Older European languages and cultures

This field of study is mainly dedicated to the ancient Greek and Latin language, literature, rhetoric, historiography and philosophy. But Modern Greek philology also belongs in this area.

The study field at a glance

As a central foundation of our culture, the language and literature of Greek and Roman antiquity are explored. Important auxiliary and minor subjects of classical philology are, in addition to linguistics, ancient history, classical archeology, classical studies, art history, philosophy and religious studies. The subject of Middle Latin Philology, which deals with the Latin language and literature of the European Middle Ages, is closely related to classical philology.

Offered courses

Courses in this field are mainly offered at traditional universities. In classical philology, students usually choose one of the majors Ancient Greek / Greek Studies or Latin / Latin Studies. These programs can be studied both undergraduate and postgraduate. Neo-Greek philology is also offered in the Bachelor's and Master's degrees. Celtic studies, dealing with the language and literature of the Celtic peoples, are only offered as a supplementary subject or as a postgraduate course.

Contents of the course

In subjects such as Latin, Classical Philology, Greek Philology and Greek Studies, the reading of the most important ancient authors in the original as well as the relevant comments form the core of the entire course. Technical and methodical competences are being systematically developed with linguistic, literary and ancient studies modules. Based on the language skills already acquired at secondary school, basic modules convey the central contents and methods of the subject. This includes translation, grammar and style exercises, and knowledge of the culture of the ancient world as well as the appropriation of scientific working methods and literary theoretical concepts / approaches.

The study of neo-Greek studies covers literature, language and geography of New Greece (from the beginning of the 19th century).

As part of the teaching degree program, pedagogical and didactic modules are added. Trips / excursions to the countries and landscapes of ancient culture serve to deepen the cultural knowledge.

Admission criteria & course application

Most programs in this field require a good knowledge of Latin and Greek. English, French and Italian are often expected when reading secondary literature. Because of the close intertwining of Latin and Greek literature and the intellectual history, students usually have to prove their knowledge of the relevant language or acquire it during the study (Graecum or Latinum).

Career opportunities after graduation

Classical philologists work primarily in the teaching profession. Other, albeit limited, fields of activity include universities, museums of archaeology, special research facilities, libraries, textbook publishers and other media sectors, and in exceptional cases tourism (guided tours).