The Classical Curriculum

What was the day-to-day work of a Classics student in the early 20th century? Not that different from today! On this page you’ll find an interactive version of one of the exhibit items, a curriculum for the Classical Course at Samuel Huston College in Austin, as recorded in a catalog from 1910 (the original is on display in the Carver Museum, which you can see here below the interactive version).  

Learning about the thought of the Ancient Romans and Greeks meant reading their works in history, philosophy, poetry, drama, and a host of other literary genres. Some of the authors, such as Plato and Homer, may be familiar, others less so.

On the interactive curriculum, click on an author’s name to find out more about them, and click on a work’s title to read it in English translation (remember that the Sam Huston students were expected to read these in the original Latin or Ancient Greek!). We’ve selected the best available free translations from a variety of sources.

Note a few interesting features of the document: work in Latin and Ancient Greek only went up to the sophomore year. At this point the student is expected to have a command of both languages, and the curriculum turns to a number of other subjects, such as history, the sciences, and English language and literature. As the text under “Department of Greek and Latin” shows, Classics was regarded as foundational preparation for the college student’s intellect.

The eagle-eyed Latin student might have been amused to spot a typographical error in the catalog: the title of Cicero’s work De Senectute (“On Old Age”) is misspelt as Senectutue. Which might in turn have led a teacher to introduce the problems of textual transmission and copying from antiquity to the present day!

Click away, and if you want to know how to study Classics in Texas, we’ve got you covered!


Freshman Year.

First Semester: Livy, Book XXI or Cicero, De Senectutue.

Second Semester: Horace, Odes and Epodes, Metrical reading, style and subject-matter are given special attention.

SOphomore Year.

First Semester: Tacitus, Agricola and Germania.

Second Semester: Tacitus, Agricola and Germania continued. During latter part of this Semester Terence’s Andria will be read.


Freshman Year.

First Semester: Plato’s Apology and Crito. Studies in Greek Philosophy.

Second Semester: Homer’s Odyssey or Xenophon’s Memorabilia.

Sophomore Year.

First Semester: Demosthenes De Corona.

Second Semester: Studies in Greek Drama. Euripides’ Alcestis.

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