Students who want to read Homer in his original language or go more in depth with their personal study of the New Testament can do so through the Foreign Languages Department this year.
An opportunity is now available for students, who want to study up on the alphas and omegas, through the new Greek language classes being offered at Auburn this year.
Assistant professor of classics in the department of foreign languages, Meredith Prince, is the instructor.
Prince is in the process of revising the requirements for students interested in completing a minor in classics.
The Department of Foreign Languages Chair, Robert Weigel, said because there has not been a permanent faculty member for classics in several years, it’s important at this stage to let students know Prince is here, and Greek and Latin will be offered on a regular basis.
This year, Prince is teaching the elementary sequences for both Greek and Latin.
“Depending on enrollment numbers and interest, I would like to offer one or both languages at the intermediate level next year,” Prince said.
“A number of my current Greek students are interested in taking an intermediate course next year.”
Prince said the way the minor is set up now, students would have to take several upper level Latin or Greek classes.
However, these classes are not offered on a regular basis because Prince is the only one teaching the languages.
Prince said with the revisions, a student would need to take Greek or Latin at the intermediate level and four courses in English, which include classes in other departments.
Prince said she hopes this gives the department incentive to continue offering classes.
For the students, Prince said it takes time to become comfortable reading, writing and recognizing the Greek alphabet.
Also, Prince said the goal of the class is to be able to read Greek, not learn how to speak it or have conversations in Greek.
“I think students are pleasantly surprised at how soon they can read a passage of Greek and how much they learn,” Prince said. “They seem to be enjoying it.”
Michael Cole, a sophomore in history with a minor in classics, is in Prince’s Elementary Greek class this semester.
“I decided to take Greek to help improve my vocabulary for graduate school,” Cole said.
Cole also said he believes taking Greek is important to him because it gives him a better understanding of the words he uses every day.
“Some of them find it more difficult than others, but since so many of them have personal reasons to take the class, they want to learn and want to stick with it,” Prince said.
For students interested in reading literature from the Roman time period, Prince will also be teaching a Greek Literature and Culture class in translation in the spring.
Prince said all readings will be done in English, so no knowledge of Greek is needed.
The class is called “Heroes, Hedonism and Hollywood.”
It will introduce students to ancient Greek history, mythology, literature and art.
Half of the course will be spent viewing recent Hollywood adaptations of ancient Greece, such as “Troy,” “300” and “Alexander.”
Prince plans to discuss and analyze the films within the context of the ancient sources themselves.
“So, for example, we’ll be reading Homer’s ‘Iliad’ while watching ‘Troy’ and see how a work of literature more than 2,500 years old is adapted to modern times, made more accessible or applicable,” Prince said.
Prince said students with concentrations in the medical field or those interested in going to seminary would benefit greatly from taking Greek.
“Nearly half of my students are taking Greek to further advance their study of medical terminology or to able to read the New Testament in the original language,” Prince said.
Weigel said he is excited about what Prince is doing with the minor.
He said he thinks it will provide Auburn students with a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the cradle of Western civilization by exposing them to language, culture and literature courses.