Ancient Classics is the study of the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome in all their aspects: language, literature, history, philosophy, art, and archaeology.

At  Maynooth University, these topics may be approached through our hugely popular course on Greek and Roman Civilization or through the study of the ancient languages of Latin and Greek. The same three subjects are also available at postgraduate level. For more detail on how to study Ancient Classics at Maynooth, please see Our Courses.

Why study Ancient Classics at Maynooth?

Students tend to do better in courses that they enjoy, and over the years many students have found studying Classics to be an interesting and memorable experience. The department has an excellent reputation for both teaching and research, and its small size means that each student is able to get plenty of individual attention. Here at Maynooth University, Greek and Roman Civilization, Latin or Greek can be studied alongside many other subjects in the Faculty of Arts, Philosophy and Celtic Studies.

What can I do with a degree in Ancient Classics?

In our fast-changing world, few degrees are directly applicable to one’s profession, and so increasingly employers look for graduates who are flexible, creative, open-minded, critically aware and articulate. Many of these qualities are fostered by studying Ancient Classics. The ability to deal with a variety of material, to read analytically, to think “outside the box”, to conduct independent research, to write and communicate effectively—these are skills that will not go out of circulation and are useful and prized in many fields, whether it be education, journalism, law, politics, publishing, or business. In addition to these transferable skills, Classics forms the indispensable background for understanding our living European heritage and as such can make us, as citizens, more reflective and independent-minded.

What does a degree in Greek and Roman Civilization at Maynooth include?

This degree is composed mainly of modules on the literature and history of Greek and Roman societies. Among the authors studied are such “classics” as Homer, Virgil, Sophocles, Plato, Thucydides, Tacitus, and Cicero. In reading these authors in English translation, we gain some familiarity with the major literary genres which the ancients gave to the modern world - including epic drama and lyric poetry, as well as history and philosophy.

In addition, the periods of time covered are some of the most important and influential in western history: classical Athens with its flourishing democracy and empire; Alexander the Great, with his astonishing conquests and long-term influence; late Republican Rome and the subsequent age of Augustus; and the height of the Roman empire, which dominated the whole Mediterranean world. The degree also includes modules on Greek myth, philosophy, ancient anthropology, Roman slavery, and women in antiquity. In all, the degree offers a wide-ranging and balanced education in many aspects of Greek and Roman civilization.