Sturt Manning has zeroed in on a much narrower range of dates, approximately 1609–1560 BCE, for the eruption on Santorini, a pivotal event in the prehistory of the region.Read More
Department of Classics
Classics is the original interdisciplinary academic field at the heart both of European/western civilization and today’s Liberal Arts education. We teach and research the languages (Greek, Latin), literature, history, philosophy, science, art, and material culture that survive from the worlds of ancient Greece, Rome, and Late Antiquity. Through archaeology and art history we investigate and analyze the material record and environment of these civilizations and their neighbors – accessing a past beyond the texts of the elite and their mostly male voices to explore fully this world from top to bottom.
News from Classics
'We saw this conference as a way to expand the conversation beyond Cornell.'Read More
Oxford scholar Constanze Güthenke will bring to light untold stories of classical scholarship during the 2022 Townsend Lectures Sept. 7, 9, and 12.Read More
Megan McArdle, opinion columnist for the Washington Post, will discuss increasingly divided American life and politics in a Sept. 14 lecture.Read More
Klarman Fellows pursue research in any discipline in the College, including natural sciences, social sciences, humanities and the creative arts as well as cross-disciplinary fields. The application deadline is October 14.Read More
Professors in physics and classics contributed to the Warrior-Scholar Project (WSP) hosted at Cornell for military veterans July 23 to Aug. 6.Read More
Altogether 88 footprints were documented, including both adults and children, offering insight into family life in the time of the Pleistocene.Read More
With NATO formally inviting Finland and Sweden to join its alliance after Turkey dropped its objections, classics and history professor Barry Strauss comments that history is full of alliances that amounted to little.Read More
What is Classics?
Classics is about learning Latin and Greek
Neither language is spoken today, but hundreds of world-historical masterpieces were written in those two languages. Ancient Greek is the key that unlocks Homer, philosophy, tragedy, comedy, history, particle physics, and half the Bible. Latin is the key that unlocks epic poetry, stage drama, fables, rhetoric, law, and the reawakening of the West in the Renaissance. The two languages together allow you to observe, like a firsthand witness, the downhill slide of Rome’s thousand-year civilization from an American-style democracy to an authoritarian empire. Studying them, and the voices of the women and men who spoke them, reveals more than just the mindset of a people that built the Coliseum and the catacombs. Those voices also reveal the foundations of the modern world order—from secular humanism to religious orthodoxy. They’re also a lot of fun!
Classics beyond the classroom
Classics doesn’t just involve learning your Latin principal parts (important though they are!). Our students and faculty engage with the Greco-Roman world in multiple ways, whether speaking “living Latin” in Rome, taking part in archaeological digs or traveling seminars to Europe, curating exhibitions, or putting on performances of ancient plays. From experiments with ancient technology to the use of myth in contemporary art, we celebrate and explore the enduring relevance and reinvention of the Classical past within the 21st century.