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Course Descriptions

Department of Classics

401 Cabell Hall
University of Virginia
P.O. Box 400788
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4788
(434) 924-3008 Fax: (434) 924-3062

Overview In 1800, Thomas Jefferson wrote to the renowned scientist Joseph Priestly, "To read the Latin and Greek authors in their original is a sublime luxury. . . . I thank on my knees him who directed my early education for having in my possession this rich source of delight." Accordingly, in his plan for the University of Virginia, Jefferson established the School of Ancient Languages as one of its ten divisions. The Department of Classics carries on the same mission today.

Mr. Jefferson, who valued the useful no less than the sublime, knew that the classics provide both. Greek and Latin languages, literature, and culture formed the core of education until the middle of the nineteenth century, and for good reason. First, the Greek and Latin languages are themselves a training in clear thought and forceful style. Second, many of the most important ideas, principles, methods of investigation and analysis, and modes of government in use today occurred first to the Greeks and the Romans, and found their most memorable expression in that culture; and to understand where our civilization is today, it is necessary to know where it has been. Third, Greco-Roman antiquity can be approached both as like ourselves, the recognizable ancestor of modern civilization, and as a civilization quite markedly "other" than ourselves, instructive because of its difference. Fourth, ever since the Renaissance, when the word "interdisciplinary" had not even been thought of, a classical education has been an education that stretches the mind by combining literature, history, philosophy, art, architecture, government, and religion. For these reasons and many others, students today major in classics or take Latin or Greek or civilization courses to complement their other studies. Our majors find it a useful preparation for fields as diverse as business, law, medicine, or a career in the arts, in addition to the more obvious careers in teaching at the high school or college level.

Faculty The interests of the faculty include the varied aspects of Greek and Roman literature, Greek religion, and Greek and Roman history. The faculty has published texts and commentaries on major classical authors, interpretive works on Ovid, Homer, and other ancient writers, and studies of Greek religion and mythology. The Department has a wide-ranging and intellectually diverse group of professors, whose expertise extends from archaic Greece to the Latin Middle Ages. Their particular interests include Greek and Roman religion, Homer and Hesiod, Greek lyric and Hellenistic poetry, tragedy, Latin poetry of the Republic and Empire, Late Latin and medieval literature, textual criticism, Greek epigraphy and papyrology, and the Greek and Roman historians. Since classics is an interdisciplinary program, the classics faculty is joined by faculty from other departments, such as archaeology, ancient history and political theory, ancient religions, and philosophy. A total of sixteen faculty members work with students to provide a thorough and wide-ranging view of ancient culture and its effects on our lives.

Students Approximately thirty students are majoring in the classics program. Many of them combine a major in classics with another major, an option which makes them exceptionally strong candidates for selective graduate schools and educational posts. With the exception of intermediate Latin, most language courses are taught by a faculty member. Also, since the department offers both master’s and doctoral programs, undergraduates with advanced skills can take upper-level coursework at the graduate level. The interaction among undergraduates, graduates, and faculty provides an atmosphere exceptionally conducive to the learning process.

Special Resources

Senior Classical League The Senior Classical League is an organization of students who are interested in the ancient world; the league sponsors scholarly and social activities.

Classics Club The Classics Club is a University organization of students interested in classical antiquity. The Club sponsors social and academic events for the classical community.

Anne Marye Owen Prize The best student each year in GREE 101-102 and the best first-year student enrolled in the fall 300-level Latin course receive the Anne Marye Owen Prize, which carries a substantial cash award.

J. P. Elder Award The J.P. Elder Award is given each year to an outstanding graduating major in Classics.

Marian Stocker Award The Marian Stocker Award is presented at the graduation ceremony to a deserving Classics major about to embark on a career in high school teaching of Latin.

Study Abroad The University of Virginia is an institutional member of the Center for Intercollegiate Studies (the Centro) in Rome, and students regularly avail themselves of this connection to spend a semester or a year abroad. For Athens there is a College Year in Athens program. There are several other programs that arrange for the study of classics in the United Kingdom or on the continent.

Requirements for a Degree in Classics with a Concentration in Greek Requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts with Greek as the subject of specialization: 18 credits above the 101-102 level in Greek; six credits Latin; additional courses, including HIEU 203 and CLAS 201 or 202, totaling at least twelve credits in related subjects approved by the faculty advisor. All courses for the major must receive a minimum grade of C-.

Requirements for Minor in Greek 12 credits above 101-102 level in Greek and CLAS 201.

Requirements for Degree in Classics with a Concentration in Latin Requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts with Latin as the subject of specialization: eighteen credits of Latin language courses above the level of LATI 103; GREE 101-102 or its equivalent; and additional courses, including CLAS 201or 202, HIEU 204, totaling at least twelve credits in related subjects approved by the faculty advisor. All courses for the major must receive a minimum grade of C-.

Requirements for Minor in Latin Twelve credits above the level of LATI 103 and CLAS 202.

Placement All first-year students who present secondary-school credits in Latin and who wish to take one of the first- or second-year courses in Latin are placed on the basis of scores from the College Entrance Examination Board Achievement Test. Those who enter without having taken this test are required to take it during orientation week.

Distinguished Major Program Majors with an overall GPA of 3.400 or higher may apply for the Distinguished Majors Program (DMP) to the director of undergraduate studies. Requirements include 3 credits either at the graduate level or at the 400 level; 3 credits of graduate (500-level) courses; and 6 research credits, the first half of which the student spends exploring a research topic under the guidance of a faculty member in the spring semester of the third year; the remaining three credits are spent in the fall of the fourth year completing the research and writing a thesis.

High School Teaching in Latin Anyone interested in teaching Latin at the secondary level may wish to pursue the combined Bachelor of Arts and Master of Teaching, offered jointly with the Curry School of Education. This five-year program involves both a complete major in Classics and a course of study leading to professional teaching licensure.

Foreign Language Requirement The foreign language requirement may be completed in Latin by passing LATI 202, and in Greek by passing GREE 202 or GREE 224, except that persons offering CEEB Achievement Test scores of 650 or above in either language are exempt entirely from further study to complete their language requirement. A grade of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement Vergil exam earns credit for LATI 202 and exemption from the language requirement. A grade of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement Latin Literature exam earns credit for a 300-level course and exemption from the language requirement.

Note: Courses in Latin and Greek cannot be taken Pass/Fail.

Additional Information For more information, contact John Dillery, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Classics, 401 Cabell Hall, P.O. Box 400788, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4788; (434) 924-3008; www.virginia.edu/classics.

Course Descriptions



The following courses have no prerequisite, require no knowledge of Greek or Latin, and may not be taken to fulfill language requirements.

CLAS 201 - (3) (Y)
Greek Civilization
Studies Greek history, literature, and art.

CLAS 202 - (3) (Y)
Roman Civilization
Studies Roman history, literature, and art.

CLAS 204 - (3) (Y)
Greek Mythology
Introduces major themes of Greek mythological thought; surveys myths about the olympic pantheon and the legends of the heroes.

CLAS 304 - (3) (E)
Women and Gender in Ancient Greece and Rome
This course focuses on women’s roles and lives in Ancient Greece and Rome. Students are introduced to the primary material (textual and material) on women in antiquity and to current debates about it. Subjects addressed will include sexual stereotypes and ideals, power-relations of gender, familial roles, social and economic status, social and political history, visual art, medical theory, and religion.

CLAS 310 - (3) (E)
Age of Odysseus
Studies the literature, culture, history, art, and religion of the times of the Homeric epics (Bronze Age to circa 700 B.C.). Readings include Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, The Homeric Hymns, and Hesiod’s Theogony and Works and Days. Some emphasis on the archaeology of Mycenaean sites.

CLAS 311 - (3) (E)
Age of Pericles
Studies the literature, art, architecture, history, and politics of the Periclean Age of Athens, with special emphasis on Pericles (circa 495-429 B.C.) and his accomplishments. Readings from Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Thucydides, and Plutarch.

CLAS 312 - (3) (E)
Age of Alexander
Studies the times, person, accomplishments of Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.), the literature, art, and architecture of the period, and the influence of Alexander on the development of Greek and Western culture. Readings from Plutarch, Arrian, Demosthenes, and poets and philosophers of the early Hellenistic period.

CLAS 313 - (3) (E)
Age of Augustus
Studies the times, person, and accomplishments of the Roman Emperor Augustus (63 B.C.-14 A.D.), with special emphasis on the literature, art, architecture, and political developments of the period. Readings from Tacitus, Suetonius, and the poetry of Vergil, Horace, and Ovid.

CLAS 314 - (3) (E)
Age of Augustine
Studies cultural developments in the fourth and fifth centuries, centering on St. Augustine and the literature of the period. Readings from such works as Augustine’s Confessions and City of God, Jerome’s letters, Cassian’s Conversations, Sulpicius Severus’ biography of St. Martin, and the poetry of Claudian and Prudentius.

CLAS 321 - (3) (Y)
Tragedy and Comedy
Analyzes readings in the tragic poets Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Seneca; and the comic poets Aristophanes, Menander, Plautus, and Terence, together with ancient and modern discussions.

CLAS 325, 525 - (3) (IR)
Ancient Greek Religion
Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
An introduction to the religious beliefs, practices, and life of ancient Greeks of the classical period as they are found in literature, history, architecture, and art.


GREE 101, 102 - (8) (Y)
Elementary Greek
Attic Greek: beginning grammar, composition, and selected readings.

GREE 201 - (3) (Y)
Intermediate Greek I
Prerequisite: GREE 101-102.
Xenophon and Plato.

GREE 202 - (3) (Y)
Intermediate Greek II
Prerequisite: GREE 201.
Herodotus and Euripides.

GREE 223 - (3) (Y)
The New Testament I
Prerequisite: GREE 101, 102.
Introduces New Testament Greek; selections from the Gospels.

GREE 224 - (3) (Y)
The New Testament II
Prerequisite: GREE 201 or GREE 223.
Selections from the Epistles.

GREE 301 - (3) (O)
Advanced Reading in Greek
Prerequisite: GREE 202.
Reading of a tragedy and a related prose work. Weekly exercises in writing Greek.

GREE 302 - (3) (O)
Advanced Reading in Greek
Prerequisite: GREE 301 or 303.
Readings in Greek from Homer’s Iliad.

GREE 303 - (3) (E)
Advanced Reading in Greek
Prerequisite: GREE 202.
Reading of a comedy and a related prose work. Weekly exercises in writing Greek.

GREE 304 - (3) (E)
Advanced Reading in Greek
Prerequisite: GREE 301 or 303.
Readings in Greek from Homer’s Odyssey. Offered in alternate years.

GREE 503 - (3) (SI)
Classical Greek Prose
Selections illustrating the development of prose style in the fifth and fourth centuries, B.C.

GREE 504 - (3) (SI)
Later Greek Prose
Selections from Greek authors, illustrating the development of prose style from the third century, B.C., to the second century, A.D.

GREE 508 - (3) (SI)
Greek Epigraphy
Studies the inscriptions of the ancient Greeks.

GREE 509 - (3) (Y)
Prose Composition
Translation from English into Greek.

GREE 510 - (3) (SI)
Studies various Homeric problems with readings from Homeric epics.

GREE 511 - (3) (SI)
Studies the Works and Days and Theogony, and their place in the literary tradition.

GREE 512 - (3) (SI)
Greek Lyric Poetry
Surveys Greek lyric forms from earliest times.

GREE 513 - (3) (SI)
Selections from the Odes; studies the development of the choral lyric in Greek Poetry.

GREE 514 - (3) (SI)
Aeschylus’ Oresteia
Reading and discussion of Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, Choephoroi, and Eumenides.

GREE 515 - (3) (SI)
Selected plays of Sophocles with studies of their dramatic techniques.

GREE 516 - (3) (SI)
Readings in the Histories.

GREE 517 - (3) (SI)
Reading of selected plays, with study of the poetic and dramatic technique.

GREE 518 - (3) (SI)
Studies selections from the History of the Peloponnesian War, with attention to the development of Greek historical prose style and the historical monograph.

GREE 519 - (3) (SI)
Readings from selected plays of Aristophanes, with close examination of the history and development of Greek Old Comedy.

GREE 520 - (3) (SI)
New Comedy
Readings from the Dyscolus and other substantial fragments; discussion of New Comedy, its origins, and its legacy.

GREE 521 - (3) (SI)
Readings from selected dialogues of Plato; studies Plato’s philosophy and literary style.

GREE 522 - (3) (SI)
Reading and discussion of the Nicomachean Ethics.

GREE 523 - (3) (SI)
Hellenistic Poetry
Readings in the poets of the Hellenistic period.


LATI 101, 102 - (4) (Y)
Elementary Latin
Beginning grammar, prose composition, and simple Latin readings.

LATI 103 - (4) (Y)
Fundamentals of Latin (Intensive)
Prerequisite: Two or more years of high school Latin and appropriate CEEB score, or permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
Covers the material of 101,102 in one semester. Intended principally as a review for those who know some Latin. May be taken as a rapid introduction to Latin.

LATI 201 - (3) (Y)
Intermediate Latin I
Prerequisite: LATI 102, 103, or appropriate CEEB score.
Introductory readings from Caesar and Ovid.

LATI 202 - (3) (Y)
Intermediate Latin II
Prerequisite: LATI 201.
Introductory readings from Cicero and Catullus.

LATI 301 - (3) (IR)
Reading of two plays of Plautus with attention to style and dramaturgy.

LATI 302 - (3) (IR)
Selections from Carmina.

Note: The prerequisite for LATI 303 through LATI 311 is LATI 202, four years of high school Latin, or appropriate SAT score.

LATI 303 - (3) (IR)
Selections from Cicero’s speeches, philosophical works, and letters.

LATI 304 - (3) (IR)
Prose Composition
Graded exercises in translation from English into Latin, with some attention to the reverse process.

LATI 305 - (3) (IR)
The Satirical Writing of Petronius and Seneca
Petronius’ Cena Trimalchionis, and Seneca’s Apocolocyntosis.

LATI 307 - (3) (IR)
Selections from Livy’s History.

LATI 308 - (3) (IR)
Selections from Horace’s Satires, Epodes, Odes, and Epistles.

LATI 309 - (3) (IR)
Introduction to Mediaeval Latin
Selections of Mediaeval Latin prose and verse.

LATI 310 - (3) (IR)
Selections from Vergil’s Aeneid.

LATI 311 - (3) (IR)
Selections from either the narrative poems (Metamorphoses, Fasti) or from the amatory poems.

LATI 501 - (3) (SI)
History of Republican Latin Literature
Lectures with readings of important works of the period.

LATI 502 - (3) (SI)
History of Latin Literature of the Empire
Lectures with readings of important works of the period.

LATI 503 - (3) (SI)
History of Medieval Latin Literature
Study of medieval Latin literature from Boethius to Dante.

LATI 504 - (3) (SI)
Prose Composition

LATI 505 - (3) (SI)
Latin Paleography
Studies scripts and book production from antiquity to the Renaissance.

LATI 506 - (3) (SI)
Roman Comedy
Selected plays of Plautus and Terence.

LATI 507 - (3) (SI)
Latin Elegy
Studies selections from Tibullus, Propertius, and Ovid.

LATI 508 - (3) (SI)
Roman Satire
Studies the satiric fragments from the Roman Republic and Horace’s Sermones; the origins of Roman Satire.

LATI 509 - (3) (SI)
Roman Literary Criticism
Studies Roman literary theory, with readings from the Rhetorica ad Herrenium, Cicero’s works on the principles of oratory, Horace’s Ars Poetica, and Quintilian.

LATI 510 - (3) (SI)
Studies selections from Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura; the development of Roman Eipcureanism.

LATI 511 - (3) (SI)
Studies the surviving poems of Catullus, with particular attention to questions of genre, structure, and literary history.

LATI 512 - (3) (SI)
Julius Caesar
Studies either the Bellum Gallicum or the Bellum Civile, both as literary monuments and as first-hand accounts of major events in the last years of the Roman Republic.

LATI 513 - (3) (SI)
Cicero’s Philosophical Works
Focuses on either the ethical and epistomological or the theological or political treatises.

LATI 514 - (3) (SI)
Cicero’s Rhetorical Works
Readings from the orations and the rhetorical treatises.

LATI 515 - (3) (SI)
Studies the historical monographs Catilina and Jurgurtha in their literary and historical setting, with attention to the remains of the Histories and other contemporary documents.

LATI 516 - (3) (SI)
Vergil’s Aeneid

LATI 517 - (3) (SI)
Vergil’s Eclogues and Georgics

LATI 518 - (3) (SI)
Horace’s Odes

LATI 519 - (3) (SI)
Selected readings from the Ab urbe condita.

LATI 520 - (3) (SI)
Ovid’s Metamorphoses

LATI 521 - (3) (SI)
Ovid’s Love Poetry
Readings from the Amores, Heroides, Ars Amatoria, and Remedia Amoris.

LATI 522 - (3) (SI)
Selections from Tacitus.

LATI 523 - (3) (SI)
Studies Petronius’ Satyricon and the development of fiction-writing in classical antiquity.

LATI 524 - (3) (SI)
Studies the satires of Juvenal and the development of satire among the Romans.

LATI 525 - (6) (SI)
Seneca’s Philosophical Works
Studies selected philosophical texts of Seneca, chiefly the Epistulae Morales and the nature and development of Roman Stoicism.

LATI 526 - (3) (SI)
Latin Epic After Vergil
Readings from Lucan, Statius, and Silius Italicus.

LATI 527 - (3) (SI)
Apuleius’ Metamorphoses
Reading of the text; the influence of the work on subsequent literature and art.

LATI 528 - (3) (SI)
Christian Latin Writings of the Roman Empire

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