and Latin can fulfill your language requirement?

  • Department of Classics
  • University of Southern California
  • THH 256
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0352