Classical Studies

Overview | Requirements | Courses | Faculty


Classical Studies offers Occidental students the opportunity to study the languages, literature, art, philosophy, history, and cultures of Greece and Rome in a multicultural context. Taken together, the courses address the impact of ancient cultures on later civilizations and draw parallels with non-Western cultures.


Occidental offers a minor in classical studies consisting of five courses taken in at least three different departments, at least one of which must be an original language course in Greek or Latin (Greek 101, 102, 201, Latin 101, 102, or 201). Courses with classical emphasis suitable to the minor are listed below.

To share the resources of faculty and students interested in classical studies, the committee sponsors interdisciplinary colloquia. Students who are interested in creating an Independent Pattern of Study in a topic related to the ancient world should consult with the chair of the committee for advice in constructing a program tailored to their needs.


Ancient & Medieval World

Among the courses offered at Occidental of interest to the student of the ancient and medieval world are the following, below this listing are Clasical Studies courses:

Art History and the Visual Arts

H170. Introduction to Early European Art
H270. Greek Art
H274. Roman Art
H275. Early Christian and Medieval Art
H391. Seminar in Early Western Art

English and Comparative Literary Studies

186. European Literary Traditions
205. The Wake of the Ancient
286. European Literary Traditions
300. Survey of Ancient Greek Literature
303. Genres in Classical Literature
305. Athenian Experience
397. Independent Study: Greek Reading
397. Independent Study: Latin Reading


101. Elementary Greek
102. Elementary Greek
201. Topics in Classical Philology (Greek)
397. Independent Study


121. Europe to 1700
220. Ancient Athens and Renaissance Florence
223. Rise of French Culture
224. Italian Renaissance
226. Age of Encounters
274. Medicine and Disease in Western Society


101. Elementary Latin
102. Elementary and Intermediate Latin
201. Topics in Classical Philology (Latin)
397. Independent Study


205. Introduction to Ancient Thought
300. Topics in Classical Philosophy


251. European Political Thought: From Plato to Machiavelli

Religious Studies

175. The World of the New Testament
190. History of Early Christianity
290. Banned Books: the New Testament Apochrypha
370. Death, Dying, and Afterlife in the Ancient Mediterranean

222 - Myth: the Greco-Roman gods

This course is a survey of Greco-Roman myth with a particular focus on the representation, function, and meaning of the gods. Students will study these myths in their original socio-historic contexts but a large portion of the course will be devoted to a historic survey of modern theories of myth. This approach will allow students to appreciate myth’s relation to the various ritual, philosophic, and artistic contexts in which they appear, both in the ancient world and beyond.

292 - Love's Song--A History

In this course we will trace the European history of what we today call "love," from Ancient Greece to the Renaissance, and shall do so through a careful examination of the literature that sought to give expression to this ever-changeable and ever-provoking concept: the lyrics of Sappho, the dialogues of Plato, the satirically erotic "technical manuals" of Ovid, the Gospels of Christianity, the troubled Confessions of Augustine, the courtly tales of knights in the Middle Ages, and the great all-encompassing journey of Dante's through heaven and hell in the Divine Comedy. Significant attention will be paid to the way each of these works continues to contribute to our own modern notions of love, in all their ecstatic, heartbreaking, inspiring and frustrating complexity.


Advisory Committee

Roger Boesche

The Arthur G. Coons Distinguished Professor of the History of Ideas, Politics

B.A., Ph.D., Stanford University

Eric Frank

Professor, Art History and the Visual Arts

B.A., Dartmouth College; M.A., Syracuse University; Ph.D., New York University

Debra Freas

Adjunct Assistant Professor, German, Russian, and Classical Studies

B.A., University of Texas; Ph.D., UC Irvine

Marcia Homiak

Professor, Philosophy

A.B., Mount Holyoke College; Ph.D., Harvard University

Maryanne Horowitz

Professor, History

A.B., Pembroke College, Brown University; M.A.T., Harvard University; M.A., Ph.D., University of Wisconsin

Damian Stocking

Associate Professor, German, Russian, and Classical Studies Department

B.A., UC Berkeley; M.A., Ph.D., UCLA

Kristi Upson-Saia

Associate Professor, Religious Studies

B.A., University of Washington; M.Div., Princeton Theol. Sem.; Ph.D., Duke University