The study of classical authors in the original language enables students to appreciate more fully the foundation and development of English and European literature. Because students develop the skills of close textual analysis by examining words that have been debated for centuries, they begin to understand both the scholarly value of their own interpretations and the degree to which the perspective of different eras affect the way a work is viewed. Students who take Latin or Greek are expected to master the basic vocabulary, grammar and syntax of the languages well enough to translate and interpret some of the greatest authors of Western civilization.
The study of classics comprises such varied fields of inquiry as linguistics, archeology, art, architecture, statecraft, rhetoric, law, and geography, to name only a few of the most salient subject areas. Our focus is at once on the past and on the future. Current events in politics and archeology are constantly shaping modern debates about how peoples are to view their own and others’ pasts and in what ways we should guide our shared future. We embrace these debates in the confidence that appreciation of the complexity of these questions and diversity of perspectives on them is the fundamental goal of every thinker.