Classics has long been at the heart of humanistic studies at Johns Hopkins University: the very first person appointed to the faculty of the newly founded University in 1876 was Basil L. Gildersleeve, a professor of Greek. Gildersleeve adopted the most effective model of scholarship at the time—the German seminar, which combined teaching with research—as the basis for training students at Hopkins. This revolutionary structure was central to the new model of the “research university” that Johns Hopkins University pioneered.
Today, the Department of Classics at Johns Hopkins seeks to maintain and enhance this tradition of leadership and innovation. Members of the current faculty are highly interdisciplinary. We combine philological, historical, iconographical, and comparative methods in our investigations of the cultures, broadly conceived, of ancient Greece and Rome, with additional expertise in Reception Studies (aka “The Classical Tradition”) and in the post-classical use of Greek and Latin.
The graduate program reflects these characteristics. It is founded upon intensive study of ancient Greek and Latin language and literature, but also requires rigorous work in such fields as ancient history, art, archaeology, and philosophy, while allowing considerable flexibility to accommodate individual interests. The program aims to produce broad, versatile scholars who have a holistic view of the ancient cultures and of the evidence by which those cultures are comprehended.
The classics department enjoys close ties with several local and regional institutions whose missions include the study of the ancient world, including the Walters Art Museum, with its world-class collection of antiquities and manuscripts; the Baltimore Museum of Art, with its Roman mosaics; and the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C. Internationally, it is a member of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, the American Academy in Rome, and the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome.
The department’s main scholarly resource is the Milton S. Eisenhower Library, which has broad and deep holdings in the various fields of classical antiquity. The department also has a significant collection of Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities, housed in the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Collection (shared with the Department of Near Eastern Studies), and a small reference library in its Gilman Hall seminar room.