Why Classical Languages?

Greek and Latin languages and literatures are fundamental to Western Civilization. Latin forms the basis of the Romance languages (French, Spanish, Italian, and others). Knowledge of either ancient language, with their detailed and logical grammars, makes learning any other language easier. A good deal of English vocabulary derives from Greek and Latin, especially in science (e.g. "physics"), medicine ("dialysis"), technology ("telephone"), and law ("justice," "habeas corpus").

The literature of the Greeks and Romans is the starting point of Western thought. It is hard to imagine what our culture would be like without the philosophy of Plato and St. Augustine, the dramas of Sophocles and Seneca, the epics of Homer and Vergil, the courtroom arguments of Demosthenes and Cicero, the mathematical discoveries of Euclid and Archimedes, or the medical investigations of Hippocrates and Galen. Modern authors from Dante and Milton to Eliot and Walcott have regularly turned to the classical texts as building blocks for their own new houses. The modern world prizes critical acumen, clarity, and precision in speech and writing. These were the qualities of language and thought most extolled by the Greeks and Romans.

Language Placement

Placement Based on SAT/AP Test Scores

Students with high school Latin should take the SAT-II College Board Achievement Test or the Advanced Placement exams.

Your SAT Score/Advanced Placement Score Course You Should Enroll In
SAT Score below 530 / AP Exam 1 or 2 LATIN 101 Elementary Latin
SAT Score 530-630 / AP Exam 3 LATIN 203 Intermediate Latin
SAT Score 640-690 / AP Exam score 4 LATIN 204 Advanced Intermediate Latin
SAT Score above 690 / AP Exam score 5 LATIN 300-level or above. See note about AP Credit.

AP Credit: A score of 4 or 5 gives the student credit for a Latin course taken (LATIN 25 Introduction to Literature). LATIN 25 will count toward the University requirement for 34 courses necessary for graduation, but it will not count toward the University language requirement, or for the Classical Studies or Classical Languages major.

Placement Based on High School Latin Coursework

Incoming students who have not taken the College Board Achievement test may rate themselves in the following way:

  • 4 years of high school Latin should qualify the student at least for LATIN 204 Advanced Intermediate Latin;
  • 3 years of high school Latin (with Latin taken in the senior year) should qualify the student at least for LATIN 203 Intermediate Latin; and
  • 2 years of high school Latin or 3 years (with no Latin taken in the senior year) may not qualify the student for advanced placement.

Students are encouraged to aim high and enroll in a Latin course beyond their placement, especially if they score near the upper limits; if they find this level of Latin too challenging before the end of the drop-add period they will be allowed to drop back one level with no penalty. However, students should note that LATIN 203 and 204 are only offered once per academic year--typically in the fall and spring respectively--and plan accordingly.

Introductory language sequences in Latin are offered in the fall semesters only. Courses with an FL curriculum code meet Duke's language requirement for graduation.

Number Title Curriculum Codes Crosslisting Numbers
LATIN 025 Introduction to Literature
LATIN 101 Elementary Latin FL
LATIN 102 Elementary Latin FL
LATIN 203 Intermediate Latin CZ, FL
LATIN 203A-1 Intermediate Latin: Caesar's Civil War FL
LATIN 204 Advanced Intermediate Latin CZ, FL
LATIN 204A-1 Advanced Intermediate Latin FL
LATIN 204A-2 Intermediate Latin: Verse (Study Abroad) FL
LATIN 291 Independent Study
LATIN 292 Independent Study
LATIN 293 Research Independent Study R, W
LATIN 301A-1 Advanced Latin ALP, CCI, FL
LATIN 301AS-2 Advanced Latin ALP, CCI, FL
LATIN 302S The Catilinarian Conspiracy ALP, CZ, FL
LATIN 304S History and Biography ALP, CZ, EI, FL
LATIN 307S Philosophy and Literature in Antiquity ALP, CZ, FL
LATIN 308S Latin Epistle ALP, FL
LATIN 312S Oratory/ Rhetoric ALP, CCI, FL
LATIN 316S Latin Novel ALP, CCI, CZ, FL
LATIN 320S Augustan Literature: Ovid ALP, FL
LATIN 324S Latin Epic ALP, CCI, FL
LATIN 328S Elegy and Lyric ALP, CCI, FL
LATIN 332S Drama of Greece and Rome ALP, CCI, FL
LATIN 336S Satire ALP, CCI, CZ, EI, FL
LATIN 360S Latin of the Late Roman Republic ALP, FL
LATIN 362S Latin Panegyric: Praise and Blame in Latin Letters and Life ALP, CCI, CZ, EI, FL
LATIN 364S Educating Rome ALP, CCI, EI, FL
LATIN 368S Snapshots of Rome ALP, CCI, CZ, FL
LATIN 372S Interpreting Rome ALP, CCI, CZ, FL MEDREN 304S
LATIN 376S Roman Culture CCI, CZ, FL
LATIN 390S Special Topics in Latin Literature FL
LATIN 491 Independent Study
LATIN 493 Research Independent Study R
LATIN 504S Selections From Latin Texts/Authors in the Genres of History, Oratory, and/or Philosophy ALP, CZ, EI, FL
LATIN 508S Medieval and Renaissance Latin ALP, CCI, CZ, FL MEDREN 608S
LATIN 524S Latin Poetry: Epic, Lyric, and Elegy ALP, CCI, CZ, FL
LATIN 528S Selections From Latin Texts/Authors in the Genres of Drama, Satire, and/or the Novel ALP, CCI, CZ, FL
LATIN 580 Survey of Latin Literature from its Beginnings to Late Antiquity ALP, CCI, FL
LATIN 581S Latin Prose Syntax and Style CCI, FL
LATIN 584S Latin Palaeography ALP, CZ, FL MEDREN 647S
LATIN 585S Latin Epigraphy CZ, FL
LATIN 691 Directed Reading and Research
LATIN 764 Seminar in Latin Literature I
LATIN 768S Seminar in Latin Literature II

There is no Advanced Placement test for Greek. We handle course placement for incoming students on an individual basis. Students who have studied ancient Greek in high school and are interested in continuing their study of the language should contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies before registering for classes. We will help you identify the best fit for your academic background.

Introductory language sequences in Greek are offered in the fall semesters only. Courses with an FL curriculum code meet Duke's language requirement for graduation.

Number Title Curriculum Codes Crosslisting Numbers
GREEK 344S Greek Novel ALP, CZ, FL
GREEK 101 Elementary Greek FL
GREEK 102 Elementary Greek FL
GREEK 111 Intensive First-Year Greek FL
GREEK 203 Intermediate Greek CZ, FL
GREEK 203A-1 Intermediate Greek FL
GREEK 203A-2 Intermediate Greek: Prose (Study Abroad) FL
GREEK 204 Advanced Intermediate Greek CZ, FL
GREEK 204A-1 Advanced Intermediate Greek FL
GREEK 204A-2 Intermediate Greek: Verse (Study Abroad) FL
GREEK 291 Independent Study
GREEK 292 Independent Study
GREEK 301A-1 Advanced Greek ALP, CCI, FL
GREEK 301AS-2 Advanced Greek ALP, CCI, FL
GREEK 304S Greek Historians ALP, CZ, EI, FL
GREEK 308S Greek Philosophy CZ, EI, FL
GREEK 312S Greek Oratory and Rhetoric ALP, CCI, CZ, FL
GREEK 324S Greek Epic ALP, CCI, FL
GREEK 328S Lyric and Hellenistic Poetry ALP, CCI, FL
GREEK 332S Greek Drama ALP, EI, FL
GREEK 334S Ancient Greek Scholarship: G(r)eeks on Greek ALP, CCI, CZ, FL
GREEK 491 Independent Study
GREEK 493 Research Independent Study R
GREEK 504 Historians ALP, CCI, FL
GREEK 508S Rhetoric, Literary Criticism, and Philosophy ALP, CCI, CZ, FL
GREEK 512S Greek Rhetoric and Ancient Literary Criticism ALP, CCI, CZ, FL
GREEK 520S Greek Epic ALP, CCI, CZ, FL
GREEK 524S Epic and Lyric ALP, CCI, FL
GREEK 528 Drama of Greece and Rome ALP, CCI, CZ, EI, FL
GREEK 534S Ancient Scholarship: G(r)eeks on Greek ALP, CCI, CZ, FL
GREEK 580 Survey of Greek Literature ALP, CCI, FL
GREEK 582S Greek Epigraphy CZ, FL
GREEK 586S Papyrology CZ, FL
GREEK 691 Directed Reading and Research
GREEK 764S Seminar in Greek Literature I (Selected Topics)
GREEK 768S Seminar in Greek Literature II