Greece: Age of Pericles

A First-Year Ampersand Program

Exploring Greece's Past and Present

This new Ampersand program offers an intensive and thorough engagement with ancient Greece and its legacy. Students will gain a profound understanding of ancient Greek culture and literature through various readings, discussions, and in-class and on-site activities, focusing specifically on fifth-century Athens. Furthermore, the language requirement of this program will equip students to read untranslated classical texts. By the time they visit Greece in May, they will be able to read inscriptions and perform scenes from ancient plays in the original language!

Greek ruins

Trip Highights

We will have the opportunity to visit all the major sites featured in our courses throughout the year: we will spend hours on the Acropolis of Athens, we will walk through the agora, and we will sit on the benches of the theater of Dionysus. We will perform at the theater of Epidaurus, we will walk (or run!) across the stadium at Olympia, and we will think about the experience of ancient pilgrims as we go up the path to the temple of Apollo at Delphi. The primary goal of this trip is to facilitate a deeper understanding of ancient Greece; through various afternoon activities, however, the program will also open a window to modern Greek history and culture.

how to apply

The application process for first-year programs and seminars opens on Tuesday, May 15, at noon (CT) and closes on Monday, May 21, at noon (CT). There will be a link to the application webform on the First-Year Programs homepage during this time for you to sign up. ADDITIONAL PROGRAM COSTS: Please note that the travel component of this course costs an additional $3500 approximately. Need-based financial support is available.

First-Year Programs homepage


Language Requirement

Students enrolled in the program are expected to enroll concurrently in ancient Greek or Latin (at the appropriate level). Studying the language will allow you to interact more intimately with the course material and the culture.

Fall Semester

In the Fall semester, we will read some of the most seminal works of Greek literature and we will discuss their lasting legacy throughout the centuries. We will think about the value as well as the malleability of the past in the context of reception, and, ultimately, we will inquire what ancient Greece represents and contributes to our own discourses and cultures today.



Spring Semester

In the Spring, we will delve into Classical Athens, focusing on the historical and cultural context in which democracy emerged and thrived. By looking at both the archaeological evidence and literary sources, we will learn how Athenian democracy functioned and we will investigate what the advantages and the limitations of its institutions were. We will also explore how the democratic institutions shaped other aspects of Athenian culture (e.g., the aesthetics of contemporary drama).


The courses during the school year will prepare us for the highlight of this program: a two-week trip to Greece! While in Greece, we will spend one week in Athens and one week traveling to archaeological sites throughout Central Greece and the Peloponnese.