Department Chair: Scott Bradbury
The Department of Classical Languages and Literatures instructs students in the languages and literatures of Ancient Greece and Rome at the highest level that students can sustain. The study of Greek and Latin provides students with superb intellectual training: the intricate structures of the languages require a level of linguistic analysis, evaluation and "decoding" that challenges students to the utmost. Constant attention to complex syntactical structures, varying styles of translation and the role of Greek and Latin in the formation of English deepen students' appreciation of the subtlety, beauty and expressive power of language.
In addition, we practice this deep study of language on texts—literary, historical and philosophical—that we admire for the directness and vigor with which they confront central issues of the human condition: love and death, freedom and tyranny, justice and injustice, piety and impiety. This sustained confrontation with classical texts not only heightens a student's sensitivity to literature but also involves her in a kind of cultural odyssey, for she must confront cultures that differ vastly from her own yet are preoccupied with many of the same universal human concerns. That experience of confronting both what is reassuringly familiar and what is disturbingly different builds a student's fund of common humanity.