About the Department

The material of Classics is unsurpassed in its fascinating stories and its ability to constantly surprise us. Historically, promoters of Classics have touted the cultures, literatures, and history of the ancient Greeks and Romans as “our” shared Western heritage, a reservoir of wisdom to guide modern institutions and modern life. But our twenty-first century students rightly want to go both deeper and broader, and we strive to help them get there. Students in our department learn to view the Greek and Roman worlds as they were, listening to primary sources for the wide range of human experience and thought that they communicate to us and learning to ask new questions of them. Classics is, above all, about discovery – both of the ancient world and of ourselves.

Research & Teaching

Our faculty are devoted scholars, teachers, and mentors. Our numerous current projects include examinations of the idea of the emperor and the nature of imperial power, the economic and political history of ancient Greece, and music in Roman comedy. We bring this far-ranging expertise into the classroom and delight in sharing our love of Classics to a new generation of thinkers.


The department is happy to welcome school and community groups to the Washington University campus, and our faculty and students can visit classes and other groups at their location in the St. Louis area. 


Why Classics?

Timothy Moore, the John and Penelope Biggs Distinguished Professor of Classics, shares the joys and practical benefits of majoring in Classics and discusses the many opportunities available to Classics majors at WashU. Alums Joshua Trosch (LA'15) and Sarah Brophy (LA'08) join him to discuss their experiences in the department and what they've taken away from their studies


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Tim Moore works on Greek drama project in DC

Tim Moore works on Greek drama project in DC

Classics students place in Library Essay Contest

Classics students place in Library Essay Contest

The Classics department was my “home” in college – a place where my professors demonstrated a genuine love for teaching, passion for their subject matter, and a support for students. While my studies have taken me far from Classics into medicine, I have no doubt that the persuasive writing and speaking skills, my love of literature, and the technical language skills born from Latin which subsequently facilitated my study of Italian and Spanish, are products of the superb education I received as a Classics major at WashU.

―Annie Hoopes, MDAdolescent Medicine Physician, Kaiser Permanente Washington