ClassicsClassics, particularly within the Western University tradition, when used as a singular noun, means the study of the language, literature, history, art, and other aspects of Greek and Roman culture during the time frame known as classical antiquity. As a plural noun "classics" can refer to texts written in the ancient Mediterranean world. The study of classics is a primary subject for the humanities, and the people reading classics are sometimes called humanists.
The word is derived from the Latin classicus which literally means "belonging to the highest class of citizens". Furthermore, its meaning intimates "superiority, authority and even perfection". "Classicus occurs first in Aulus Gellius, a Roman author of the second century A. D. who in his miscellany Noctes Atticae (19, 8, 15) refers to classicus scriptor, non proletarius. He was ranking writers according to the classification of the Roman taxation classes.
This method was started when the Greeks were constantly ranking their cultural work. The word they used was canon; ancient Greek for a carpenter's rule. Moreover, early Chrisian Church Fathers used this term to classify authoritative texts of the New Testament. This rule further helped in the preservation of works since writing platforms of vellum and papyrus and methods of reproduction was not cheap. The title of canon placed on a work meant that it would be more easily preserved for future generations. In modern times, a Western canon was collated that defined the best of Western culture.
At the Alexandrian Library, the ancient scholars coined another term for canonized authors, hoi enkrithentes; "the admitted" or "the included".
Classical education was considered the best training for implanting the life of moral excellence arete (paideia) hence a good citizen. It furnished students with intellectual and aesthetic appreciation for "the best which has been thought and said in the world". Copleston, an Oxford classicist said that classical education "communicates to the mind...a high sense of honour, a disdain of death in a good cause, (and) a passionate devotion to the welfare of one's country". Cicero commented, "All literature, all philosophical treatises, all the voices of antiquity are full of examples for imitation, which would all lie unseen in darkness without the light of literature".
Practically every university and college in England and America had a classical department. Classical studies formed the basis for a liberal arts education and were considered necessary for the advancement and preservation of a country's liberty and Western culture. Since the l960's, due to modern cultural attacks and lack of interest, classical departments have been closing.
Classic definition of republic
Greek language, Greek mythology, Greek literature
Ancient Greek culture is not monolithic: it consists of two completely different strains corresponding to two different peoples: the Ionian and the Dorian.
Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic, Roman Empire
Latin, Latin literature, Rhetoric
- Post-classical scholarship
Classics can also mean (typically in non-academic contexts) classic books. In ancient China these might include:
- Chinese classic texts
- Karl Otfried Müller German, Theodor Mommsen, Thomas Tyrwhitt, Pierre Henri Larcher, Ada AdlerDanish, Werner JaegerGerman, Edith HamiltonAmerican, Bernard Knox, (A. E. Taylor), (Gregory Vlastos)
- "Nor can I do better, in conclusion, than impress upon you the study of Greek literature, which not only elevates above the vulgar herd but leads not infrequently to positions of considerable emolument."
—Thomas Gaisford, Christmas sermon, Christ Church, Oxford.
- "Classicism in Literature", René Wellek, Dictionary of the History of Ideas, Studies of Selected Pivotal Ideas, ed. by Philip P. Wiener, Charles Scribner's Sons, NY, l968, l973.
- The Oldest Dead White European Males, And Other Reflections on the Classics, Bernard Knox, W. W. Norton & Co., NY, London, l993.
Western Classical Reference Bibliography
- Harper's Dictionary of Classical Literature and Antiquities, ed. by Harry Thurston Peck, Cooper Square Publishers, Inc., l962. (1701 pages)
- The New Century Classical Handbook, ed. by Catherine B. Avery, Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc., Ny, l962. (1162 pages)
- The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature, ed. by M.C. Howatson, Oxford University Press, NY, l989. (615 pages)
- Loeb Classical Library
- Brush Up Your Classics, Michael Macrone, Gramercy Books, NY, l991. (Guide to famous words, phrases and stories of Greek classics.)
Source | Copyright
Webmasters: Add your website here:
Readers: Edit |
Alexandria on the Web
Materials on the relationship between cosmology, philosophy, myth, and culture, sponsored by the Alexandria journal.
A Bibliography of the Ancient Novel
An initial bibliography of the ancient Novel, related genres and interesting secondary literature, with more than 2000 items.
Voice of the Shuttle: Classical Studies
A large index of links to various classical history, art, archaeology, language and literature journals, texts, syllabi, forums, and other resources. From the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Ancient Scripts of the World
Indexed by region, with articles on writing systems, sounds and phonetics, historical linguistics, and related study materials.
Studies in the Classics
Essays, texts, and studies on classical literature and language from Prof. William Harris of Middlebury College.
Classical Literature/Language at About.com
Collection of resources and links pertaining to the Greco-Roman authors and literature.
Classical Studies (humanities.classics) FAQ
Frequently asked questions for the newsgroup humanities.classics. Includes bibliographies, glossaries and compendia of mythological characters. Maintenance ceased August 2000.
A collection of translated texts and discussions from Chinese, Greco-Roman, Rosicrucian, and other philosophy, mythology, and martial arts.
Why Study Classics
Explains what a course in Classical Studies covers and its importance for modern life.
Ancient & Modern
Essays discussing areas of similarity between the Ancient and Modern worlds, each inspired by a Greek or Latin citation.
Shakespeare's Sources Online: Latin and Greek Authors
Lists links to translations and texts of classical sources used by William Shakespeare.
Leuven Database of Ancient Books (LDAB)
Searchable database aiming to catalog all ancient literary texts with information including a description of the text, language, medium, authors, current location, and plates. Sponsored by the Catholic University of Leuven.
ZIP files of plain text translations of Greek and Latin writers of antiquity, as well as links to other sites about ancient civilization and literature.
Henry Sumner Maine's 1861 compilation of ancient laws dealing with property, inheritance, crime, civil laws.
Summer Courses in the Classics
A list of classics courses offered during the summer by colleges and universities throughout the world, sorted by discipline and subject of study.
Latin and Greek Authors on the Web
Listings of websites and webpages that are devoted to a particular Latin or Greek author, including texts.
Classical Drama Sites
A list of links to sites about classical drama and ancient theatre.
Library, Bibliographic, & Lexical Resources
"Library and Textual Resources Bibliographical Assistance Periodicals Publishers' Catalogues and On-Line Bookstores Grammars, Lexical Resources ... " all related to the Classics.
Library of Congress Resources for Greek and Latin Classics
Resources for Greek and Latin Classics
Orange St. Press Classics
Free classic literature in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). View online, download, print.
Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents
The Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents was established in 1995 under the auspices of Oxford University's Faculty of Literae Humaniores to provide a focus for the study of ancient documents in Oxford.
A list of classical and Biblical-oriented websites maintained by a professor at Rutgers University.
Maecenas: Images of Ancient Greece and Rome
Images of Ancient Greece and Rome, free for non-commercial download and use.
Text Tools and Lexica
From The Perseus Project. Includes an English/Greek Word Search, English/Latin Word Search, Liddell Scott-Jones Greek Lexicon, and Lewis and Short Latin Dictionary.
Greek and Egyptian magic literary resources
San Antonio College LitWeb Classical Literature Outline
A good, diverse hypertext list
The Internet Classics Archive
Provides 441 online works of classical literature with a powerful search facility. A booklist links directly to relevant pages in online bookshops. Classical trivia questions can be posted and answered.
Ancient History Sourcebook
Extensive selection of links, study guides, and articles pertaining to the ancient Near East and ancient Mediterranean worlds, as well as some public domain translations of classical texts. At Fordham.
Corinth Computer Project
Extensive multimedia site incorporating historical, literary and archaeological information from Corinth, Greece during the Roman era. Suitable for scholars, students, and the public at large.
Language learning site which provides free Greek and Latin grammars, reading material, classical e-books and other learning resources and downloads.
Internet Resources for Classical Studies
Book reviews, bibliography, and language, art, culture, and mythology links for students of antiquity. From Indiana University.
Electronic Resources for Classicists
Extensive UC Irvine gateway to directories, bibliographies, journals, course materials, fonts, and other resources for scholars in classical studies.
What Do You Want to Know Today?
Includes searches on indexes to scholarly journals, dictionaries, image archives, listserve archives, online translators, and Classics web search engines.
Torrey Philemon's Muses
Articles on mythology and ancient Greek/Roman literature, and resources.
Classics Technology Center
A repository of tools such as guides, games, and glossaries for educators and other classicists, to enhance the use of computer technology in classics education.
Greek 'n' Stuff
Learn biblical Greek or classical Latin. Bible nuggets. Homeschool links/classical links/family pages.
Greek and Latin Language Resources
A collection of Classics links from a Graeco-Roman Neo-pagan site.
Classics humor including "Iliad: the Musical," original fan art/fan fiction, and jokes about the ancient world.
Columns finding humor and contemporary relevance in the classics, with an emphasis upon Greek, Roman, and Biblical literature.
Directory of academic classics websites catalogued by scholars.