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Why study Greek?

The civilisation of ancient Greece has been profoundly influential in shaping that of modern Europe. We owe to the Greeks many concepts central to modern thinking, in (e.g.) politics, philosophy and literary criticism. Many of the literary forms which have flourished in Europe since the Renaissance have their origins in Greece. For instance, it was the Greeks who created the fundamental forms of both tragedy and comedy, and in the process institutionalised drama and the theatre as cultural phenomena. But the study of Greek is more than a search for roots. Many of the issues which we meet in Greek writers are of continuing interest, and their attitude to these issues was often quite different from our own. By studying the successes and failures of the Greeks in answering these perennial questions we learn much about ourselves as well.

The subject matter involved is wide and varied. The study of Greek not only accustoms students to devote close analytic attention to the form, meaning and effectiveness of literary and other texts; it also introduces them to a broad range of disciplines - language, literature (prose and verse), philosophy, history, social values and religion.

Greek at St Andrews

Greek, like Latin, has been taught at St Andrews since the foundation of the University in the early fifteenth century. The Greek Department at St Andrews has always enjoyed a very high reputation not only in Britain but worldwide. There are five separate teaching programmes, Greek, Latin, Classics, Classical Studies and Ancient History, that work closely together within the School of Classics. However, Greek is very much a subject in its own right.


What the students say

"The Classics staff are very friendly and always accessible to students."

"The lectures are generally well delivered, and unlike many subjects the reading is a pleasure."

"All in all, if you are interested in gaining a good grounding in ancient thought and society, this course is extremely useful."

Undergraduate enquiries

All admissions queries should be sent to the University admissions department; they will forward relevant questions to our admissions officer.

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