The literature of ancient Greece has profoundly influenced later western culture. It has shaped modern thinking on politics and philosophy. It has provided models for all the major genres of modern literature, in both verse and prose, including epic, comedy, tragedy and the novel. At the same time ancient Greek literature is in some ways alien to modern experience: to understand it we need to understand the culture that produced it. The study of Greek thus confronts students not just with the challenge of learning the language and producing literary analyses, but also involves them in learning about the history, social values, religion and philosophy of the ancient world more broadly.
Greek has been taught at St Andrews since the foundation of the University in the 15th century. Courses cover a variety of areas from a period of more than 1000 years, from the archaic period through to late antiquity. At undergraduate level students can study Greek as an independent discipline, or as a joint degree option and study Greek alongside Latin (as part of a Classics degree), history (ancient and modern), modern languages, English literature, philosophy or social anthropology.