Department of Classics

More and detailed information about the department to be available on its upcoming official department website.

Classics?

Classics is the study of the languages, culture and history of the civilisations of ancient Greece and Rome. This is the core of classics, but the Greeks and Romans also interacted with and were influenced by other cultures, especially those of the ancient Near East and Egypt, so we also include some study of those cultures and their interactions with the Greeks and Romans. Because it includes every aspect of these ancient civilisations, classics can include a wide variety of topics, from the epics of Homer to the architecture of Greek temples or the growth of the Roman Empire. In our courses we try to reflect this variety as far as possible. 

What we Offer

The Classics Department offers:

  • A first year course introducing the history and politics of ancient Greece and Rome, and second year courses studying ancient mythology and epic, and the writings and methods of ancient historians.
  • In the third and fourth years students can take courses on Greek and Latin literature in translation, women in the ancient world, Greek and Roman religion, and archaeology and art.  
  • We also offer classes in Greek and Latin language from beginners to advanced levels.

Greek and Roman cultures had an enormous influence on European culture and thought for centuries, and continue to be widely used and adapted today, in postcolonial contexts as well as their more traditional areas. Together with the interdisciplinary nature of the subject, this means there are many links between classics and subjects studied in other departments. Classics is relevant to the study of language, literature and drama, philosophy, religion and mythology, and art and architecture, so it combines well with other areas of the humanities.

Relevance in Our Culture

As a classics department in Africa, we try to relate our courses to a Malawian and African context. For instance, in studying mythology we compare ancient myths with those of Malawi and other African countries, and we compare ancient epic poems with those of Africa such as the west African epic of Sunjata. In the ancient literature courses we discuss African adaptations of classical works, especially the many African versions of Greek dramas. In a broader way, when teaching the history and culture of Greece and Rome we encourage students to make comparisons with their own context in Malawi today, and what we can learn from such comparisons.