Classical statueClassics is the study of the history, art, literature, philosophy and religion of ancient Greece and Rome. The Renaissance humanists and artists, such as Petrarch, Da Vinci and Michelangelo, viewed the Greco-Roman period ( ca 500 BC – AD 500) as a golden age of man that provided ideal, “classical” models that inspired the great cultural movements of the Renaissance. Classics has continued to fascinate in the centuries since the Renaissance, inspiring writers and artists as diverse as John Milton, Nicholas Poussin, Jacques-Louis David, John Keats, T.S. Eliot and Eugene O’ Neill. Classics underlies the whole basis of the Liberal Arts. From the beginnings of university education at Bologna in Northern Italy in the eleventh century, Classics has been the starting point for a serious education. It has traditionally been the core of the curriculum. Art, literature, sculpture and architecture have all been fundamentally influenced by Greek and Roman models from the Middle Ages to the present. Even the great statesmen have valued and applied their Classical education. James Madison himself was thoroughly educated in the Classics, as were all of the founding fathers. He modeled the American constitution on a description of the mixed and balanced constitution of the Roman Republic by the Greek historian Polybuis (Universal History, Book VI).

The Minor in Classical Studies promotes the study of classical antiquity. It also draws attention to the importance of ancient thought, art and writing to contemporary literary, historical, artistic, philosophical, political, religious and moral inquiry. Pupils who add the minor will partake of the great traditions of classical education, seeking alongside the poet Keats after beauty and truth and inspired by the questions of the human condition. You too can say with Solon, the great poet, sage and statesman of Athens:

“I grow older always learning many things.”

Download a brochure.

Login to MyMadison to declare the minor. See detailed instructions here.

If you would like to declare an Classical Studies minor, or if you have questions about the minor, please contact:   

Dr. Stephen Chappell
Coordinator

Department of History          
Cleveland Hall, Room
540.568.4708
chappesx@jmu.edu

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