Academic program

Professors Baker (Religious Studies), Maurizio (Classical and Medieval Studies, chair), and O’Higgins (Classical and Medieval Studies); Assistant Professors Boomer (Art and Visual Culture), Brent (Classical and Medieval Studies), Lynch (Classical and Medieval Studies) and Tizzoni (Classical and Medieval Studies); Senior Lecturer Walker (Classical and Medieval Studies)

The Program in Classical and Medieval Studies combines a uniquely interdisciplinary study of cultural history with an emphasis on empowering students to read and assess texts in the relevant ancient languages.

The Bates program is distinctive in its scope, linking the study of classical antiquity with that of the Middle Ages. This broad chronology, coupled with a broad geographical and cultural range, encourages students in the program to examine the long track of history – to see how humans act and react with each other, with their environments, and with their pasts—and futures. Learning the languages of these ancient and medieval peoples is central to this inquiry, so students can engage more directly and authoritatively with primary sources. Grounded in these language skills, students in the program examine the past through a range of different lenses: art, architecture, drama, literature, philosophy, religion, and social and cultural history.

The program centers historical questions about power, oppression, and the constructed nature of culture, identity, and the past itself. As such, the program embraces the global context of ancient and medieval Mediterranean cultures, from northern Europe and Scandinavia to Central Asia, and from North and West Africa to the Indian Ocean. Many diverse cultures constituted ancient “Greece” and “Rome,” including North Africa and the Near East as well as Crete and Sicily. The program’s definitions of the medieval period encompass the diverse cultures and societies of Africa, Europe, and West and Central Asia, including the civilization of Islam, the Byzantines, and the Latin and vernacular cultures of Western Europe, from the Visigoths and Vikings to Middle English poets and the builders of the great Gothic cathedrals, while considering throughout those who lived within these societies as minorities.

Students are encouraged to study abroad in selected programs in order to engage more directly with the material aspects of these diverse cultures. Courses taken in college-approved study abroad programs may be used in partial fulfillment of the major in classical and medieval studies. Students seeking to receive classical and medieval studies major credit for summer courses in ancient languages (ancient Greek or Latin) should obtain permission from the classical and medieval studies program committee before undertaking the course of study.

Generally speaking, the Bates classical and medieval studies program does not grant credit for online courses, including online language classes, to fulfill its requirements. If a student wishes to seek an exception to this rule, they should consult the program chair and gain the approval of the program committee before enrolling in such a course.

More information on the classical and medieval studies program is available on the website (

“Advanced Placement scores of 4 or 5 in Latin may be used towards the graduation requirement of 32 hours and may be used for placement of students in language courses, but may not be used for major, minor, or GEC requirements.”