Skip to Main Content
Michigan State University

Classical Studies: Introduction


Welcome to the Classical Studies Research Guide. Here you will find general information about locating resources on Classical Studies both in the MSU Libraries and beyond. 

Note the many tabs at the top of the page.  Click on the appropriate tab for more information.

Classical and Ancient Mediterranean Studies Minor

Classical Studies Professional Organizations

American Classical League : The American Classical League was founded in 1919 for the purpose of fostering the study of classical languages in the United States and Canada. Membership is open to any person who is committed to the preservation and advancement of our classical inheritance from Greece and Rome.  The League includes teachers of Latin, Greek, and Classics on elementary, secondary, and college levels. The League is celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2009.

Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) : North America's oldest and largest organization devoted to the world of archaeology with over 200,000 members belonging to more than 100 local AIA societies in the United States, Canada, and overseas, united by a shared passion for archaeology and its role in furthering human knowledge.

AIA Central Michigan (East Lansing)

Classical Association of the Middle West and South : CAMWS was founded at the University of Chicago in 1905 and incorporated in the State of Missouri on July 13, 1948.  Its members (c. 1500) are primarily college and university professors, K-12 teachers, and graduate students whose specialty is Classics:  Classical languages (Greek and Latin) and the world of ancient Greece and Rome. CAMWS publishes a quarterly, The Classical Journal (ISSN 0009-8353; circulation c. 2300), and a Newsletter (published three times a year).  The Annual Meeting of CAMWS takes place in the spring, traditionally the week after Easter.

Society for Classical Studies  : founded in 1869 as the American Philological Association (APA) by "professors, friends, and patrons of linguistic science," the APA is now the principal learned society in North America for the study of ancient Greek and Roman languages, literatures, and civilizations.

Associations Unlimited.  Looking for more associations?  MSU faculty and staff can search this database.  There are currently 81 listed under Classical Studies.  Link still works as of January 9, 2017.

Classical Studies at Michigan State University

The Classics faculty of the Department of Romance and Classical Studies teaches courses and conducts specialized research in the languages, literatures, and social institutions of ancient Greece and Rome. The study of Greek and Roman civilization, an enduring intellectual tradition that extends over more than two millennia, remains a challenging and enriching experience in itself. Moreover, the attempt to understand and appreciate classical antiquity by means of a variety of modern methodologies and disciplines necessarily informs our understanding and appreciation of contemporary society and culture.

Carl A. Anderson (Ph.D., University of Michigan)
Special research and teaching interests : Greek literature, Greek comedy, ancient religion, Greek and Roman society.
Publications: Athena's Epithets: Their Stuctural Significance in Plays of Aristophanes (Teubner 1995); articles in American Journal of Philology, Transactions of the American Philological Association, Zeitschrift fur Papyrologie und Epigrafik.
Phone : (517) 884-6306

Jon Frey (PhD, University of California, Berkeley).
Joint appointment in both Arts and Classics
Special research and teaching interests : Identity in Late Antiquity, Early Christianity in the Eastern Mediterranean, Late Roman Archaeology.
Often takes study abroad classes to Greece during the summer.
Campus Address: Michigan State University, 212 Old Horticulture, East Lansing, MI 48824-1112
Phone: (517) 355-0237
Web link : 

Patricia Lunn
Taught CLA 400 : Women in Classical Greek Society
Romance and Classical Studies

John Rauk (Ph.D., University of Michigan).
Special research and teaching interests : Latin literature, Homer, Augustan poetry, literary criticism, Roman law.
Publications: articles in Classical Philology, Transactions of the American Philological Association, Greek-Roman-Byzantine Studies, Phoenix.
Campus address : Michigan State University, 214 Old Horticulture, East Lansing, MI 48824-1112
E-mail :
Phone : (517) 884-6305
Web link :

William Blake Tyrrell (Ph.D., University of Washington)
Special research and teaching interests : Mythology, Greek tragedy, women in Greek and Roman society.
Publications: Amazons: A Study in Athenian Mythmaking (Baltimore & London, 1984), Athenian Myths & Institutions, with Frieda S. Brown (Oxford 1991), numerous scholarly articles.
Campus address : Michigan State University, 216 Old Horticulture, East Lansing, MI 48824-1112
E-mail :
Phone : (517) 884-6307
Web link:

Anna Kirkwood-Graham (Ph.D., University of Toronto).
Assistant Professor
Special research and teaching interests : Medieval Latin, Paleography.

Christopher Frilingos (Ph.D. Univ. of N. Carolina) (Appointment in Dept. of Religious Studies).
Associate Professor
Special research and teaching interests : Early Christianity; Pagans, Christians, and Jews: Religious Identity in the Ancient World
Campus address : Michigan State University, 116 Morrill Hall, East Lansing, Michigan 48824
Phone: (517) 432-0062
Web link :

Debra Nails (Ph.D. University of the Witwatersrand). (Appointment in Dept. of Philosophy)
Special research and teaching interests : Greek and Early Modern Philosophy, Ethics
Publications : Plato's Symposium: Issues in Interpretation and Reception. Hellenic Studies Series 22 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006). Ed. with J. H. Lesher and Frisbee C. C. Sheffield. xii + 446 pp.; The People of Plato: A Prosopography of Plato and Other Socratics (Indianapolis and Cambridge: Hackett Publishing, 2002), xlviii + 414 pp.; Agora, Academy, and the Conduct of Philosophy. Philosophical Studies Series 63 (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1995), xxii + 264 pp.
Campus address : Michigan State University, 518 South Kedzie Hall, East Lansing , MI 48824-1032
Phone: (517) 355-4490
Web link :

 Matthew Richard Zinman
Zinman and other James Madison College faculty introduce their students to Thucydides' the Peloponnesian War as a classic work on international relations.
Campus address : 321 S. Case Hall, E. Lansing, MI 48825-1210
E-mail :
Phone : (517) 353-9396

Christopher P. Long
Professor of Philosophy and Dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University.
His extensive publications in Ancient Greek and Contemporary Continental Philosophy include three books: The Ethics of Ontology: Rethinking an Aristotelian Legacy (SUNY 2004), Aristotle On the Nature of Truth (Cambridge 2010), and an enhanced digital book entitled, Socratic and Platonic Political Philosophy: Practicing a Politics of Reading (Cambridge 2014). The digital platform of the enhanced digital book enables readers to engage directly with the author in an online community.

Phone: 517-355-4597

Breaking News

The first students at Michigan Agricultural College weren't offered classes in Latin and Greek. It was founded as a farmers college. The practical arts and sciences took precedence over Virgil and Homer.

There is a chance that future students at Michigan State University won't be able to take those courses either.

The university's classical studies major is one of more than two dozen degree programs facing elimination as MSU prepares for what its leaders believe will be even leaner economic times ahead.

Classical studies was once the backbone of American higher education. It is the only branch of the humanities mentioned in the Morrill Act of 1862, which established the nation's land grant universities (though Michigan Agricultural College, which became MSU, had been founded seven years earlier).

Even today, if the program should die, MSU would be the only Big Ten school without a classics major, even as it's the only one with a mascot plucked from ancient Greece.

Professors and students say the prospect of eliminating the program is not just a question of course content, but of educational values.

"I think there should be more to MSU than just classes in engineering and a flashy football team," said Julia Lathin, a senior classical studies major. "There are deeper traditions that should be kept alive. Just because something is old, doesn't mean it shouldn't be continued and be studied."

Karin Wurst, dean of MSU's College of Arts and Letters, said the program was targeted for elimination "due to the low number of graduates in the last several years" - there have been 16 since the major took its current form in 2006 - adding that classics content would be available through general education courses and in other departments.

Classics professor John Rauk said it's not that simple. Classics faculty members already teach large introductory courses which enroll many nonmajors, he said, and have offered to teach more if the major is allowed to survive.

If it's not, he said, it would be "an unnecessary loss."

Other overhead

Wurst disputes his assessment of the economics.

"There is always administrative overhead even if it is not in the forms of expensive labs etc.," she said.

"A room that is occupied by a very small class cannot be utilized for a larger class. ... Also, whether a professor teaches five or 50 students makes a difference."

But she declined to give a specific estimate of how much the university might save and said that the three tenured faculty in the program would retain their jobs.

Wurst also said she intends to keep offering instruction in Latin and Greek.

But Rauk said faculty members were told they could continue teaching those languages only if they did it on top of their normal course loads for no additional pay, which he, for one, isn't willing to do.

"Why should we work without pay to offer languages that are part of a program that the college is cutting for no reason," he said.

Program supporters

The decision on whether to do away with classical studies at MSU might not come for months.

In the meantime, the program has found supporters. The American Philological Society has written to MSU's administration. An online petition has garnered more than 1,600 signatures.

To let the program go would be "a big embarrassment for the university," said Paul Iversen, an MSU alumnus who is now a classics professor at Case Western Reserve.

"It would just immediately move Michigan State to the bottom of the pile in humanities," he said.

In one single stroke, it says a horrible thing about the sort of values and decision making that Michigan State is privileging."

"Cutting the classical studies major does not save any money," he said. "This paradox has not been explained, and it suggests that the administration's response to our budget problems may not be well thought out."

For the full article, see Matthew Miller, "MSU major in classical studies may be dropped; Dean: Too few grads may mean end of program", Lansing State Journal, November 27, 2009.

For more information, see Classics Under Threat at MSU by John Rauk


The civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome were remarkable for the scope of their intellectual achievements, ambition and power. Their impact on the formation and development of the languages, societies, and ideologies of Europe in subsequent eras has ensured their continuing relevance to the modern world. Classics is the study of these civilizations, of their languages, literature, history, philosophy, religion, science, art, and archaeology. It is the traditional basis of a liberal education, providing a vital part of the knowledge of the past which is necessary to understand (and change) the present....   Source : Cornell University Classics Department.

The study of the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome is the origin of the liberal arts and a sound foundation for investigating the modern world. Philosophy, democracy, history, political science, and drama originate in classical Athens. Physics traces its origins to the Greek scientific revolution in Ionia. The founding fathers created three balanced branches of government after the philosophical ideal in the Histories of Polybius. Western law claims descent from Justinian's Code, and medicine owes its physician's oath to the Greek doctor, Hippocrates, and its scientific method to the Roman doctor, Galen. Shakespeare's plays adapt the Roman dramas of Plautus and Seneca. The plans of our great modern capitals — Paris, Berlin, London, St. Petersburg and Washington — all imitate the triumphal avenues of Augustan Rome.  Source: Eastern Carolina University, Classical Studies.

Classics Wikipedia entry.

Ancient Egypt Wikipedia entry.

Ancient Greece Wikipedia entry.

Hellentistic Civilization Wikipedia entry.

Carthaginian Republic Wikipedia entry.

Ancient Rome Wikipedia entry.

Roman Empire Wikipedia entry.

Byzantine Empire Wikipedia entry.

Why Classics? YouTube Clip

Famous Romans : Great Courses from Kanopy

Famous Romans : These 24 lectures retell the lives of the remarkable individuals - the statesmen, thinkers, warriors, and writers - who shaped the history of the Roman Empire and, by extension, our own history and culture.

Among the fascinating gallery of individuals whose lives, ideas, actions, and legacies you'll explore are Hannibal (who caused the Second Punic War personally, much as Adolf Hitler caused World War II), Augustus (who, beginning at the age of just 19, brilliantly followed a doctrine of ruthless expediency in order to rescue Rome from a century of civil war), and Marcus Aurelius (that most noble and philosophic of rulers who may have hastened the Empire's decline by tolerating the wicked cruelty of his heir). Professor Fears divides his presentation into three "turning point" epochs in Roman history: Rome's war with Hannibal (the Second Punic War); Caesar and the end of the Roman Republic; and the imperial era between Augustus and Marcus Aurelius.

As he presents the great figures of each period, he makes them seem personal and immediate. As you study these and many other significant Romans, you'll probe fundamental questions about the political and cultural history of Rome. What was the impact of Greek civilization on the Romans? Why did the Roman people, at the height of military, political, and economic power, abandon their republican liberty for the dictatorship of Caesar and his successors? What made the 2nd century A.D. one the most creative periods in world history? And why did the central figures of Roman history hold so much appeal for America's Founding Fathers?

Publius Cornelius Scipio : It is a March day in 218 B.C., the year that will see the beginning of the Second Punic War. Join the consul P. Cornelius Scipio and his son as they tour the Forum, discussing its statues of heroes from Rome's early days.

Hannibal : Few Romans did as much to make Rome a world power as did its worst enemy, Hannibal. This lecture follows the great Carthaginian general as he leads 59,000 men and 37 elephants over the Pyrenees, fights his way across Gaul, and pushes through the Alps into Italy.

Gaius Flaminius : On a foggy morning in 217 B.C., a Roman army marches along the shore of Lake Trasimene in central Italy. The career of its commander Flaminius opens a window on both Roman politics and the skill of Hannibal, who lies in wait in the hills above.

Quintus Fabius Maximus : The events at Trasimene led the Senate to name Fabius as dictator for six months. Why did he adopt his famous - and at the time, highly unpopular - strategy of avoiding battle with Hannibal?

Scipio Africanus the Elder : The son of the consul of 218 B.C., Africanus earned his sobriquet by crushing Hannibal in 202 at Zama (now Tunisia), one of the most decisive battles in world history. Here we compare Scipio and Hannibal and the lessons they offer.

Scipio the Younger : Here we stand with the grandson of Africanus and his teacher Polybius, quoting Homer and thinking of Rome's own future, as we watch Carthage fall in a terrible illustration of the Roman proverb "vae victis" ("woe to the conquered").

Tiberius and Gaius Graccus : Rome had conquered Carthage, only to wind up divided against itself as wealth displaced virtue and undermined the constitution. Seeing the urgent need for reform, these descendants of the Scipio line prepared to sacrifice everything to achieve it.

Crassus : Amid the turmoil and corruption of the late Republic, men of towering capacity strove to impose their will on Rome's destiny. Crassus made himself the richest man in Rome, and then sought political and military triumph.

Gaius Julius Caesar : To Rome's top politicians, Caesar at first seemed nothing more than a political hack of little ability and less character. The challenge of conquering Gaul transformed Caesar and changed world history, laying the foundations for the civilization of France and Western Europe.

Caesar and Vercingetorix : Caesar's brilliant history, The Gallic War, recounts his defeat of the Celtic hero Vercingetorix and reveals his mastery of strategy, tactics, logistics, battlefield command, and peace settlements.

Pompey the Great : In 49 B.C., Caesar crossed the Rubicon and plunged Rome into civil war. He did it in the cause of liberty for the Roman people, but his goal was to establish himself as dictator. In this crisis, the supporters of republican liberty turned to Pompey.

Cato the Younger : At Valley Forge, desperate to strengthen the morale of his starving, freezing men, George Washington had his officers put on Joseph Addison's play about Cato. This lecture explains why.

Brutus and the Opposition to Caesar : It is March 15, 44 B.C., and you are with Caesar as he walks to a meeting of the Senate in the Theater of Pompey, where he will be murdered by a conspiracy of senators led by Marcus Junius Brutus. Why did Brutus kill Caesar? What consequences flowed from this bloody deed?

Cicero : Statesman, philosopher, orator, and humanist, Cicero is one of Rome's greatest sons, and proof that a lawyer can succeed without sacrificing integrity. He upheld justice, moderation, and liberty in troubled times, and gave his life for these ideals.

Augustus : The adoption of his great-nephew, Gaius Octavius, is the most compelling evidence of Caesar's foresight. Only 19 at the time of Caesar's death, as the princeps (First Citizen), Augustus would secure centuries of unprecedented peace and prosperity.

Vergil : Augustus enlisted the finest intellectual, literary, and artistic talent to create monuments of enduring excellence to his ideals and achievements. Did Vergil, the greatest of all Latin poets, craft The Aeneid as an allegory of Augustus?

Claudius : A sign of the Augustan system's genius was its ability to survive eccentric or even mad emperors. History is fascinated by those emperors' excesses, which indeed can be highly instructive. Claudius, for all his oddness, was a shrewd and able ruler.

Nero : To the senator and historian Tacitus, Nero illustrated the grim reality of the principate and the fate of the Roman people, who had surrendered liberty for security only to find their fate in the hands of a mad tyrant.

Trajan : The rise of this brave and able emperor testifies to the collective political wisdom of the Senate. He was a military leader and statesman of vision whose domestic and foreign policy wrought fundamental changes in the imperial system of Augustus.

Hadrian : Hadrian, Trajan's successor, is a gifted, perplexing, and controversial figure. A fine soldier and public servant, he was also an intellectual innovator and an architect of genius. But few of his contemporaries understood him.

Epictetus : Born a slave, he was exiled from Rome for speaking too freely to the emperor. Despite offers to return, he lived on in a backwater, becoming one of the greatest exponents of that vastly influential approach to life known as Stoicism.

Apulius : A lawyer, intellectual, and family man, Apuleius had a fascinating career that brings to life the 2nd century, an age much like our own. His novel "The Golden Ass" is both a ribald yarn and a touching allegory of the human soul thirsting for redemption.

Plutarch, Seutonius, and Tacitus : Worthy heirs of Herodotus and Thucydides, these authors embody the essence of the classical tradition of history: its concern with greatness of theme and greatness of soul, its high moral seriousness, and its noble regard for freedom.

Marcus Aurelius : With Marcus Aurelius, a Stoic wore the imperial purple. No emperor was more dedicated or humane. His "Meditations" remain a beacon for all who would go through life with honesty and compassion. But how did he fare as a ruler?

Classical Studies Courses on DVD

All of these classes are available on DVD in the Digital and Multimedia Center.

Classical Mythology  / Elizabeth Vandiver.  Chantilly, VA : Teaching Co., c2000.  4 DVD videodiscs (ca. 720 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. + 2 course guidebooks (71 p. each ; 22 cm.)  BL782 .V36 2007 VideoDVD : In this set of 24 lectures, Professor Elizabeth Vandiver, University of Maryland, introduces the student to the primary characters and most important stories of classical Greek and Roman mythology. She also surveys some of the leading theoretical approaches to understanding myth in general and classical myth in particular....From Athena to Zeus, the characters and stories of classical mythology have been both unforgettable and profoundly influential. They have inspired and shaped everything from great art and literature, to our notions of sexuality and gender roles, to the themes of popular films and TV shows.....Classical Mythology is an introduction to the primary characters and most important stories of classical Greek and Roman mythology. Among those you will study are the accounts of the creation of the world in Hesiod's Theogony and Ovid's Metamorphoses; the gods Zeus, Apollo, Demeter, Persephone, Hermes, Dionysos, and Aphrodite; the Greek Heroes, Theseus and Heracles (Hercules in the Roman version); and the most famous of all classical myths, the Trojan War.

Ancient Greek Civilization  / Jeremy McInerney. Chantilly, VA : Teaching Co., c1998.  4 videodiscs (ca. 720 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. + 2 course guidebooks in 1 (106 p., 22 cm.)  DF77 .M35 1998 VideoDVD : Taught By Professor Jeremy McInerney, Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley,
University of Pennsylvania.  Why do the ancient Greeks occupy such a prominent place in conceptions of Western culture and identity? What about them made generations of influential scholars and writers view Hellenic culture as the uniquely essential starting point for understanding the art and reflection that define the West? Does this view tell the whole story? Lectures on Greek history from the late Bronze Age to the time of Alexander the Great, concentrating on the period from 600 to 400 B.C.

The History of Ancient Rome  / Garrett G. Fagan.  Springfield, Va. : Teaching Co., [2003]  8 DVD videodiscs in 4 cases (ca. 1440 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. + 4 course guidebooks in 1 (iv, 234 p. ; 19 cm.) DG213 .F34 2003 VideoDVD : There are many reasons to study ancient Rome....Rome's span was vast. In the regional, restless, and shifting history of continental Europe, the Roman Empire stands as a towering monument to scale and stability. At its height, the Roman Empire, unified in politics and law, stretched from the sands of Syria to the moors of Scotland, and it stood for almost 700 years....Rome's influence is indelible. Europe and the world owe a huge cultural debt to Rome in so many fields of human endeavor, such as art, architecture, engineering, language, literature, law, and religion. In this course you see how a small village of shepherds and farmers rose to tower over the civilized world of its day and left an indelible mark on history....Rome's story is riveting. Professor Garrett G. Fagan draws on a wealth of primary and secondary sources, including recent historical and archaeological scholarship, to introduce the fascinating tale of Rome's rise and decline. You learn about all the famous events and personalities:

  • Horatius at the bridge
  • Hannibal crossing the Alps during Rome's life-or-death war with Carthage
  • Caesar assassinated before a statue of his archrival Pompey
  • Doomed lovers Antony and Cleopatra
  • Mad and venal emperors Nero and Caligula
  • The conversion of Constantine, and more.

From pre-Roman Italy through the long centuries of Republican and then Imperial rule, Professor Fagan interweaves narrative and analysis. Chronologically, the focus is on the years from 200 B.C.E. to 200 A.D., when Roman power was at its height....The narrative of the rise and fall of Rome is itself compelling, and Professor Fagan's richly detailed and often humorous discussions of Roman life are uniquely memorable. You study women and the family, slaves, cities, religious customs, the ubiquitous and beloved institution of public bathing, the deep cultural impact of Hellenism, and such famous Roman amusements as chariot racing and gladiatorial games.  Includes more than 200 illustrations, including maps, portraits, diagrams, and photographs of Roman ruins and artifacts.

Great Battles of the Ancient World / Garrett G. Fagan.  Chantilly, VA : Teaching Company, c2005. 4 DVD videodiscs (720 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 course guidebook (iv, 169 p. ; 19 cm.)  U29 .G74 2005 VideoDVD : Hollywood has gone to elaborate lengths to recreate the violence and mayhem of ancient warfare in movies such as Gladiator and Troy. But what were ancient battles really like? What weapons, tactics, armor, training, and logistics were used? And what were the crucial factors that could turn the tide of battle, giving one side victory and consigning the other to slaughter, capture, or, at best, escape to fight another day?...A professor of classics and history at The Pennsylvania State University and the teacher of our immensely popular course, The History of Ancient Rome, Dr. Garrett G. Fagan has devoted extensive study to ancient warfare. In these 24 lectures he takes you into the thick of combat in some of the most notable battles fought in the Mediterranean region from prehistoric times to the 4th century A.D.

The Foundations of Western Civilization / Thomas F. X. Noble.  Chantilly, VA : The Teaching Company., c2002.  8 DVD videodiscs (ca. 1440 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 course guidebook (iv, 304 p. ; 19 cm.) CB245 .N62 2002 VideoDVD : Award-winning scholar and teacher Thomas F. X. Noble of the University of Notre Dame (PH.D. Michigan State University) invites you to explore the vast and rich territory of Western civilization.  From the late stages of the Agricultural Revolution to the doorstep of the Scientific Revolution, this course covers western history from roughly 3000 B.C. to A.D. 1600, when the "foundations" of the modern West come into view. Beginning in the ancient Near East, moving to Greece and Rome, the course explores the shape and impact of large ancient empires, including those of Persia and Alexander the Great. It then considers Western Europe as it expands physically and culturally, and initiates the globalization of Western civilization with the Portuguese and Spanish voyages of exploration and discovery.  Illustrated with about 400 images, including maps, portraits, photographs, drawings, and on-screen graphics.

Free Classical Studies Courses

Ancient Greece: City and Society - Free iTunes Audio - La Trobe University, Australia.  This subject deals with the cultural history of the ancient Greek world through both textual sources and the material evidence of art and archaeology. The period covered runs from the Iron Age world of Archaic Greece through to the late Classical period (roughly from the 8th century to the 4th century BCE). We will concentrate mainly on Athens and mainland Greece, but we will also focus on the Greek expansion into other parts of the Mediterranean world (Sicily and South Italy) in the process of colonisation. Historical texts will be combined with literary sources and archaeology to explore the physical nature of ancient Greek cities and social issues such as the position of women, ethnicity, sexuality and slavery in the ancient Greek world.

Ancient Greece: Myth, Art & War - Free iTunes Audio - Dr Gillian Shepherd, La Trobe University - Australia.  In this subject students are introduced to the diversity of the ancient Greek achievement, which has exercised a fundamental and continuing influence upon later European literature and culture. The subject commences with a detailed treatment of Homer's Iliad and the myth of the Trojan war. This is one of the dominant myths in the Greek tradition and is narrated in some detail in epic poetry, in drama, and in art and architecture. We explore how myths are 'read' in their historical context, especially in the contexts of the Persian and Peloponnesian wars of the 5th Century BC. A variety of sources are treated to enable students to build up a picture of Greek society as a whole. Texts are read in translation and students are encouraged to consider certain questions of method, (for example, historical versus literary evidence) in dealing with the study of a culture removed in time and nature from our own.

Ancient Greek History Free Online Course - Donald Kagan, Yale.  Taught by Yale professor Donald Kagan, this introductory course in Greek history traces "the development of Greek civilization as manifested in political, intellectual, and creative achievements from the Bronze Age to the end of the classical period." In it, students "read original sources in translation as well as the works of modern scholars." You can watch the 24 video lectures above, or find them on YouTube. The lectures also appear on iTunes in audio and video. More information about the course, including the syllabus, can be found on this Yale website.

The Ancient Greeks - Coursera - A course offered by Andrew Szegedy-Maszak, Wesleyan University. This is a survey of ancient Greek history from the Bronze Age to the death of Socrates in 399 BCE. Along with studying the most important events and personalities, we will consider broader issues such as political and cultural values and methods of historical interpretation.

The Ancient Mediterranean World - Free Online Audio - Isabelle Pafford, UC Berkeley.

Belisarius - A History.  By Andy Bones. Podcasts, 2014.     ITunes.

Classical Mythology - Free iTunes Video - Joseph Hughes, Missouri State. 

Classical Mythology  - Free iTunes Audio - Rhiannon Evans,  La Trobe University -Australia.   In this subject we explore Greek and Roman mythology, with particular reference to some core narratives and themes. Greek mythology is very focused around hero myths, and this is a central aspect of our study. Heroes studied in the subject include Heracles, Jason, Perseus, Bellerophon and Odysseus. We also examine some key thematic elements of Classical mythology- the figure of the monster, the sexual conduct of gods and mortals, conception and birth, fire, images of the underworld and life after death. The adaption of Greek myth in Italy (Entruscan and Roman) to meet the needs of different cultures will be explored. Sources dealt with in the subject include epic poetry, drama, painted vases, tomb paintings, and architectural remains. We conclude the subject with some modern cinematic adaptations of mythic themes from the ancient world.

Concepts of the Hero in Greek Civilization - Free Online Course - Greg Nagy, Harvard. 

Emperors of Rome - Free iTunes Audio - Rhiannon Evans, La Trobe University, Australia

Epics of Rome - Free iTunes Video - Rhiannon Evans, LaTrobe University-Australia. This subject explores Ancient Roman epic poetry, the literary genre which deals with grand mythical narratives involving heroes, gods, war, and love affairs.  Epic was the most prestigious literary form in the ancient world. Roman poets adapted and developed Greek epic, particularly influenced by the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey. Roman epics similarly deal with divine and heroic material, but Roman poets also weave contemporary and topical themes into the mythical subject matter.  The primary text for this subject is Ovid's Metamorphoses, which tells many comic tales of the gods in love and encounters between heroes and monsters through a series of transformations. 

Greek and Roman Mythology - Class Central -  Peter Struck, University of Pennsylvania.   Myths are traditional stories that have endured over a long time. Some of them have to do with events of great importance, such as the founding of a nation. Others tell the stories of great heroes and heroines and their exploits and courage in the face of adversity. Still others are simple tales about otherwise unremarkable people who get into trouble or do some great deed. What are we to make of all these tales, and why do people seem to like to hear them? This course will focus on the myths of ancient Greece and Rome, as a way of exploring the nature of myth and the function it plays for individuals, societies, and nations. We will also pay some attention to the way the Greeks and Romans themselves understood their own myths. Are myths subtle codes that contain some universal truth? Are they a window on the deep recesses of a particular culture? Are they a set of blinders that all of us wear, though we do not realize it? Or are they just entertaining stories that people like to tell over and over? This course will investigate these questions through a variety of topics, including the creation of the universe, the relationship between gods and mortals, human nature, religion, the family, sex, love, madness, and death.

HannibaliTunes – Patrick Hunt, Stanford  : Hannibal is a name that evoked fear among the ancient Romans for decades. His courage, cunning and intrepid march across the dangerous Alps in 218 BCE with his army and war elephants make for some of the most exciting passages found in ancient historical texts written by Polybius, Livy, and Appian. And they continue to inspire historians and archaeologists today. The mystery of his exact route is still a topic of debate, one that has consumed Patrick Hunt (Director of Stanford’s Alpine Archaeology Project) for more than a decade. This course examines Hannibal’s childhood and his young soldierly exploits in Spain. Then it follows him over the Pyrenees and into Gaul, the Alps, Italy, and beyond, examining his victories over the Romans, his brilliance as a military strategist, and his legacy after the Punic Wars. Along the way, students will learn about archaeologists’ efforts to retrace Hannibal’s journey through the Alps and the cutting-edge methods that they are using. Hunt has been on foot over every major Alpine pass and has now determined the most probable sites where archaeological evidence can be found to help solve the mystery. Presented by the Stanford Continuing Studies Program.

Hannibal and the Punic Wars.  Jamie Redfern. Audio podcasts, 2015-2016..  Available via ITunes. 

History of Alexander Remastered.  Audio podcast.  Available va ITunes.

History of Rome Podcasts. Broadcast from 2010 through 2013. 

Myths and History of Ancient Greece and Rome podcasts.

Roman Architecture - Free Online Course - Diana E. E. Kleiner, Yale

Roman Emperors Totalus Rankium.  podcasts.

The Roman World - Free iTunes Video - Rhiannon Evans, La Trobe University - Australia.  This subject deals with the cultural history of ancient Rome - its literature, its mythology, its art and architecture, and its political and civil institutions. From its earliest, mythical beginnings, we shall trace Roman history and culture through republic into the early empire, concentrating on the periods of Julius Caesar and the first emperor, Augustus. The subject will explore the military and social turmoil associated with civil war, the political use of mythology and literature by Roman writers like Vergil, Ovid and Livy, the great building programmes of the period, and the artistic developments of the Roman world. It is war that defines this period- both war with others and civil war (both of which are famously documented by Julius Caesar). We shall be exploring the way that militarism enters into all parts of Roman life in the period, and the way that both Greek and Italian myths such as the Trojan war and the story of Romulus are used to define and refine Roman identity.

Virgil’s Aeneid: Anatomy of a ClassicFree iTunes Audio - Susanna Braund, Stanford University.  The central text in the canon of Latin literature is Virgil’s Aeneid, an epic poem in twelve books composed more than two thousand years ago under the Roman emperor Augustus. The poem was an instant hit. It became a school text immediately and has remained central to studies of Roman culture to the present day. How can a poem created in such a remote literary and social environment speak so eloquently to subsequent ages? In this course we will discover what kind of poem this is and what kind of hero Aeneas is. Our studies will focus chiefly on the poem itself and on wider aspects of Roman culture. Presented by the Stanford Continuing Studies Program.

Class Central - Look here to see if anyone is offering free online courses, via MOOC format, or in other ways. 

Coursera - Another source for online classes.

Open Culture Free Online Courses.

Ask a Librarian

Subject Librarian

Profile Photo
Amanda Tickner
(517) 884-9432