Explore our Curriculum

Classics

Groton encourages the study of Latin and Greek because of particular benefits it offers in the development of language skills and the perspective it offers into our culture in a broad sense. Latin and Greek are the basis for several World Languages and can be useful aids in learning them. However, the study of a classical language is fundamentally different in its approach and goals from that of a modern one. While the learning of a World Language concentrates on developing fluency of speech and listening, the learning of a classical language focuses primarily on the structure of the language itself. It encourages precision with words and offers valuable lessons for close reading and written expression in English.
 
Beyond language skills themselves, classical languages offer the best access to the cultures of Greece and Rome. These cultures form the basis for much of our modern thinking. Go wherever you wish in literature, history, art, architecture, philosophy, government – even math and science – and you will find that the Greeks and Romans have been there before you. They will not be able to answer your every question, but they will usually have addressed and thought about it with perception. The clarity of their approach, reflected in the kind of language they used, will train you well to pick up on your own thinking where they leave off. To a culture like ours, so preoccupied with its own immediate present, these languages open channels not only to the classical world, but also to all the interwoven cultural traditions through the millennia that separate us.
 
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.
  • 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.
  • Archaeology of Greece (W)

    Open to Sixth Formers. Greek Archaeology is the study of the architecture, sculpture, and painting of Ancient Greece. The principal text used will be W. Biers, The Archaeology of Greece. Classes will combine illustrated lectures with oral presentations by each student, who will be asked to pursue one or two topics in greater depth in research papers. 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 Fifth and Sixth Formers. Roman civilization has provided the culture basis for much of the Western artistic and architectural tradition, and evidence for its influence is even found in early Islamic buildings and art. The class will follow the development of Roman art and architecture from its beginnings in Etruria into Late Antiquity and the Islamic period, using archaeological evidence from Rome itself and its Empire. After a study of material from Rome and other Italian sites such as Pompeii, the class will look at Roman art and architecture in Europe (Provence), North Africa (Carthage, Leptis Magna), Egypt (Alexandria), and the eastern Mediterranean (Petra, Palmyra), followed by a consideration of Roman influence on late antique art and architecture (Antioch, Constantinople, Ravenna). The course will conclude with a brief overview of the classical legacy in early Islamic art and architecture (Jerusalem, Damascus). Students will give oral presentations on particular topics, with three formal essays involving archaeological research submitted over the term. 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 historians, before moving on to 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.  
  • 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 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 David Giampetruzzi

    David Giampetruzzi

    Classics Department Head, Sherrard Billings Chair of Classics
    978-448-7711
    Bio
  • Photo of Mary Frances Bannard

    Mary Frances Bannard

    Dorm Head
    978-448-7312
    Bio
  • Photo of Preston Bannard

    Preston Bannard

    978-448-7312
    Bio
  • Photo of Katherine Dennison

    Katherine Dennison

    Academic Support Services
    978-448-7576
    Bio
  • Photo of Amy Martin-Nelson

    Amy Martin-Nelson

    978-448-7812
    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 Andres Reyes

    Andres Reyes

    Charles C. and Ann W. Alexander Chair
    978-448-7717
    Bio
  • Photo of David Ross

    David Ross

    978-448-7718
    Bio