Classics > Outreach > What is Classics?

What is Classics?

Classics is the study of the languages, culture, history and thought of the civilisations of ancient Greece and Rome. It is one of the most varied and interdisciplinary of all subjects.

Featuring a wide range of options, Classics offers the opportunity to study literature (epic, drama, historical writing, and much else), the history and archaeology of the Greek and Roman Mediterranean, philosophy (both ancient and modern), and linguistics.

Whether you want to learn languages, read literature, explore the effect of the past on the present, or learn to apply science to arts, Classics has something for everyone. The study of Classics requires students to develop the analytical skills needed to understand ancient languages and engage in disciplines such as
linguistics and textual criticism. The subject’s involvement with a range of disciplines such as history, philosophy and art criticism, makes it constantly fresh and challenging and encourages mental versatility.

Why study Classics at Oxford?

Patrick Penzo (2nd Year, Classics - Course IA):

I really wanted to try out some philosophy but I also wanted to keep my language skills up to scratch and I really wanted to keep literature going as well – there are few courses that offer that much variety, the only thing missing is a bit of maths on the side and I’m sure I could find a way of getting Euclid in there somewhere.

Why Oxford? Long story that involves a visit to the Ashmolean when I was seven and the Alfred Jewel: I basically have always wanted to live in Oxford and when it was time to think about uni, Oxford was
the obvious choice.

Naomi Bullivant (2nd Year, Classics - Course IA):

For me, the course was the deciding factor in my decision to apply for Oxford; it was a course which allowed me to study the great epics properly and to have a taste of Philosophy, Ancient History and Archeology before choosing from a huge range of Greats options. 

Why Oxford? Everyone knows that Oxford is an excellent university and the tutors are some of the best in the world, but I thought it was this course - perfected over the hundreds of years Classics has been taught here! - that was something I really couldn't get anywhere else. 

Turner Edwards (1st Year, Classics & French – Course II): 

Having never studied Latin, or anything classical for that matter, at school, choosing Classics was a bit of shot in the dark for me. However, I was attracted to the wide range of subjects that the Oxford course allowed you to study, as well as the opportunity to learn both Latin and Greek during my time here.

Why Oxford? I came on an Open Day and fell in love with the place. Everybody was really friendly, very enthusiastic about their course, and I felt that I couldn't help but be happy in such a beautiful surrounding.

Classics (and other related courses) at Oxford

You can find out more about what it is like studying Classics and other related courses through our video clips below.

Classics (Literae Humaniores)

Ancient and Modern History

Classical Archaeology and Ancient History 

Classics and English

Classics and Modern Languages

Classics and Oriental Studies