Welcome to Berkeley Classics

Berkeley Classics is widely recognized as one of the outstanding departments in the field, known for its distinctive blend of philological rigor, disciplinary breadth, and theoretical adventurousness. It is the intellectual home of a distinguished faculty, excellent graduate students, and an extraordinarily talented and diverse group of undergraduates.

The department is fully enmeshed in the intellectual life of the university, with strong connections to (e.g.) Art History, Comparative Literature, History, and Philosophy.  Our faculty participate in AHMA, the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion, and the Archaeological Research Facility; they also direct a number of important centers on campus, which serve as a resource for our students while attracting researchers from around the world.

Featured Courses

Spring 2021

The first half of a two-semester language sequence equipping students to read and translate Classical Latin; can be taken independently or in conjunction with Latin 2.  CCN 22565

Spring 2021
Duncan MacRae

Telling stories is one way humans make sense of the world and their lives in it. For the ancient Greeks and Romans, these stories were very often in the form of tales of the adventures, triumphs and sufferings of gods and heroes – what we call classical myths. This class examines many of these myths, what they meant to Greeks and Romans, and what they still mean for us. Fulfills L&S Breadth in Arts & Literature or Philosophy & Values.  3 hours lecture, 1 hour discussion section.  CCN 21794


Ellen Oliensis delivered the 2020 Housman Lecture for University College London, not in person as originally planned but via zoom; the lecture, entitled "The Trials of Latona in Ovid's Metamorphoses," is available here.

Brueghel the Elder, Latona & the Lycian Peasants

We are excited to report that Marissa Henry's article "Epic's Bastard Son: The Importance of Being Nothos in the Dionysiaca of Nonnus" just appeared in the Fall 2020 issue of the American Journal of Philology

Bacchus mosaic

Classics is joining the campus-wide celebration of 100 Years of Women at Berkeley by launching a series of occasional conversations with alumnae of the department, starting with Gertrude Allen (BA 1967).  Read the conversation here.

150 years


A presentation on the Nemea Center's research and activities in 2020.
Discussing Mario Telò's new book, Archive Feelings: A Theory of Greek Tragedy.

Ancient Greek and Latin Thriving at UC Berkeley

This summer some of us were thinking about ways of responding to the isolation the coronavirus has imposed on our community.  One idea was to launch some informal, “just-for-fun” Greek and Latin reading groups for our undergraduates (current and former).  When we canvassed students to gauge their interest, we were delighted by the number and enthusiasm of the responses.  At present there are four groups active. These are open not just to Classics students but to all Berkeley students with some knowledge of Greek or Latin; for more information contact the Chair: eolien@berkeley.edu.

We are also delighted to report that this past summer’s Intensive Greek and Latin Workshops, offered remotely for the first time in their very long history, were a resounding success (sample student comments here).  Based on this overwhelmingly positive experience, we are committing to offering the Workshops remotely again in Summer 2021—and looking forward to building on everything we learned the first time around to make the experience even more rewarding.  Stay tuned for more details in January 2021.

Ingres Sappho