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Classical Languages (JH)

B.A. ; 4 years full-time ; 10 places ; CAO points: 331-506 (2018)

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+353 1 896 1208

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What is Classical Languages?

The study of Classical Languages is concerned with the language, literature and thought of either Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome. You will choose to study either Greek or Latin. Through the reading of literature in the original language and the examination of key aspects of ancient history, you will develop a thorough knowledge of the classical world and a critical approach to textual and material culture.

Classical Languages: The course for you?

If you are interested in studying the language, the poetic imagination, the depth of thought and the historical value of one of the civilisations that shaped the Western world, you will enjoy this course.

Classical Languages @ Trinity

Greek and Latin have been taught in Trinity since its foundation just over 400 years ago, and Trinity is unique in having professorships in both Greek and Latin. To study Greek and Roman civilisation is to study the roots of western civilisation, the origins of our political and cultural institutions, and to understand how the classical past has profoundly affected ideas and values in the contemporary world.

The Department of Classics has a world-renowned reputation. Its courses are taught by academics at the top of their fields. The course is taught through a mixture of lectures, practical classes and small-group seminars, which encourage lively discussion and the development of independent thinking. It is also possible to study abroad for a semester or a whole year.

Graduate skills and career opportunities

Study of the ancient world develops skills of interpretation and communication that go far beyond a knowledge of books, dates and events; these skills offer positive advantages in the hunt for a job. Recent graduates are working in many fields including the diplomatic service, the civil service, banking and accountancy, business, computers, journalism and broadcasting, law, librarianship, publishing, teaching and theatre. Some graduates opt to pursue an academic career with postgraduate study in Ireland and abroad.

Your degree and what you’ll study

Over the four years you will read texts in a wide variety of genres, including epic, tragedy, comedy, philosophy, oratory and historiography. Whether you are continuing your language studies or taking Greek/Latin as a beginner, you will engage with ancient texts both as literature and as a gateway into the culture and thought of ancient Greece/Rome. Through the critical study of ancient history, myth and religion, you will acquire a comprehensive and interdisciplinary perspective on classical culture. For all of your language-based courses the groups will be small, stimulating lively discussion, analytic skills, and the development of independent thinking.


In first year you will be introduced to the critical study of ancient history, culture and literature. The language-based modules you take depend on whether you have studied Greek/Latin before or are taking it up as a beginner. In second year you continue the study of Greek/Latin language, literature and history. Modules are taught by lectures and small-group seminars. There are six to eight contact hours per week. A combination of end-of-semester examination and continuous assessment (e.g. essays, unseen translations and other language tests, textual commentaries, seminar presentations), and a thesis in the final year forms the assessment.

  • Greek and Roman History
  • Greek and Roman Mythology and Religion
  • Sources and Methods in History and Archaeology
Ancient Greek/Latin for beginners
  • Elementary Greek/Latin – an intensive introduction to the Ancient Greek or Latin language. By the end of the year you will be ready to read original texts and your command of the language will be at the same level as those who have studied it before entering university.
Ancient Greek/Latin for non-beginners
  • Greek/Latin authors – text-based modules introduce you to the critical reading of Greek/Latin literature through a close examination and contextualisation of the oldest and most influential works in western literature. Greek texts include Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, the Histories of Herodotus, the tragedies of Euripides and Sophocles and the philosophical prose of Plato. Latin texts include the comedies of Plautus and Terence, Cicero’s famous speech On Behalf of Caelius, Virgil’s Aeneid, the love poems of Catullus and Ovid, and the letters of Pliny the Younger. Built into these modules is a weekly ‘language laboratory’ designed to consolidate your grammatical knowledge and translation skills.


In third and fourth years you will progress to an in-depth study of topics in Greek/Latin literature, history and culture. You will refine your analysis of texts in their literary and cultural context through more specialised skills and methodologies, such as textual criticism, linguistics and literary theories. Greek topics may include Greek historians, Greek comedy, the Greek novel, and Hellenistic poetry. Latin topics may include Augustan poetry, Didactic poetry, Early Latin, Informal Latin and Roman satire. In third year, you will continue to study ancient history, while language labs or a separate advanced language module will assist you in improving your fluency and accuracy in reading and interpretation. In fourth year you may also study a special topic in Classical culture and will write a thesis on a subject of your choice. The thesis is an opportunity to do research which will allow you to develop independent ideas and acquire critical skills, while investigating in great depth an area that particularly interests you.

Study abroad

Trinity has strong links with many Classics departments abroad, including active participation in the Erasmus exchange programme. The Department has valuable Erasmus links with the Universities of Cyprus, Udine (Italy), Geneva, Bordeaux and Koç (Turkey). Students are also able to avail of University-wide exchanges, for example, to North America and Australia. These opportunities allow students the option of spending a year or part of a year abroad.

Rory O’Sullivan, 3rd year Greek and English Literature Student. From Cork city.

"In studying Ancient Greek, you read the writings of some of the cleverest, daftest, most brilliant people who’ve ever lived. There’d be no Shakespeare without Plutarch, no democracy without Athens, no Christianity without Plato. You get the chance to understand Greek authors on their own terms, to walk a mile in their shoes; like all good things, they’re untranslatable. The class sizes are small, so you have genuine contact with the department’s lecturers, who are the best and most challenging teachers I’ve had. Greek isn’t for the faint-hearted, but I couldn’t recommend it enough."

Course Details



CAO Points Required

331-506 (2018)

Number of Places


Minimum entry points required are 331-506 (2018)
More information on minimum entry points

Admission Requirements

For general admission requirements please click here

Leaving Certificate


In Greek, Latin or in a language other than English

Advanced GCE (A Level):

Grade C

In Greek, Latin or in a language other than English

Get In Touch

Telephone Number

+353 1 896 1208

Website  |