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The deep past informs our vital present.

Much of Western culture flows from the civilizations that flourished in the Mediterranean before the birth of Christ. From politics to architecture, Western culture bears the stamp of its origins in these ancient societies. Understanding the cultural impact of these civilizations is essential to understanding the current world.

Our curriculum spans art history, Jewish studies, and philosophy, and includes classical languages and literature — in fact, you’ll gain working knowledge of classical Greek, Hebrew, or Latin. Armed with these skills, you’ll draw connections and conclusions that link some of the oldest societies on earth with the most timely and pressing issues facing the modern Western world.

Catalog Requirements for:

Why Study Ancient Civilization at Clark?

  • Experience a broad, rich program of learning in this intensely interdisciplinary major, based in the Department of Language, Literature, and Culture.
  • Acquire basic facility in one or more ancient languages — Latin, ancient Greek, or Hebrew — enabling you to access that culture’s literature, philosophy, and history.
  • Plant your feet, expand your mind, and nourish your soul in the ancient soil of Mediterranean countries such as Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, and Turkey.


This is Clark

Our Stories

Rachel Polinsky

From Turkey to Lithuania to graduate school at Brandeis

At Clark, Rachel Polinsky found many opportunities to pursue her passion for classical studies and art history, including working with ancient civilization and art history professor Rhys Townsend on the excavation of a Roman site in Turkey. After graduating, she became part of an archaeological team that discovered an escape tunnel dug by Lithuanian Jews during the Holocaust.

I met with Dr. Townsend early on in my first semester at Clark, and from that very first meeting he started mentoring and guiding me throughout my undergraduate career. He never wanted me to think my goals were unreachable.

Your Will. Your Way.

The Major Path

The major in ancient civilization is designed to provide you with a sound knowledge of the ancient Greco-Roman and Judaeo-Christian roots of Western civilization. You are expected to acquire a working knowledge of at least one of the principal languages of the ancient Mediterranean (Classical Greek, Hebrew or Latin); this ensures you direct access to the culture, literature, philosophy, and history of the ancient world.

The major requires the successful completion of at least 10 courses, including

  • Two foundation courses
  • At least one course at or above the intermediate level in Greek, Hebrew, or Latin
  • A senior seminar, preferably to be taken during the second semester of the senior year

During your junior year, you might be accepted into the ancient civilization honors program. Joining the program means you’ll work closely with a professor to create a thesis on a topic of your choice.

Building your foundation

The Clark Experience

We structure our curriculum around Liberal Education and Effective Practice (LEEP), which connects classroom learning with action through world and workplace experiences.

Learn More

Explore what the Language, Literature and Culture Department has to offer.