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Latin
scriptrixLatin was the language not only of the Romans, but of much literature and other writing until the sixteenth century. Without Latin no one can properly study the evidence for European history up to that time.

Ancient Greek
Greek is the oldest European language still spoken for which records survive. Many modern genres (e.g. tragedy, comedy, history, lyric) were founded by the Greeks.

Ancient culture
We offer a high-powered training in Latin and Greek language to make them gateways to the whole of the ancient world. So much in ancient culture stimulates thought about matters which are acutely relevant today. Here are some examples.

  • Are there divine forces that control the universe? Are they just? What if they are positively malevolent towards humanity? What then can humans hope to achieve?
    These are just some of the questions that arise from the study of Greek tragedy.
  • Will we be remembered after we have died? Is it worth making sacrifices in life to ensure that our name lives on after us?
    These are some of the key issues in Homer's magnificent epic, the Iliad.
  • Can imperialism be justified? Are the sacrifices of a few worth while for the greater good of the many?
    These are two of the questions one might ask after reading Vergil's Aeneid.
  • Is there a fixed objective standard of goodness and justice?
    The great Greek philosopher Plato thought so. Or do we simply define goodness and justice as it suits us?
  • How should democracy function? How should local government relate to central government?
    Where better to start studying these important questions than with the Greeks, who first introduced democracy ('rule by the people'), and the Romans, who managed to govern their empire only because of the help of local authorities.

Don’t imagine that the world of the Greeks and the Romans occupied only a very restricted space and time-span. The Romans came to dominate the whole of western Europe. And a well-trained classicist is able to read Greek literature written between 700 BC and AD 600 - that's 1,300 years, longer than from today to Alfred the Great!

The Classical Tradition

And Classicists don’t just study and teach the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean. What makes Classics special is in no small part the classical tradition – how Greco-Roman antiquity has continued to remain a significant point of reference and departure throughout the centuries, from late antiquity to the present day – in virtually every cultural sphere, including art and architecture, language and literature, and politics and thought.

Latest news

‘Digital Thessaly' project

24 May 2022

The British School at Athens and the Archives of the Faculty of Classics and Pembroke College are pleased to announce that the first phase of the project ‘Digital Thessaly’ has been completed. Funded by the Cambridge Digital Humanities, this project reunites on BSA Digital Collections Alan Wace’s research notebooks that...

Teaching Associate in Ancient History

24 May 2022

Details of how to apply for this full time, fixed term post are now available online: https://www.jobs.cam.ac.uk/job/34954/

Museum Education and Outreach Coordinator

17 May 2022

Details of how to apply of this part time, fixed term post are now available online. https://www.jobs.cam.ac.uk/job/35015/ Closing date: 20 June 2022.

New Assistant Professors of Classics

8 April 2022

The Faculty is delighted to announce the appointment of four new Assistant Professors of Classics who will join the Faculty in Michaelmas 2022. This is the largest number of simultaneous new appointments for some time: Dr Laura Castelli Dr Lea Niccolai Dr Shushma Malik Dr Henry Spelman We look forward to welcoming them to...