The Ohio State University Department of Classics studies and promotes the languages, literature, and cultures of Greece and Rome, focusing on Antiquity but including all periods from the Bronze Age to Modern Greece. This study is important, as the origins of western and much Near Eastern literature, philosophy, art, religion, and social forms lay in the ancient world.

The Modern Greek Program is very active in Central Ohio’s Greek community and helps organize the annual Greek Festival at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

{Benjamin Acosta-Hughes, Professor, Department of Classics} 

At a Glance

Department strengths lie in ancient religion and myth all the way to the Middle Ages; literary critical readings of antiquity from theoretical perspectives; epigraphy and Latin paleography (advanced by Ohio State’s Center for Epigraphical and Palaeographical Studies); and the diachronic Greek tradition.

One of the few departments in the U.S. that hosts a Modern Greek Program.

Academic Areas

  • Classicak Humanities
  • Modern Greek
  • Ancient History and Classics
  • Byzantine Studies
  • Narrative Medicine

By the Numbers

Undergraduate students: 30
Graduate students: 25    
Faculty: 13

Ugliness in Antiquity

Tom Hawkins, associate professor, is writing a book, The Beautiful Ugly, exploring the role of ugliness in the earliest surviving Greek literature and how that role changed over the centuries. Homer’s few un-beautiful characters are marked out for scorn or ridicule, but images of Socrates and Aesop, the teller of fables, expect that we will contrast their ugly exteriors with their beautiful minds.

“Such earthy material counterbalances the grandiloquent loftiness of so much classical discourse and reveals an ongoing ethical debate about the literary and social role of aesthetic evaluation,” said Hawkins.

Teaching and Research Collaborations

The Department of Classics participates actively in interdepartmental teaching programs in the study of religion (ancient and modern), language and linguistics, narrative medicine and ancient and medieval history, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels

The department also has strong teaching and research ties with the Department of History, Center for Folklore Studies, and the Department of Comparative Studies, which offers courses in Comparative Literature, Folklore, Ethnography, Religious Studies, and Cultural Studies.


Ohio State’s Classics program benefits from many resources across the university, including:

  • One of the largest research libraries in the country, with a sizable, expanding Modern Greek collection; the Hilander Research Collection of medieval Byzantine Cyrillic manuscripts; and direct access to the Modern Greek collection at the University of Cincinnati, one of the most comprehensive in the world
  • The Center for Epigraphical and Palaeographical Studies
  • Isthmia Excavations in Ancient Corinth
  • The Center for International Studies, Middle East Studies Center, and Center for Slavic and East European Studies
  • The National Foreign Language Resource Center
  • Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies
  • Mershon Center for Studies in International Security and Public Policy
  • Melton Center for Jewish Studies