Classics, Greek, and Latin Courses

Classical Studies News

DramaCentre presents Hecuba, Nov. 9-12For its fall production, DramaCentre presents Hecuba, a play written by Euripides and translated by former Centre professor Diane Arnson...
Professional Recognition Reception honors faculty achievementLifelong learning is a central focus for Centre College’s students and faculty. Professors at the College are innovative, taking risks and...
Matthew Hughes ’16 studies pilgrimage and tourism as John C. Young ScholarSome people might not find the prospect of reading itineraria, ancient Roman travelogues written in Latin, to be very appealing....

Classics, Greek, and Latin Courses

Classical Studies Courses

Courses with the CLA prefix are taught in English, have no prerequisites, and are open to all classes (first-year through senior).
CLA 220 Introduction to Classical Mythology
A course in English. We will study selectively and in depth the major myths of the Greeks and Romans. Our material for examination will consist of literary sources, art work, and film. In addition we will consider the value of other fields to the understanding of myth, such as anthropology, archaeology, religion, linguistics, and psychology. No prerequisites. Normally offered every other year.
CLA 301 History of Ancient Greece
A course in English. A survey of ancient Greece from prehistory through the Roman Conquest. Topics include: Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations, the rise of the polis, Greece colonization, the invention of science and philosophy, Athenian democracy, the invasion of Xerxes, the Golden Age of Athens, the Peloponnesian War, the campaigns of Alexander the Great, the Alexandrian Library, and Cleopatra. This survey relies on primary sources, while also venturing to consider politics, warfare, citizenship, slavery, the status of women, religion, and the alphabet. No prerequisites. Normally offered every other year. (cross-listed as HIS 301)
CLA 302 History of Ancient Rome
A course in English. A study of ancient Rome from its founding to the fall of the empire. Topics include: founding of the city, establishment of the Republic, the Punic Wars, Roman imperialism, provincial administration, the careers of Cicero and Julius Caesar, the civil wars, citizenship, slavery, status of women, the destruction of Pompeii, rule by the emperors, the coming of Christianity, and theories explaining the end of the empire. No prerequisites. Normally offered every other year. (cross-listed as HIS 302)
CLA 323 Ancient and Modern Comedy and Satire
An introductory course in which we will study (and perform) works from the ancient world (Aristophanes, Plautus, Terence, Horace, Juvenal, e.g.) and from more recent times, (Shakespeare, Moliere, Monty Python, the Onion, and John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight”). This course usually includes a trip to Comedy Off Broadway in Lexington to see live stand-up comedy. No prerequisites. (cross-listed with ENG 235)
CLA 326 Classical Myth and Modern Film
This course compares film adaptations of Greco-Roman myths to ancient literary depictions of the same myths. We consider why the myths of classical antiquity have had such a lasting presence in Western cultures, and we examine how understanding the role of myth in the literature, art, and cultures of ancient Greece and Rome can inform our understanding of film as modern myth-making. In addition to analyzing modern adaptations of ancient myths, like Black Orpheus, O Brother Where Art Thou, and Von Trier’s Medea, we analyze the myths told in ancient epic and in science fiction and western films, and the myths of Greek tragedy and movies focused on a tragic figure. No prerequisites.
CLA 342 Ancient Greek Society and Culture
A course in English. An exploration of the distinctive and influential features of ancient Greek culture. Focus is on three areas: a detailed exploration of Homer’s Iliad with a consideration of oral poetry, archaeology, religion, heroism and the heroic code, Achilles in Vietnam, etc.; Athenian democracy with an exploration of its development — and how it contrasts with modern democracy and the Spartan constitution, the status of women, tragedy, comedy, and panhellenism; and philosophy and science with a look at its origins and culmination with Hippocratic medicine and the Aristotelian world-view. No prerequisites. Normally offered every third year. (cross-listed as HIS 314)
CLA 343 Recreating Ancient Athens
Students will study, perform, and re-enact central features of everyday life in Classical Athens, including athletic competition, comic and tragic theatre, dinner parties, philosophical debates, and funeral ceremonies. Primary sources will include Plato’s Symposium, Aristophanes’ Frogs, and excerpts from Thucydides, Aristotle, and Lucretius. We will travel to Nashville to visit art collections and the Parthenon. No prerequisites. (cross-listed as HIS 383)
CLA 346 The Life and Death of Pompeii
The eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 C.E. preserved the Italian town of Pompeii for all time. Filled with temples, public baths, theaters, an amphitheater, taverns and brothels, lavish residences and modest dwellings, Pompeii provides unparalleled evidence for daily life in the Roman empire. Drawing upon the archaeological evidence, this course investigates the structure and rituals of the Roman home; social and political institutions; urban planning, with comparisons to Herculaneum and Ostia; and the expression of non-elite identities. We also consider Pompeii’s afterlife since its rediscovery in the eighteenth century and its current presence in popular culture through novels and film. No prerequisites. Normally offered every 3rd year.
CLA 347 Indo-European Linguistics and Poetic Traditions
Question: What do Russian, Hindi, Gaelic, Icelandic, Latin, Greek, and English have in common? Answer: All these languages and their “descendants” and “relatives” (spoken by 3 billion people today) trace their linguistic ancestry back over 5,000 years to a common source: Proto-Indo-European (PIE).  This course provides a comparative and historical approach to the development of these Indo-European languages and the cultures associated with them.  We begin with the comparative method of linguistic reconstruction that leads us to the phonology, morphology, and syntax of reconstructed PIE; we will also discuss PIE society, religion, and poetic traditions, and the controversy of locating the PIE homeland.  We then explore the development from ancient to modern times of the various branches of this language family. No prerequisites. (cross-listed as LIN 211)

Greek Courses

Courses with the GRK prefix are courses in the Ancient Greek Language and are open to all classes (first-year through senior).
GRK 111 Introduction to Ancient Greek
A course in Ancient Greek. A course designed to develop the ability to read elementary Greek and to prepare students to read Homer, Plato, and the New Testament in the original. Includes an introduction to Greek epic poetry. No prerequisites.
GRK 121 New Testament Greek
A course in Ancient Greek. After a review of grammar, this course studies passages from the Greek New Testament (the Gospels, Acts, Revelation), leading to possible further course work in Greek epic, tragedy, or philosophy. Prerequisite: one semester of college Greek (GRK 111). (cross-listed as REL 165)

Latin Courses

Courses with the LAT prefix are courses in Latin and are open to all classes (first-year through senior).
LAT 110 Latin Fundamentals
The first course in a two-course sequence that introduces the grammar, morphology, and syntax of classical Latin. Throughout LAT 110 and LAT 120, attention is paid to Roman mythology, history, and culture. No Prerequisites. Offered every fall.
LAT 120 Introduction to Latin Literature
The second course in a two-course sequence that introduces the grammar, morphology, and syntax of classical Latin with excerpts from Ovid, Caesar, and/or Catullus. Prerequisite: LAT 120. Offered every spring.
LAT 211/311 Medieval Latin
A course in Latin including selections from the rich period of Latin Literature from the years ca. 350-1500 CE. Long after the Roman Empire fell, the Latin language thrived as the dominant intellectual, literary, and religious language in Western Europe for over a millennium. Selections cover a wide range of genres including essays, history, hymn and song, biography and autobiography. Examples include Jerome’s Latin “Vulgate” translation of the Bible, Augustine’s Confessions, Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, secular and religious hymns including Dies Irae and other parts of the Requiem Mass and Carmina Burana, Hrotsvitha’s plays, and Bonaventure’s Life of St. Francis of Assisi. Prerequisite: one year of college Latin for LAT 211; two years of college Latin for 311.
LAT 213/313 Romans in Love
A course in Latin. A consideration of three distinct views of love (amor) by reading Luctretius (love as disease), Propertius (love as slavery), and Ovid (the art of love). Topics examined include: the relationship between the lover and the beloved; the roles of Venus and Cupid; the literary genres of epic and love elegy; and the influence of Greek literature and philosophy upon Roman poetry. Prerequisite: one year of college Latin for LAT 213; two years of college Latin for 313.
LAT 214/314: Vergil
What happens to your national identity in the wake of civil war and a cultural revolution? In this course, we consider how Virgil’s poetry explores what it means to be Roman during Augustus’ rise to power in the aftermath of civil war. We read selections from Virgil’s poetry (Aeneid, Georgics, Eclogues) in the original Latin and review Latin syntax and grammar to improve our ability to read Latin. We also familiarize ourselves with Virgil’s poetic style through discussing how the poetry’s language, meter, and literary devices create meaning. Prerequisite for LTN 214: LAT 120 or placement into intermediate Latin. Prerequisite for LTN 314: two semesters of 200-level LAT or placement into advanced Latin. Normally offered every other year.
LAT 221/321: The Age of Nero
How does the political and cultural climate under the infamous Emperor Nero (54-68 CE) shape the contemporary literature? In this course, we will explore this question by reading selections from Neronian literature in the original Latin, such as works by Seneca, Petronius, or Lucan, among others. We will pay close attention to each author’s literary style and how it relates to themes and issues in the text while improving our ability to read Latin prose with minimal external aids. Prerequisite for LTN 214: LAT 120 or placement into intermediate Latin. Prerequisite for LTN 314: two semesters of 200-level LAT or placement into advanced Latin.
LAT 223/317 Catullus and Horace
In this course we will read the poetry of Catullus (85-54 (?) B.C.E.) and the Odes of Horace (65-8 B.C.E.) to become familiar with various types of lyric poetry such as erotic verse, invitation poems, poems of abuse, hymns, etc. Our ultimate goal is to better appreciate these poets’ engagement with earlier Greek and Latin literature (especially Greek lyric poetry), and more generally the connections among literature, “autobiography,” and society. For Catullus, we will consider his relationships (as revealed in verse) with “Lesbia,” friends such as Caelius, and politicians such as Cicero and Julius Caesar. For Horace, it is of interest that Nietzsche claimed that he never had an artistic delight comparable to his experience of reading a Horatian ode. Through close readings of selected odes we will seek to experience such delight for ourselves and to learn why, as Nietzsche put it, “what is here achieved is in certain languages not even to be hoped for.” Prerequisite: one year of college Latin for LAT 223; two years of college Latin for 317.