Classical Languages Off-Campus Programs

In a letter to his friend, Cicero writes, “Rome, my dear Rufus, Rome! Cherish it and live in its light!” Our students have two opportunities to experience that magical light for themselves: the annual Winter Term in Rome, or the biennial Spring Study Tour in Rome, offered on even-numbered years.

To really engage with the ancient past, students need to get their hands dirty. Archaeology can answer important questions that literature cannot, especially about the habits and beliefs of non-elite Greeks and Romans as seen by the artifacts and buildings they left behind. In the summer, our students have the opportunity to practice archaeology in the field in either Italy or Greece.

Thanks to the generosity of the Behr, Pollock, and Radista Funds, funding is generally available for students who are accepted into any of these off-campus programs.

Winter Term in Rome

Open to uppers and seniors who are studying Latin and/or Greek, students live in a supervised dorm setting in Rome while attending a classical immersion program designed and directed by an instructor from our department. In addition to classroom study, we go out into Rome and environs at least one day a week for field study. We spend January and February in Rome and the final week of the program is in the Bay of Naples, based at the Villa Vergiliana. Students select five of six course offerings:

  • Latin
  • Ancient Greek
  • Beginning Italian
  • Roman Topography (archeological field course)
  • English (classical literature in translation)
  • Roman History

Spring Study Tour in Rome

Led by members of our department, this spring break trip introduces up to sixteen students to the wonders of Rome, especially as it developed from a small village on the Tiber to the center of the Roman Empire. We spend nine days examining ancient monuments set within their historical and literary context. In addition to hearing daily lectures by the faculty, each student is required to give an oral report on a specific monument. For a three-day interlude, the focus shifts to the Bay of Naples, where we visit such sites as Pompeii, Cumae, Baiae, Oplontis and Paestum.

2014 Blog

Gabii, Italy

Up to eight rising uppers and seniors, supervised by Dr. Troy Samuels an instructor in the PEA history department, can join the Gabii Project excavation for three weeks. Led by Dr. Nicola Terrenato, Esther B. Van Deman Collegiate Professor of Roman Studies at the University of Michigan, the Gabii Project is an international archaeological collaboration exploring the Latin city of Gabii, sixteen kilometers east of Rome. An early peer city of Rome – according to legend Romulus and Remus went to school at Gabii – over a decade of excavations have revealed material from the ninth century BCE through the ninth century CE, comprising everything from houses to quarries to monumental public buildings. Students will take part in an archaeological field school during the week that trains students in excavation techniques, ceramic analysis, bioarcheology, and digital recording tools as well as taking a number of short excursions to other nearby sites and museums in Rome and the surrounding region over the weekends.

Mt. Lykaion, Greece

Up to four graduating seniors aged 18 or older can apply for a travel grant to fund their participation in the Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project for six weeks, led by Prof. David Gilman Romano ’65 of the University of Arizona. Situated in a stunningly beautiful region of Arcadia, Mt. Lykaion marks the site of a major Zeus sanctuary built on top of the supposed birthplace of Zeus. Joining a team of 50 people, students are involved in all aspects of the dig, whether in a trench, on the survey team, in the lab or on a computer. The project is run as a field school, so students receive instruction and participate in meetings, seminars, lectures, and field trips to archaeological sites and museums.