What is Classics?
Classics is the term given to the study of the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome in all their aspects: language, literature, history, philosophy, art, and archaeology. Traditionally, the study of Classics focused on Greek and Latin language and literature. In recent decades, however, there has been a great flourishing of courses on Greek and Roman civilization in which the literature is studied in translation, and in which consideration is also given to the non-literary achievements of the ancient world, such as its art, architecture, and society. At Maynooth, Ancient Classics may be studied either through the ancient languages of Latin and Ancient Greek or through our hugely popular course on Greek and Roman Civilization. These three subjects are also available at postgraduate level.
What does a degree in Greek and Roman Civilization at Maynooth include?
This degree is composed mainly of modules on the literature and history of Greek and Roman societies. Among the authors studied are such “classics” as Homer, Virgil, Lucan, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Plautus, Sappho, Catullus, Ovid, Herodotus, Thucydides, Tacitus, Plato, Aristotle, Lucretius, Cicero and Petronius. In reading these authors through English translation, we gain some familiarity with the major genres which the ancients gave to the modern world—epic, drama, lyric poetry, as well as historical and philosophical prose. In addition, the periods of time covered are some of the most important and influential in western history: Periclean Athens with its flourishing democracy and empire; Alexander the Great, with his astonishing conquests and long-term influence; late Republican Rome and the subsequent Augustan age; and the “fall” of the Roman empire, as medieval Europe began to take shape. The degree also includes modules on Greek myth, philosophy, ancient anthropology, and women in antiquity. In all, the degree offers a wide-ranging and balanced education in many aspects of Greek and Roman civilization.
Why study Classics at Maynooth?
Students tend to do better in courses that they enjoy, and over the years many students have found studying Classics to be an interesting and memorable experience. Though relatively small, the department has an excellent reputation both in Ireland and abroad, and while each member of staff is active in research, the size of the department allows for more personal attention to students’ needs than is sometimes possible in much larger departments. In addition, Classics at Maynooth can be studied alongside many other subjects and makes for an excellent combination with Anthropology, English, History, Philosophy and Politics (among others). Such “synergies” can contribute to the learning process and make the overall degree more valuable to employers.
What can I do with a Classics degree?
In our fast-changing world, few degrees are directly applicable to one’s profession, and so increasingly employers look for graduates who are flexible, creative, open-minded, critically aware and articulate. Many of these qualities are fostered by studying Classics. The ability to deal with a variety of material, to read analytically, to think “outside the box”, to conduct independent research, to write and communicate effectively—these are skills that will not go out of circulation and are useful and prized in many fields, whether it be education, journalism, law, politics, publishing, or business. In addition to these transferable skills, Classics forms the indispensable background for understanding our living European heritage and as such can make us, as citizens, more reflective and independent-minded.
Full details of all Undergraduate and Postgradute Programme modules are available on the University Database. Click here.
For details of the academic staff in the Department of Ancient Classics, please see the Staff listing.
All teaching staff are available to see students during weekly consultation hours, details of which are posted on staff homepages, and on the door of each staff member's office. If you are unable to come to see the staff member at any of these times, arrange another appointment. The best way to do this is to speak to the member of staff concerned at the beginning or end of a lecture, or to contact the Senior Executive Assistant at the Departmental Office.
Senior Executive Assistant
Ms Breege Lynch
Office No. 9
Tel: (01) 708 3316
Fax: (01) 708 6485
There are notice boards in the Arts Building located between offices 6 and 9 where the Department posts important information. You should get into the habit of consulting these notice boards regularly.