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The Major in Ancient and Modern Greek

The major in Ancient and Modern Greek is designed to offer students an opportunity to integrate the study of post-classical Greek language, history, and culture into the departmental program in Ancient Greek and Classical Civilization.

Figurine photoThe program covers Hellenic civilization from the Bronze Age to the modern day, and traces the development of the language and the culture across traditionally-drawn boundaries. The study of both ancient and modern Greek allows the student to appreciate how familiarity with one enriches understanding of the other, and to chart the development of a language which has one of the oldest continuous written traditions in the world. The literature, history, philosophy, religion, and art of the ancient Greek and Greco-Roman worlds are studied both as an end in themselves and also as a foundation for appreciating later (medieval, Ottoman and modern) developments in these areas. Students are encouraged to develop a sense of the continuity of Greek language and culture, and an understanding of how Byzantine and modern forms relate to their ancient forebears.

Admission to the major

There are no formal pre-requisite courses. Students may start both Ancient and Modern Greek from scratch at Yale. Students who take MGRK 130 must either have completed MGRK 115, or must be able to satisfy the director of the program in Hellenic Studies that they have the required proficiency. All students interested in the major should meet with the program directors of both Classics and Hellenic Studies as soon as possible to discuss a program of study.

The Standard Major

The requirements for the standard major are:

Candidates must complete at least ten term courses as follows:

  • No fewer than four term courses at the level of 390 or above in Ancient Greek, and two surveys, one in Athenian culture, and the other in Roman culture (CLCV 256a and CLV 257b). The language courses must include GREK 390.
  • One additional course in Ancient Greek history.
  • No fewer than two term courses in Modern Greek must be elected, at the intermediate level (MGRK 130) or above.
  • At least one term course in the history, art history, literature or culture of the Greek-speaking Balkans (or the Hellenic diaspora) in the medieval, Ottoman, or modern period.

Senior requirement for the Major

At the end of the senior year the student takes a comprehensive examination in the history of (ancient) Greek literature and in translation of that literature.

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The intensive maj​or in Ancient and Modern Greek

The intensive major is designed for students who desire the opportunity for a larger measure of independence than the standard major offers. Students in the intensive major devote one or two terms of the senior year to writing an essay (CLSS 490a and 491b for the year-long essay, 492 for one term, fall or spring) under the regular guidance of a faculty member. A two-page prospectus of the essay, stating clearly the argument of the thesis, as well as a preliminary bibliography, should be submitted preferably at the end of the junior year and in no case later than October 15 of the senior year. The candidate should submit two copies of the senior essay to the director of undergraduate studies no later then April 15 of the senior year.