Outreach

Sharing our Love of Classics

The Washington University in St. Louis Department of Classics is happy to welcome school and community groups to the Washington University campus, and the department’s faculty and students can visit classes and other groups at their location in the St. Louis area. Below are some examples of events the department can provide, arranged according to types of classes they would most benefit. Other programs can be designed to meet the needs and wishes of school and other groups as they arise. Events are designed are designed for groups in grades 6-12 and to last 60 minutes, but each can be adjusted to last from 45 to 90 minutes. Several, as noted, can also be adjusted for younger students.

For information on visiting the Washington University Campus with your school group, see Washington University’s K-12 Connections

For information on visits to your school or group by faculty or students of the Classics department, contact department chair Cathy Keane.

Classics Outreach Programs

Art

Professor Timothy Moore giving a presentation to a student group.
Professor Timothy Moore giving a presentation to a student group

Greek Vases at Washington University

An exploration of the ancient Greek vases owned by Washington University’s Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, which show scenes from mythology and ancient Greek life and reveal important developments in artistic technique.  Small groups can see the actual vases in the museum’s study room.  Larger groups can view images of the vases.

Can also be adjusted for grades 1-5.

 

Greek Mythology in the Visual Arts

Various art works owned by Washington University’s Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, including a work by Picasso and Romare Bearden’s Black Venus, use characters from Greek mythology.  These works reveal how visual artists can give the myths new meanings.  Small groups can see the actual works of art in the museum’s study room.  Larger groups can view images of the works.

Can also be adjusted for grades 1-5.

 

English (see also Theater)

Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: Where Did the Story Come From?

A discussion with images of the Roman history behind Shakespeare’s play and Shakespeare’s source, the Greek author Plutarch.  Classics faculty can also discuss the Greek and Roman background of other modern works read in classes.

 

Homer’s Odyssey: Why an Ancient Tale is Still Important Today

A discussion with images of how the characters and events of the Odyssey still resonate today, even as they reflect the world of early Greece.  Classics faculty can also discuss any other works from ancient Greece or Rome that students are reading in classes.

Can also be adjusted for grades 1-5.

 

Greek Mythology: Stories to Think With

A discussion with images of how the gods and heroes of ancient Greece reveal basic human needs and anxieties and have significance well beyond their Greek origins.  Can be adapted to include whichever myths are of most interest to teachers and students.

Can also be adjusted for grades 1-5.

 

You Know Latin and Didn’t Know it! The Latin Roots of Modern English

A discussion with images of why some 60% of modern English words come from Latin and how basic knowledge of Latin can help considerably in building English vocabulary.

Can also be adjusted for grades 1-5.

 

History

An electrum coin from the time of Lydian kings Alyattes to Kroisos (c. 610–546 B.C.), with a lion's head and beaming sun.
An electrum coin from the time of Lydian kings Alyattes to Kroisos (c. 610–546 B.C.), with a lion's head and beaming sun.

Are we Romans? Ancient Rome and Modern America

A discussion with images of the intriguing similarities between Rome and America, with special attention paid to the two societies’ multiculturalism.  Classics faculty can also discuss other aspects of ancient Greek and Roman history and its significance in the modern world.

 

Ancient Coins

An exploration with images of Washington University’s John Max Wulfing collection, one of the largest collections of ancient Greek and Roman coins owned by an American university.

 

 

Latin

Latin teachers should consult directly with Cathy Keane (ckeane@wustl.edu) on any ways Washington University faculty or students can contribute to their curriculum. Here are just a few of the many presentations that can be offered in this area:

Vergil’s Aeneid: Why It’s Not Just a Football Cheer

The Sound of Latin Poetry

Caesar: Cultured Hero or Barbaric Monster?

Myths: Why They’re Better in Latin

 

 

Modern Languages

Spanish and Latin: Two Stages of the Same Language?

A discussion with images of why Spanish is so similar to Latin and some of the fascinating ways Spanish developed as it moved from its Roman origins.  The same discussion can be offered for French or Italian.

 

Music

Sing an Ancient Greek Song!

After a discussion with images and sound of the role of music in ancient Greece and Rome, students will learn to sing in Greek a song preserved from the ancient world. Includes demonstration of a reconstructed kithara, a string instrument of ancient Greece.

Can also be adjusted for grades 1-5.

 

Science

Greek and Latin in the Lab: Medical and Scientific Terminology 

A discussion with images of why nearly all technical terms in modern science and medicine are derived from Greek or Latin and how understanding some basic features of those languages can aid in the memorization of technical terms.

 

How Did Plants Get Their Names?

A discussion with images of why most scientific names of plants are derived from Greek or Latin and the surprising stories behind many plant names.

 

Theater

Sophocles’ Oedipus the King in Performance

A masked performance by students.
A masked performance by students.

Discussion with images of how Oedipus the King was performed in ancient Greece and what awareness of performance contributes to the play’s meaning.  Classics faculty can also discuss other ancient works as performance texts, allowing students a chance to perform and using spaces on campus that resemble ancient Greek theaters.

 

What Is It Like to Perform in Masks?

A hands-on workshop using masks modeled on those of the ancient world.

Can also be adjusted for grades 1-5.