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Classics

Classics is a unique, interdisciplinary endeavor that is dedicated to the study of all aspects of the Greek and Roman world. It incorporates 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 involves 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 enhances 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:  Students who begin a classical language must complete at least two years of that language. In particular, Upper Schoolers who begin Greek should plan their future schedules accordingly.
  • Archaeology of the Bronze Age (F)

    Open to Sixth, Fifth, and Fourth Formers. This class will explore several Bronze Age civilizations including the Sumerians, the Egyptians, the Minoans, the Myceneans, and the Hittites. Classes will combine illustrated lectures with discussions of the major artistic and architectural periods of each civilization. Students will explore some of the big questions of this period (who were the Sea People, was the Trojan War real) and more modern debates concerning the archaeology of these civilizations (the illegal antiquities trade, repatriation of Egyptian artifacts). No prior knowledge is required for this class.
  • The Mythology of Greece and Rome (W)

    Open to Sixth, Fifth, and Fourth Formers. This course will read a selection of stories from Greco-Roman mythology and examine the different ways that those stories were told in antiquity and have been reimagined and repurposed in the years since, with a particular focus on recent reinterpretations. We will examine examples from literature, art, music, movies, and theater, considering the choices that authors and artists make in telling these stories through their own lenses and how those retellings affect our readings of the original myths. One unit will focus on examples of possible PTSD in myth and to what extent some of those sufferings from PTSD in the modern world, particularly veterans and the incarcerated, can better understand their trauma through myth. Students will finish the term by presenting their own creative retelling of an ancient myth. All readings and papers will be in English, and no prior knowledge is required.
  • 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. 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 Greece (W)

    Open to Sixth Formers. Greek Archaeology will explore the architecture, sculpture, and painting of Ancient Greece. The class will combine illustrated lectures with discussions of the major artistic and architectural periods of each civilization. Students will explore various topics and problems concerning Greek Archaeology (Parthenon Frieze, the appropriation of Greek archaeology by various political groups, the location of Alexander's tomb). No prior knowledge of Classics is required for this class. Enrollment limited to six students.
  • Archaeology of the Aegean (F)

    Open to Sixth Formers. This course is an introduction to the archaeological method, followed by the study of early Greece and Crete. Sites studied will include Troy, Knossos, Mycenae, and Pylos.  The principal text used will be Hitchcock and Preziosi, Archaeology of the Aegean. Classes will combine illustrated lectures with oral presentations by each student, who will also be asked to pursue one or two topics in greater depth in research papers. Enrollment limited to six students.
  • Art and Archaeology of the Roman Empire (S)

    Open to Sixth and Fifth Formers. Roman Archaeology will explore Roman architecture and engineering, sculpture, paintings, and material culture from the 7th c. BCE to the twilight of the Roman Empire and the beginnings of Byzantium. The class will combine illustrated lectures with discussions of the major artistic and architectural periods of Rome. Attention will be given to many cultures within the Roman Empire as well as the daily life of people in the Roman Empire. No prior knowledge of Classics is required for this class. Enrollment is limited to 10 students.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Greek 5 (F)

    Readings are chosen by the instructor.
  • Greek 6 (F)

    Readings are chosen by the instructor.
  • 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.
  • 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 Libellus, an episodic survey of Roman history featuring adapted excerpts from Livy and other Roman authors, before moving on to selections from Catullus' Carmina, Caesar’s Gallic Wars and his Civil war 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 5 (W)

    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
    978-448-7812
    Bio
  • Photo of Mary Frances Bannard
    Mary Frances Bannard
    Dorm Head
    978-448-7336
    Bio
  • Photo of Preston Bannard
    Preston Bannard
    978-448-7336
    Bio
  • Photo of Katherine Dennison
    Katherine Dennison
    Academic Support Services
    978-448-7576
    Bio
  • Photo of David Giampetruzzi
    David Giampetruzzi
    Sherrard Billings Chair of Classics
    978-448-7711
    Bio
  • Photo of Michael O'Donnell
    Michael O'Donnell
    Dean of Students and Residential Life, Classics, History and Social Science
    978-448-7575
    Bio
  • Photo of David Ross
    David Ross
    978-448-7718
    Bio