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.
Do you enjoy:
- Learning languages?
- Close study and discussion of Greek and Roman literary and historical works?
- Exploring the interactions between classical literature and its historical and cultural context?
Classical Languages at 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, and 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.
The pathways available are Single Honours, Major with Minor and Joint Honours. There may also be an opportunity to take this subject up as a New Minor Subject from second 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.
First and second years
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
- Visual and Material Culture
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
- In the first year you will be introduced to the critical reading of Greek and Latin texts through a close examination and contextualisation of poetry and prose works representative of key aspects of the history of Greek and Latin language and literature. You will expand your vocabulary, gain a deeper understanding of grammar and style, and refine your translation skills as well as your ability to write about ancient literature. In the second year you will continue to consolidate your translation and analysis skills and begin to study Greek/ Latin authors in depth. 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.
Third and fourth years
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. You will also have the opportunity to develop an independent project on texts not covered in the taught modules.
Greek topics may include Greek lyric poetry, philosophy, history-writing, the novel, and Hellenistic poetry. Latin topics may include Augustan poetry, Senecan tragedy, Didactic poetry, Early Latin, Latin oratory, Informal Latin and Roman satire. In third year, you will study cultural history, while close-reading modules will assist you in improving your fluency and accuracy in interpretation. In fourth year you may also study a special topic in Classical culture and will write a dissertation on a subject of your choice. The dissertation 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.
There are QQI/FET routes available for this course. Please see www.cao.ie for details.
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.
AwardsB.A. Honours Bachelor Degree (NFQ Level 8)
CAO InformationCAO Points 480-518 (2022)
Number of Places10 Places
|In Greek, Latin or in a language other than English|
Advanced GCE (A Level):
In Greek, Latin or in a language other than English
International Baccalaureate: HL Grade 5 in Greek, Latin, or in a language other than English
Click here for a full list of undergraduate fees.
To apply to this course, click on the relevant Apply Link below
- Classical Languages and English Literature - 30/JUN/2023
- Classical Languages and History of Art and Architecture - 30/JUN/2023
- Classical Languages and Linguistics - 30/JUN/2023
- Classical Languages and Middle Eastern, Jewish and Islamic Civilisations - 30/JUN/2023
- Classical Languages and Modern Language - 30/JUN/2023
Advanced Entry Applications
Read the information about how to apply for Advanced Entry, then select the link below to apply.
What our current students say
"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. 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."
What our graduates say
“A degree from Trinity certainly opens doors. But the lessons that I learnt (both within and beyond the walls of lecture theatres) from the members of this uniquely close-knit department far surpass the value of that final transcript. If I could return to do it all over again, I would in a heartbeat.”