Athenian Democracy and the Roman legal system provided the models for modern democratic societies and governments based on the rule of law. Greek and Roman texts pose questions that set the stage for subsequent western thought and that remain vital in our own times. Greek and Roman works of art have been touchstones in the history of western art and literature, and the ancient works continue to provide inspiration for modern artists.
The classics program at Knox focuses on the civilizations -- language, history, philosophy, science, art, and literature -- of ancient Greece and Rome. Students have the option of three majors and minors -- Greek and Roman Culture, Latin, and Greek. While many courses are surveys that assume no previous exposure to the classics, they form a context for more specialized courses in the program.
Language courses in Greek and Latin aim at reading comprehension that opens the way to a more subtle understanding of ancient texts. They also lead to a more thoughtful reflection on the English language.
The major in Greek and Roman culture requires a total of 10 courses -- three advanced language courses in either Latin or Greek, the three course Classics sequence, two electives within the department, the introductory art history course, one approved course in methodology or theory, and senior research.
The Latin major requires a total of 10 courses -- Latin Prose Composition, six advanced courses in Latin, two courses designated Classics, one approved course in methodology or theory, and senior research.
The Greek major requires 10 courses in total -- Greek Prose Composition, six advanced courses in Greek, two courses designated Classics, one approved course in methodology or theory, and senior research.
Many majors in this department pursue advanced topics in independent study with an individual faculty member.
Knox also offers a State of Illinois teacher certification program in Latin (grades six through 12.) Students can qualify for certification by completing a major in Latin, a major in Educational Studies, and passing the State of Illinois Certification test in the Latin subject area.
Classics Department resources include the Perseus database of Greek texts and visual images; machine-readable databases of the complete Greek (TLG) and Latin (PHI) texts of the ancient authors; and L'Annee Philologique, the standard bibliographic index of publications in classics.
Photo, right: Cuneiform tablet, approximately 2 inches in diameter, in the Knox College Special Collections. According to records, it dates from 2000 BC, came from a school, and contains inscriptions by both students and a teacher.