Please note: This is NOT the most current catalog.

Ancient Studies

Director, 2007-08: Anne H. Groton (Classics)

Founded by the Department of Classics in 1971, ancient studies is one of St. Olaf’s oldest interdisciplinary programs. In scope it spans the more than two millennia between Greece’s Bronze Age and the fall of the Roman Empire. Combining art, history, language, literature, philosophy, and religion, it encourages students to take a broad look at classical culture, examining it from multiple perspectives.

The Ancient Studies Program has no courses of its own; instead it relies on courses offered by individual departments. Students who major in ancient studies choose electives from among the various departmental courses that deal primarily or entirely with the world of ancient Greece and Rome. Many of these courses also satisfy general education requirements. The three required courses in Greek or Latin can simultaneously fulfill the college’s foreign language requirement.

It is common for St. Olaf students to combine an ancient studies major with a major in art history, English, history, philosophy, political science, or religion. Even mathematics or natural science majors often complete a second major in ancient studies. The major provides a useful background in the humanities for students interested in virtually any career.


The objectives of the major are competence in ancient Greek or Latin at the intermediate level, broad knowledge about ancient Greek and Roman civilization, and in-depth knowledge of one subject area within the major.

Any student interested in an ancient studies major should draw up a contract with the program’s director. The contract may be changed at any time up to second semester of the senior year.


Students majoring in ancient studies complete the fourth semester (or higher) of ancient Greek or Latin, an ancient history course, a classics course, four electives chosen from various departments, and an independent research. The required courses are Greek 253 (or higher) or Latin 235 (or higher); History 202 (Ancient: Near East) or 203 (Ancient: Greece) or 204 (Ancient: Rome); Classics 241 (Greek and Roman Myth) or 243 (The Golden Age of Greece) or 244 (The Golden Age of Rome) or any classics Interim course.

Students choose five electives, one of which must be an independent research, from the following (when the content of the course includes the ancient period): Art 150, 275; Classics 241, 243, 244; Great Conversation 113; Greek 253, 370, 372, 373, 374, 375; History 101, 190, 201, 299, 301, 302, 303; Latin 235, 252, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 377; Philosophy 235, 374; Political Science 259, 299; Religion 221, 222, 223, 248, 270, 273, 302, 320, 391, 392, 396, 399; Theatre 270; Independent Study, Independent Research.

Interim courses such as Classics 126, 128, 129, 251, Great Conversation 115, Religion 259, 275, and other courses offered occasionally or only once (including courses at Carleton College) may also be used as electives.

See the director for information on courses offered in a particular year.