Classics has traditionally been the study of languages and societies of ancient Greece and Rome. At Hamilton, the Classics Department reflects this tradition, while offering a broader view of the ancient world and its relation to our own time. The study of classics in this wider sense offers a variety of benefits: It enables students to perceive the continuing influence of Greek and Roman literature and culture on the art, literature and thought of our own time; it improves students' communication skills by giving them a deeper understanding of how language works; it provides a foundation for learning other languages, in particular romance languages; and it leads to an increased mastery of English.
The skills acquired by students of classics are transferable to a wide variety of contexts. Studying classics imparts the ability to deal with precise details, to master complex structures and to place the events of today within the larger sweep of history.
At Hamilton, students of classics choose from two concentrations: classical languages, which focuses on Latin and Greek as keys to understanding the ancient world; and classical studies, in which students study ancient history and culture with less emphasis on the languages. Students may also choose a minor in either of those two areas.
High school students interested in studying classics at Hamilton are urged to take as much Latin and, if possible, Greek as they can before entering college. Students who come to Hamilton well prepared in at least one of the languages can expect to progress smoothly through the classics program and are often able to complete a double concentration. Potential classics concentrators who come to Hamilton with no knowledge of Latin or Greek are urged to make an immediate start on one or both of the languages.