Classical Languages at Exeter
"To live intellectually only in one's own time is as provincial and misleading as to live intellectually only in one's own culture." -- William Riley Parker
Our primary goal is to develop in our students the ability to read significant works of Greek and Roman authors in the original language. For most students, reading works written more than 2,000 years ago by such authors as Vergil, Cicero, Plato, and Homer stands out as the highlight of their language study. The highest honor comes to students of the Classics at graduation when those scholars who have completed requirements in both Latin and Greek are awarded the Classical Diploma. Our offerings include Latin courses through the advanced levels, four years of Greek, as well as the possibility of studying topics such as etymology and classical mythology, literature, and archaeology.
Term Abroad in Rome - Weeks 3 - 4
Highlights of the last two weeks include two days of touring and study in the Campus Martius, a large area of Rome lying in a bend of the Tiber River. During the city's early development, the Campus was a field, often subject to flooding, used for exercise and military training. In the Republic, it contained many temples and shrines, and its was in this area that the great political and, eventually military, rivals Julius Caesar and Pompey built two major monuments as gifts of a sort to the people: Pompey's theater and the Saepta, a large fenced area for organizing the citizens for voting. Augustus began the large-scale monumentalization of the area with buildings such as the Altar of Peace and his own mausoleum, and later emperors followed suit. Here the emperor Hadrian built the best-preserved ancient temple in Rome, the Pantheon, whose extraordinary dome was the largest in the world for many centuries thereafter.
The group also enjoyed a rare priviledge, a visit to the American Academy in Rome, where they had a private tour of the Academy's collection of ancient artifacts.
As they complete their fourth week, the students and instructors are studying the Imperial Fora in Rome and Ostia Antica, which was the harbor town on ancient Rome and whose extensive remains rival those of Pompeii.
Central Rome abounds in churches of all shapes and sizes, as well of almost every century of western Christianity. Many older churches were renovated and redecorated as tastes changed in the baroque and later periods, while some remain essentially as they were when first completed. Beneath many churches, such as San Clemente (which the group visits this week), archaeologists have found important remains of Roman cemetaries, houses, and shrines. The period of the Reformation, in which the Catholic Church responded to the Protestant Reformation by attempting to attract members and inspire them to spiritual glories through the glories of the material world, saw a number of large and ornately decorated churches rise in Rome. Here one often finds bold artisitc experiments, such as ceiling murals with astounding perspective and figures that appear to spill out of the painting into the church itself as if falling or flying in from the open sky above (see image above right).
Return to this page for updates and photos throughout the term.
photo credits: Yeji Jung '14 and Sally Morris
Through the study of Latin and Greek, students master the richness of English as a language and a literature as well as gain a historical overview of how language and its structures develop and work. At the same time, students also learn some of the arts of precision, self-criticism, and building conceptual models. In advanced courses, contemporary literary criticism forms an important part of class discussions. Since studying the Classics gives evidence of serious study of a given body of knowledge that has proven exemplary in training the mind, colleges and un iversities look favorably upon applicants who present it as part of their applications, especially upon those who earn the Classical Diploma
DISCIPULI DICUNT - THE STUDENTS SPEAK
Read what students say about studying Latin and Greek at Exeter.