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Classics in Trinity: Lucky 13

The School of Classics was recently listed as thirteenth in the world by the QS Subject Rankings. Find out why 13 is lucky for some!


Classics at Trinity is small, but ambitious
We may be small in number (eight full time teaching staff, rising to nine from August 2019), but we make a big impression. Our international reputation rests on the combination of linguistic and methodological rigour, with innovative and imaginative approaches to research and teaching. We get to know all our students well, which enables us to foster their emerging skills and talents.

Classics at Trinity is kaleidoscopic
Our research and teaching range very widely, with particular strengths in the material culture of the ancient world (we are unusual in that almost a quarter of our staff are archaeologists) and in Greek and Latin language, literature and philosophy. Our research interests range from Aegean Bronze Age archaeology to the dynasty of Constantine; from Presocratic philosophy to Roman building technology; from Greek and Roman poetry to Hellenistic kingship; from linguistic registers in early Latin to nineteenth- and twentieth-century receptions of Virgil; and from anthropology to Classics in the modern world.

Classics at Trinity energises the past
Though the texts and artefacts we study are hundreds, even thousands of years old, the questions we ask of them and the techniques we use to study them are always evolving. We use a wealth of methodologies and technologies to help us discover more about the past. Classics for us is a conceptual space where ancient literature, history and material culture interface with modern technology (online databases, digital artefact capture) and new theoretical methods and debates.

Classics at Trinity is empowering
Classics at Trinity teaches Greek and Latin. But learning the classical languages doesn’t simply mean acquiring the ability to enjoy the beauty of Homer or the eloquence of Cicero. Having Greek and Latin means being able to read your own medical condition (though not necessarily your doctor’s handwriting), identify animal species, negotiate your own legal contract (or day in court!). It means recognising that – to a great extent – we already speak Latin and Greek, hidden in the depths of our own languages.

Classics at Trinity is alive
The ‘Living Latin’ project (spearheaded by Anna Chahoud, postdoctoral fellow Charlie Kerrigan and alumni Frank Lynam and Kevin McGee) and our free Latin-language learning app tabella (launched May 2019), decolonises Latin and aims to open the study of the language and ancient texts to those who would not otherwise have the opportunity.

Classics at Trinity democratises
Classics at Trinity affords access for all to all. Once the preserve of a privileged élite, part of our mission is to open doors for students from all backgrounds and ages – our oldest student of Latin is 92 years old! And our research embroils us in conversations with multiple disciplines across the sciences and the arts.

Classics at Trinity is enabling
We offer a rich and carefully crafted range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, and take pride in the challenging yet accessible learning experience we offer. Our students engage with primary sources from day one, and with increasing theoretical sophistication over the course of their degree, delving into texts and artefacts infrequently explored elsewhere. From 2019, we are adding a new integrated undergraduate programme, ‘Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology’ (CLAHA), which will allow our students to follow flexible pathways and develop their own interests.

Classics at Trinity attracts rising stars
We attract talented graduate students and early career researchers, who hail from across the world and are successful in securing external funding. We have a vibrant community of postgrads and postdocs (currently 26 in total); many of these are in receipt of Irish Research Council awards or other external funding. Many recent PhD graduates have gone on to successful academic careers, and currently hold posts in Aarhus, Bristol, Brock University (Canada), Cambridge, Cork, Cyprus, Edinburgh, Exeter, Heidelberg,Texas Tech, University College Dublin, Warsaw, and Warwick.

Classics at Trinity inspires generations
We are anchored in a long tradition dating back to the foundation of the College, an aspect of its identity reflected in the fact that the Department (uniquely in Ireland) has Chairs of both Greek (1761) and Latin (1870). Past incumbents include W.B. Stanford and J.P. Mahaffy – described by Oscar Wilde as his 'first and best teacher'. We continue to encourage and inspire creativity in our students into the 21st century.

Classics at Trinity connects
Classics at Trinity is by necessity outward looking, readily forging creative links and developing international networks. Colleagues have collaborated in modern performance and translation of Greek drama, advised on modern TV dramas, led in international networks as diverse as Augustan Poetry Network (Réseau Poésie augustéenne), Ancient European Languages and Writing (AELAW) or ancient sacred landscapes (UnSaLa), and explored the connections between the cognitive sciences and the humanities.

Classics at Trinity is global
From the makeup of our staff, our postgraduates and our undergraduates, to our collaborative networks and reach, our outlook is connected and global.  Rooted in our local environment, with its Classicising architecture and literary heritage, we are at the same time international, working constantly to develop connections with overseas colleagues, visiting students and alumni.

Classics at Trinity has a bright future
We are fortunate to have received significant philanthropic support over the years from both individual alumni and foundations. Most recently, the A.G. Leventis Foundation – with whom we have a long and deeply valued partnership of more than 20 years – has generously re-endowed our Chair of Greek, now the Regius Chair of Greek (1761) and A.G. Leventis Chair of Greek Culture (2017). Its first incumbent, Professor Ahuvia Kahane, joins us in August 2019.