Why Study Classics, Ancient History or Classical Archaeology?
Here in the Classics department we are engaged in an ongoing study of all aspects of the ancient world. Join us, and follow and develop your own interests in any one of the three disciplines represented by the deparment here in Adelaide.
- As a classicist, you can deepen your understanding of the cultures and literature of the Greek- and Latin-speaking world.
- As an historian, you can specialise in the Greek, Roman or early post-Roman European worlds, exploring the social, political and economic interactions of the main cultures that borderd the Mediterranean.
- As an archaeologist, you can learn to recognise and interpret the artefacts, art and architecture of the Mediterranean region from the second millennium B.C. to the fifth century A.D.
Generally speaking, there are two kinds of studies: those that enable you to do things, and those that encourage you to reflect upon things. Classical studies belong to both, but unless you want to become a classicist, ancient historian or archaeologist, it is the second that is most significant.
Researching the classical past may at least give you three things:
- a better understanding of western cultural identities
- a sense of what is classical about the classical world
- reflection upon the human condition by learning about the objects, attitudes and ideas of Greece and Rome.
But it offers much more. So why not continue your studies into your second and third year and:
Study the early development of European history, popular culture, art, and architecture.
Greece and Rome has had an enduring effect on Western culture. Their mythology has inspired paintings and business approaches; their buildings continue to cause imitation or reaction by modern architecture; their cities have influenced western expectations of what urban life could and should be.
In other words, Classics encourages reflection on the identity of western society by looking at its origins. But it will also enrich your perspective on what it means to be human, as it represents a period which is particularly rich in expressing the clever ideas, moving emotions, enchanting stories, and ingenious discoveries that still speak to us today.
Develop skills in research and the use of evidence in creating cogent and convincing arguments.
This can take the form of learning how to assess and interpret documentary evidence (inscriptions, texts - in translation) from ancient Greece and the Roman empire, or interpreting archaeological data to reconstruct events, trends or cultures in the ancient Mediterranean world. Exploring ancient history helps you to develop the sort of critical skills that can be applied to contemporary news "sources"; political spin-doctoring was a professional trade in Rome before the word existed. Learning how to research and present well-structured, evidence-based arguments is also an asset that can be used in business.
Extend your knowledge and understanding of languages through learning Ancient Greek and/or Latin.
The English language is full of words deriving from Greek and Latin. But you can also explore the rich literature of the ancient world in their original languages, or study them in translation. Familiarity with classical literature provides the context for understanding the evolution and nature of European and English literary genres.