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Ancient History

Ancient History at Cornell University can be studied either in the Field of History or in the Field of Classics. The two Fields cooperate in teaching and supervising graduate students and strongly encourage those in one Field to strengthen their preparation by relevant work in the other.

In the Field of Classics, the concentration in Ancient History aims at training scholars who will be ready both to engage in cutting-edge research in history and to teach about the Greek and Roman world, including the literature and the languages.

Core faculty in the concentration

Kim Haines-Eitzen: Early Christianity and Late Antiquity.

Eric Rebillard: Roman history, Early Christianity and Late Antiquity.

Barry Strauss: Ancient history and military history.

Qualification for entrance 

Applicants should have studied both Greek and Latin to an advanced undergraduate level. Also desirable is a basic knowledge of ancient history and/or classical archaeology. Students should mention their interest in ancient history when filling out their application and include a relevant writing sample.

Requirements

Students must satisfy the general degree requirements of the graduate program in Classics.

The First Year Examination is a written examination in Greek and Latin prose and poetry; it is designed to ensure basic linguistic competence in Greek and Latin.

The “Q” Examination is a written examination designed to examine knowledge of the reading list and to demonstrate a high level of proficiency in Greek and Latin.

The two major areas for purposes of the “A” Examination in this concentration are Greek History and Roman History. The third, or minor, area will be chosen in consultation with the Special Committee; the Field recommends a combined minor area in Greek and Latin literature.

4.    Minimum course work will be distributed as follows:

  • four seminars in ancient history
  • two seminars in ancient historiography
  • four seminars in classical literature and philology (of which one may be in ancient philosophy or linguistics)
  • three seminars in archaeology, epigraphy and numismatics, of which two must be in either archaeology or epigraphy
  • two seminars in areas of history other than Ancient Greece and Rome.

Ancient Philosophy

The study of ancient philosophy at Cornell University is administered jointly by the Fields of Classics and Philosophy, and members of the two Fields cooperate in teaching and supervising graduate students. The program aims at training productive scholars and effective teachers of ancient philosophy who will also be well-rounded classicists and philosophers. The concentration is designed differently for students in the two Fields, but it strongly encourages those in one Field to strengthen their preparation by relevant work in the other.

Core faculty in the concentration

Tad Brennan
: Plato, Aristotle, Hellenistic philosophers, Late Platonists, and Pre-Socratics.

Charles F. Brittain
: Hellenistic epistemology and ethics, Platonist psychology and ethics, Augustine.

Gail Fine: metaphysics and epistemology, especially Plato, Aristotle, and Sextus Empiricus.

Scott MacDonald: Ancient and Medieval Philosophy.

Qualification for entrance

Students apply for admission to and are accepted by the Field of Classics or the Field of Philosophy, depending on their major interests and previous qualifications. They should mention their interest in ancient philosophy when filling out the Graduate School application and include a philosophical writing sample that shows their ability to work with texts in the original language.
 Advanced undergraduate level knowledge of both Greek and Latin is required for admission to the Concentration as a student in Classics.

Requirements

Students must satisfy the general degree requirements of the graduate program in Classics.

  1. The First Year Examination is a written examination in Greek and Latin prose and poetry; it is designed to ensure basic linguistic competence in Greek and Latin.
  2. The “Q” Examination is a written examination designed to examine knowledge of the reading list and to demonstrate a high level of proficiency in Greek and Latin.
  3. For purposes of the “A” Examination, Ancient Philosophy will be the major area of study, and Greek Literature and Latin Literature the minor areas. The readings for the major and minor areas will be defined by the student and the Special Committee and will reflect the student’s interests and needs.
  4. Minimum course work will be distributed as follows:
  • nine 400- and 600-level Classics courses
  • one advanced Greek or Latin Prose Composition course
  • an additional four graduate-level courses chosen in consultation with the student’s Special Committee.

Students will be expected to have some knowledge of an area of philosophy other than Ancient Philosophy. Such knowledge may be demonstrated by the completion of at least one course in Philosophy approved by the student’s Special Committee.

Classical Archaeology

The Concentration in Classical Archaeology aims to provide the training and context to produce scholars ready to engage in cutting-edge archaeological research and teaching about the Greek and Roman worlds (including Cyprus and the wider Mediterranean area) in any period from prehistory through to Late Antiquity. Candidates are trained to be qualified for academic positions with an archaeological focus in Departments of Classics, History of Art, or Anthropology, as well as in interdisciplinary Archaeology Programs concerned with the ancient world and complex societies. The Cornell program offers a strong institutional setting, combining a long pedigree in outstanding Classical scholarship, cognate departments and courses in History of Art, Near Eastern Studies, and Anthropology, and world-leading science departments for those seeking to develop inter-disciplinary projects.

Core faculty in the concentration

Annetta Alexandridis: Greek myth and iconography; Roman portraiture and funerary culture; archaeology and its media, gender studies, animal studies.

Benjamin Anderson: Late antique and Byzantine art, architecture, and visual culture; archaeology and architectural history of late antique and medieval Anatolia.

Caitlín Barrett: Hellenistic Mediterranean; Greco-Roman Egypt; Egyptian archaeology and language; religion and ritual; long-distance trade; identity and ethnicity; coroplastic studies; wall painting; Delos; Campania.

Kathryn L. Gleason: gardens and designed landscapes of the Roman world; environmental archaeology, landscape archaeology; methods of ancient design, construction, water management; ancient cultivation.

Lori Khatchadourian: Anthropological archaeology, Near Eastern archaeology, the archaeology of empires, materiality, landscape.

Sturt W. Manning: Aegean, Cypriot, and east Mediterranean prehistory; archaeological science; dendrochronology; dendroclimatology; dendrochemistry; climate change science; radiocarbon dating.

Verity Platt: Art and religion; image and text; Roman wall-painting and funerary art; Greek culture in the Roman empire; historiography of ancient art.

Eric Rebillard: Late Antiquity; Roman funerary archaeology.

Astrid Van Oyen: Roman archaeology.

Qualification for entrance 

Applicants should have studied one ancient language (either Greek or Latin) for 1-2 years or a significant amount of ancient history or classical archaeology. Majors such as ancient history, classical civilization, or classical archaeology provide an appropriate undergraduate training. Students with no ancient language or insufficient training will be required to take an intensive beginning language course over the summer preceding their first registration. (Funding opportunities should be discussed with the DGS.) Students who already have one of the ancient languages will be encouraged to acquire competence in a second. Students who wish to work on a dissertation topic involving both Classical Greek and Roman material are normally required to display competence in both languages.

Requirements

Students must satisfy the general degree requirements of the graduate program in Classics.

  1. The First Year Examination will ensure basic competence in Greek and Roman Culture and History. This written examination is based on a reading list of both primary sources in translation and secondary sources on the history and culture of the Greco-Roman world.
  2. The “Q” Examination is designed  to demonstrate a good level of competence in Classical Art and Archaeology. This written examination is based on the Classical Art and Archaeology Reading List.
  3. The Classical Language Examination will be taken by the end of their sixth semester (i.e. by the end of May). It is a sight translation exam of passages in one language drawn from the reading list of Greek and Latin Authors and Texts.
  4. The “A” Examination will comprise one major area, which must be a Classical Archaeological subject, and two minor areas, one of which must be in either Greek or Latin philology and literature. The field suggests that the requirement of a minor in either Greek or Latin philology and literature can be fulfilled by taking a 7000-level literature seminar, with the final paper being accepted as the paper for the minor.
  5. A documented 8-week minimum of fieldwork must be completed before the “B” Examination.
  6. Minimum course work will be distributed as follows:
  • research seminar in Classical Archaeology.
  • four further 400-600 level seminars in classical archaeology and art.
  • four seminars in another area of archaeology or in an archaeology-related discipline. Up to two of these can include courses not at the 400-600 level in an area held necessary for a dissertation proposal (for example courses to learn about a geographic or materials science or scientific approach, or statistical techniques, etc.).
  • four 400-600 level seminars in classical literature and philology or in ancient history.

Classical Literature and Philology

This concentration, focusing on Greek and Latin languages and literature, is the most frequently chosen, and provides students with the opportunity to follow a traditional training in philology and textual criticism, to explore Classical literature in the light of modern literary critical methodology, or to do both.

Core faculty in the concentration

Frederick M. Ahl: Greek and Roman Epic and Drama.

Michael Fontaine: Latin Literature, Republican Drama, Augustan Poetry.

Kim Haines-Eitzen: Early Christian and Jewish Literature.

Athena Kirk: Greek Literature.

David P. Mankin: Latin Literature.

Alan Nussbaum: Homer; Old Latin.

Hayden Pelliccia: Greek Literature.

Verity Platt: Hellenistic and Second Sophistic Literature, Art and Text

Pietro Pucci: Greek Epic, Drama, Mythology, and Textual Criticism.

Hunter R. Rawlings III: Greek Historiography.

Eric Rebillard: Late Antique Latin Literature and Early Christian Texts.

Courtney Roby: Latin Literature, Scientific and Technical Literature.

Jeffrey Rusten: Greek Literature and Historiography, Greek Comedy.

Qualification for entrance

Applicants should have studied both Greek and Latin to an advanced undergraduate level (we usually expect at least three years of each language). Also desirable is the kind of general familiarity with Greek and Roman civilization that is provided by an undergraduate major in Classics or its equivalent. Students who have come to Classics late in their undergraduate careers should consider taking summer or post-baccalaureate courses to advance their knowledge of the languages before applying.

Requirements

Students must satisfy the general degree requirements of the graduate program in Classics.

  1. The First Year Examination is a written examination in Greek and Latin prose and poetry; it is designed to ensure basic linguistic competence in Greek and Latin.
  2. The “Q” Examination is a written examination designed to examine knowledge of the Classics reading list and to demonstrate a high level of proficiency in Greek and Latin.
  3. For purposes of the “A” Examination, the two major areas must be Greek Literature and Latin Literature. Study in these two areas is centered upon the Classics reading list (approximately 2400 OCT or Teubner pages of Greek and Latin combined) and an A-Exam reading list of roughly the same size worked out by the student and his or her special committee. The third, or minor, area may be chosen from among the following: Ancient History, Ancient Philosophy, Classical Archaeology, Classical Myth, Classical Rhetoric, Greek and/or Latin or Indo-European Linguistics, Medieval Studies.
  4. The minimum number of required courses is fourteen, with the following distribution:
  • twelve graduate (i.e., 400- and 600-level) Classics courses, in any combination
  • one advanced Latin or Greek Composition course
  • one historical or comparative grammar course.

Greek and Latin Languages and Linguistics

Graduate applicants to the Field of Classics whose primary interest is in the Greek and Latin languages per se may choose to pursue the Concentration in Greek and Latin Languages and Linguistics. The aim of this concentration is to acquire a broad background in general linguistics; Greek, Latin, and Indo-European linguistics; and Greek and Latin philology.

Core faculty in the concentration

Larry McCrea: Sanskrit Studies.

Alan J. Nussbaum: Indo-European Linguistics, Greek and Latin Language and Linguistics, Homer, Old Latin.

Michael Weiss: Indo-European Linguistics, Historical Phonology and Morphology of Greek, Latin, and the Sabellic Languages.

Qualification for entrance

Applicants should have studied both Greek and Latin to an advanced undergraduate level (an ordinary minimum is three years of each). Also desirable is the kind of familiarity with Greek and Roman civilization in general that is provided by an undergraduate major in Classics or its equivalent. Students who have come to Classics late in their undergraduate careers should consider taking summer or post-baccalaureate courses to advance their knowledge of the languages before applying. Students presenting themselves for admission to this concentration should mention it in their application to the Graduate School and include a relevant writing sample.

Requirements

Students must satisfy the general degree requirements of the graduate program in Classics.

  1. The First Year Examination is a written examination in Greek and Latin prose and poetry; it is designed to ensure basic linguistic competence in Greek and Latin.
  2. The “Q” Examination is a written examination designed to examine knowledge of the Classics reading list and to demonstrate a high level of proficiency in Greek and Latin.
  3. The Special Committee should include at least one member of the Field of Classics who is also a member of the Field of Linguistics and two additional members of the Field of Classics. The “A” Examination will have two parts: (a) a written examination in three areas, one of which must be Greek and Latin linguistics. The Field recommends that the other two be either Greek literature and Latin literature or Indo-European linguistics and Greek or Latin literature; (b) an oral examination that will follow up on the questions asked in the written portion.
  4. Minimum course work will be distributed as follows:
  • four 400- or 600- level non-linguistics Classics courses
  • one semester of advanced Greek composition and one of advanced Latin composition
  • four semesters of 400- or 600- level Greek and Latin languages and linguistics courses
  • two semesters of Sanskrit
  • one semester of introductory Indo-European linguistics (e.g. Linguistics 631)
  • two semesters chosen from: Linguistics 632 (Indo-European Seminar) and Linguistics 634-635 (Indo-European Workshop)
  • one semester of introductory phonological theory (e.g. Linguistics 301) and one of syntactic theory (e.g. Linguistics 303).