What is "Classics"?When we refer to the discipline of "Classics" we commonly mean the study of the civilizations of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Dealing with the world of the ancient Mediterranean basin--and beyond--this study is necessarily interdisciplinary. It embraces history, archaeology, art history; investigation of the Latin and Greek languages, of the development of literary genres and themes and traditions; study of the evolution of philosophy, religion, science, and the history of ideas.
The word "Classics" of course does more than simply denote a traditional academic discipline. "Classics" is often an evaluative term: To call something "classic" or a "classic" is to attribute to that thing a lasting or even timeless value or excellence. Through the course of most of European or "Western" history, just such a value has been seen in the achievements of the Greeks and Romans.
While the members of the UNL Department of Classics and Religious Studies recognize and appreciate the value that tradition has assigned to Greco-Roman culture, we are committed to a critical evaluation of that culture and of the tradition that has fostered and handed on its position as "classic." Through this critical approach we hope to reach a better understanding of the simultaneously reassuringly familiar and shockingly alien world of the ancient Romans and Greeks. But more importantly, we may learn much about our own society by examining the ways various of its parts seek justification and validation through the "eternal" standard of the classic.
The Major in Classical Languages
This major is intended primarily for those interested in graduate study of the Greco-Roman world. As competency in both Greek and Latin is requisite for graduate study, students must take courses in both languages to complete the major. This major is also appropriate for students who wish to undertake the advanced study in related fields such as linguistics, or to teach high school Latin.