Curriculum Detail

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Classics is a unique, interdisciplinary endeavor that is dedicated to the study of all aspects of the Greek and Roman world. It incorporates the study of the language, history, and culture of a vast array of peoples from parts of Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. Given this geographical breadth and diversity, Classics involve the study of stories and histories that reflect every aspect of the human experience and condition.  

At Groton, students begin their study of Latin and Greek at the intersection of mythology, history, and grammar. The Classics faculty take great care to provide compelling and interesting texts that promote acquisition, understanding, and discourse at all levels of language study - from beginner to advanced.  

Latin and Greek serve as the foundation of many languages, including English, and are useful aids for learning and appreciating them. At the same time, the development of vigorous critical and computational thinking skills, along with the honing of analytical and communication skills, underpin our study of Latin and Greek. The benefits of this type of intellectual training enhance not only the development of language skills but also the ability to analyze texts and grapple with timeless, human questions. The study of Latin and Greek provides a perspective into many different cultures and prepares students for all manners and modes of learning and problem-solving, both at Groton and beyond.  

Classical studies specialize in close reading and mental discipline while opening out onto a wide range of subjects from a readily grasped core. 

NOTE: All entering Second and Third form students are required to take at least one year of Latin. If a student has studied Latin prior to Groton, they will take a placement test to determine the appropriate skill level. Students who begin Greek must complete at least two years of the language, unless they start Greek in their Sixth form year. In particular, Upper Schoolers who begin Greek should plan their future schedules accordingly.
  • AP Latin (Y)

    In this course, students read selections from Books 1, 2, 4, and 6 of Vergil's Aeneid and from Books 1, 4, 5, and 6 of Caesar's Gallic Wars, as required for the Advanced Placement Examination. In addition to translating, discussing, and analyzing these passages, students also read in English Books 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 12 of the Aeneid and Books 1, 6, and 7 of Caesar's Gallic Wars. The prerequisite for this course is Latin III or permission of the Classics Department. This course is designated as an Advanced Placement course and thus a full-year commitment for all students. The AP Exam is required for this course.
  • Archaeology of Ancient Mediterranean (S)

    Open to Sixth and Fifth Formers. This class will explore the archaeology, history, and cultures of the Near East, North Africa, and Europe from the Bronze Age until the end of the Roman Empire. Students will explore the major archaeological and historical questions of each period, including topics such as the display of human remains, repatriation of antiquities, the Trojan War, the receptions of Black Athena, and the archaeology of mass violence. The class will combine illustrated lectures with discussions of the major artistic, architectural, and historical periods. No prior knowledge of Classics is required for this class.
  • Greek 1 (Y)

    The Greek 1 curriculum is designed to cover most of the essential grammar and basic syntax of the language within a year, along with vocabulary-building and practice in reading. Athenaze Parts I and II are the required texts for the course.
  • Greek 2 (Y)

    In Greek 2 students review and expand upon the grammar and syntax they studied during the first year through the close reading of Greek literature. Readings include selections from Xenophon’s Anabasis in the first half of the year followed by selections from Homer’s Iliad.  
  • Greek 3 (Y)

    Greek 3 is a reading course. In recent years works read have included Sophocles’ Antigone and Oedipus Rex, Plato’s Apology and Phaedo and selections from Homer’s Odyssey. Readings may vary from year to year and are chosen at the discretion of the instructor and Classics Department.
  • Latin 1 (Y)

    The Latin 1 curriculum covers the essential grammar and basic syntax of the language within a year. On a daily basis, students translate practice sentences and longer, narrative passages designed to reinforce grammatical topics and to help develop fluency in the language. Discussion of various topics associated with these readings serves to expand the students’ awareness of a wide range of Roman realities. The Oxford Latin Course College Edition is the required text for the class.
  • Latin 2 (Y)

    Latin 2 begins with a quick, thorough review of the essential grammar and syntax covered during the first year of study. In conjunction with this review, students also translate Latin from the Liber, an episodic survey of Roman history excerpts from Livy and other Roman authors, before moving on to reading selections from Caesar’s Gallic Wars in the spring term. This course aims to make students proficient readers of Latin while providing a good overview of Roman history and literature through the lens of both Romans and other peoples within the Roman Empire.
  • Latin 3 (Y)

    Latin 3 aims to develop further students’ proficiency in the language while introducing them to representative works of Latin prose and poetry. Students study prose in the first half of the year, typically selections from the works of Cicero and Sallust, and poetry in the second half of the year with selections from Vergil’s Aeneid.
  • Latin 4 (Y)

    Latin 4 offers students the opportunity to continue to read, analyze, and discuss representative works of Latin prose and poetry. In recent years this course has focused on selections from a range of Roman authors including Ovid's Metamorphoses, Catullus' Carmina, Horace's Odes, and Vergil's Aeneid. Readings may vary from year to year and are chosen at the discretion of the instructor and the Classics Department. Sixth Formers take this course on a term-by-term basis.
  • Latin 5 (F)

    The literature studied in Latin 5 may vary at the discretion of the instructor and Classics Department. In recent years, course topics have included the lyric poetry of Catullus and Horace, the philosophical writings of Cicero, the didactic poetry of Lucretius, comedies of Plautus, and selections from the works of Ovid, Seneca, Apuleius and other Latin authors.
    These courses are offered on a term-by-term basis to Sixth Formers; all others must elect Latin 5 for the full year.
  • Latin 6 (F)

    Readings are chosen by the instructor.

Our Faculty

  • Photo of Amy Martin-Nelson
    Amy Martin-Nelson
    Classics Department Head
  • Photo of Mary Frances Bannard
    Mary Frances Bannard
    Assistant Director of Globalism & Experiential Learning, Dorm Head
  • Photo of Preston Bannard
    Preston Bannard
  • Photo of Katherine Dennison
    Katherine Dennison
    Director of Academic Skills
  • Photo of David Giampetruzzi
    David Giampetruzzi
    Sherrard Billings Chair of Classics
  • Photo of Michael O'Donnell
    Michael O'Donnell
    Dean of Students and Residential Life, Classics, History and Social Science