Classical Languages

Romanitas and ὁ Ἑλληνισμός

Who were the ancient Greeks and Romans? What did they know about themselves? What did they tell us? How did they tell us? And how does their legacy continue to shape our culture?

Classics is the academic discipline that generates and seeks to answer these questions—to grasp the very essence of Roman and Greek identity, of Romanitas and ὁ Ἑλληνισμός. To this end, classical scholars study the ancient Greek and Latin languages, which have been prominent features of liberal education for two thousand years. At Deerfield Academy, Greek and Latin form a part of our heritage, having been inaugural subjects when the school was founded in 1797. In fact, at that time, students paid extra for classical languages, since Greek and Latin were required for college. Times have changed, but the discipline remains largely the same: through the study of Greek and Latin, Deerfield students will gain direct, unmitigated access to the thought and material culture of antiquity. Inherently interdisciplinary and thoroughly contemplative, the study of classics is as much about self-discovery as mastery; we learn the heritage of Greece and Rome just as we come to know ourselves.

To learn and gain experience with Greek and Latin, Deerfield offers courses in both languages at the elementary level and, in Latin, at the intermediate and advanced levels. Please see the course catalog for full descriptions.

For students with a special enthusiasm for classics, DA offers a Classical Studies Program; the Classics Club provides opportunities for students beyond DA, including trips to local colleges and museums—and, of course, certamen, a fun-filled, competitive classics quiz game. To give students a first-hand experience with Roman history and material culture, the classics program offers a biennial trip to Italy, replete with visits to Roman, Etruscan, and Greek museums and archeological sites.

See the Language Department directory for a listing of teachers, office hours, and more.