About the Department



The concern of the Greek and Roman Studies program is not only to help our students gain expertise in the languages and cultures of ancient Greece and Rome but also to realize a number of more general goals, which will have an influence on the quality of their lives and accomplishments regardless of their specific ambitions. These goals include:

  1. To develop a thorough understanding of the ancient Greek and Roman cultures as the basis for the artistic, scientific, social, and political traditions of Western society

  2. To increase their level of preparation for further academic and professional training (particularly in the medical and legal professions)

    1. By strengthening their ability to comprehend and use language more effectively and productively

    2. By introducing them to the people, events, and ideas from antiquity that have a direct bearing on our lives today

    3. By emphasizing the interrelated nature of human experiences and knowledge.

To achieve these goals we are committed to providing a learning environment for students that will allow them to gain an understanding of the ancient world in the most efficient, supportive, and creative ways possible. Philosophically, we have designed our program with the following convictions in mind.

  1. The study of ancient Greece and Rome should extend beyond the traditional boundaries of the "Classics" discipline and assume a more natural, supportive role as an interdisciplinary program with ties to all areas of academia that have been influenced by the cultural accomplishments of the Greeks and Romans.

  2. The program should attempt to reach as many students as possible by presenting information and questions about the ancient world in a variety of contexts and courses that will appeal to a broad range of academic and professional interests.

  3. Students should have the opportunity to acquire the ancient Greek and Latin languages in an enriched, contextualized environment that reflects the theoretical and pedagogical advances from the field of second language acquisition and keeps pace with developments in modern language instruction.

  4. Students should have the ability to direct their study of the ancient world in ways that go beyond simply choosing courses, so their efforts in learning about ancient Greece and Rome will have a more direct relevance to their lives and academic ambitions.

  5. Students should have the opportunity to apply their knowledge of the ancient world not only in their other academic work but also in the service of those who would benefit from a better understanding of how the accomplishments of classical antiquity have influenced the nature of our present artistic, scientific, and political conventions.

  6. In their study of the ancient world, students should have access to as many resources beyond Rhodes as possible, so they will benefit from experiencing a wide variety of perspectives on antiquity and learn to use different types and sources of information and discriminate productively among them.


In working to achieve these goals and embody these convictions, the Greek and Roman Studies program incorporates a number of distinctive features.

Greek and Roman Studies Courses

These courses both meet the needs of majors and minors in Greek and Roman Studies and introduce students from the broader campus community to the study of the ancient Greek and Roman cultures. Reflecting the inter-disicplinary nature of the field, these courses take a topical approach to aspects of the ancient world and draw on a range of documentary and non-documentary sources that introduce students to the primary evidence from which scholars develop their understanding of the ancient Greeks and Romans.

Language Courses

Our language courses reflect the following features:

  1. Our courses feature a modified natural approach. Following the way children naturally learn to use language, the primary focus of the natural approach is to expose students to as much comprehensible language or input as possible in more than one medium. Early production in the target language is de-emphasized as a graded component to reduce anxiety, oral practice complements written exercises during the first two semesters, and practice in listening comprehension supplements the reading assignments. Furthermore, our elementary sequences begin in different semesters. We offer Greek 101 in the fall and Latin 101 in the spring. This allows for students who are interested in acquiring both ancient Greek and Latin to avoid problems associated with taking two beginning courses simultaneously.

  2. After completing the elementary sequence (or achieving a comparable level of proficiency elsewhere), students take Greek and Latin 265, which introduce students to the literature of ancient Greece and Rome through contextualized readings. Aiming to provide students with an optimum environment for building fluency these courses generally feature works from a single author to reduce stylistic and contextual variation. Greek 265 usually focuses on texts from the 5th and 4th centuries, while Latin 265 emphasizes readings from the Late Republic and Augustan periods. To give students a chance to study a number of the basic texts from these periods, the readings change from semester to semester and generally alternate between poetry and prose. Whenever possible, the readings relate to other courses offered during the same semester. For example, when Greek and Roman Studies 260: Poetry and Performance focuses on Athenian dramatic festivals, the readings in Greek 265 will come from the works of Sophocles or Euripides. Finally, to enable students to continue progressing in their acquition of the languages during semester when other demands are particularly heavy, they have the option of taking Greek 265 and Latin 265 for two or four units.

  3. Once students progress to an advanced level we encourage them to participate in the inter-institutional collaborative courses we offer in collaboration with Sunoikisis. Designed and managed by a team of faculty members from participating programs at the member institutions of the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education ("NITLE"), these courses generally emphasize exposure to a wide range of authors, topics, and time periods as well as introduce students to recent critical approaches.

Study Abroad

We are committed to providing students with opportunities to study abroad.

  • For students who wish to travel and study during the summer months, there are several options:

    • We have designed GRS 305, a travel-study course that takes students abroad during the "Maymester," which begins the week after graduation in mid-May and goes through the first two weeks of June.

    • Latin 232 takes students to Rome, where participants study the ancient texts in their historical and cultural contexts.

    • Undergraduates may also study the archaeology of Greece during the Summer Sessions of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, of which Rhodes is a member institution.

    • Rhodes is one of twelve institutions that sponsor the Kenchreai Excavations. This site is the port of ancient Corinth on the Saronic Gulf. For six weeks, at least two students from Rhodes participate in the field school under the direction of Professor Joe Rife from Vanderbilt University.

  • For students who prefer a semester-long program, options include:

    • European Studies, a program sponsored jointly by Rhodes and the University of the South (Sewanee), offers "Ancient Greece and Rome: Foundations of Western Civilization," which begins with a month of coursework at Sewanee in July and then takes students to the University of York for a two-week archaeological practicum, Lincoln College at Oxford for six weeks of courses, and then on a five-week tour of archaeological sites and museums in Greece, Istanbul, and Italy. Students return to the United States in mid-November.

    • Rhodes also participates in consortial initiatives in Italy, Greece, and Turkey. Students from regularly study at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome, which offers semester-long programs in the fall and spring.

    • Students also attend College Year in Athens, which offers instruction in languages (ancient and modern Greek and Latin), philosophy, ethnography, history, and art and archaeology, political science, and religion.

    • Through the Associated Colleges of the South, students may also participate in the Global Partners study program in Turkey. Students spend part of the semester in Istanbul for instruction in Turkish and the history and culture of Turkey. After their stay in Istanbul, students will relocate to Ankara where they will take two or three courses at Bilkent University¬† or Middle East Technical University.


For the last thirty years, classics have led the humanities in the application of computer technology. Because graduates are increasingly expected have attained a significant level of expertise in the use of digital information by the time they graduate, the Greek and Roman Studies program is committed to making extensive use of computer-based resources and helping students become familiar and comfortable with the Internet as a medium of scholarly interaction.


Students from the Greek and Roman Studies program work with students at Bruce Elementary one afternoon a week. The program at Bruce includes providing a snack, telling stories, and organizing a variety of activities aimed at introducing  students to the contributions ancient Mediterranean cultures have made to the development of Western civilization.


Emily Tarr ′15 presents her senior project "Iphigenia at Aulis" at the Rhodes Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium (URCAS). Tarr proposed and designed a modern version of Euripides′ play.