Students are introduced to archaeological, historical and literary approaches that offer substantial exposure to the multidisciplinary aspects of the ancient Mediterranean and Near East. The complementary nature of our Classics, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies programs provide our students with insight into the complexity and scope of human civilization as they learn how ancient cultures are intertwined. Undergraduates and graduates are encouraged to explore the boundaries between the Greco-Roman world and the ancient Near East, deepening their understanding and making for a rich learning experience.





To study the classical world is to discover the roots of Western Civilization. Our students investigate how the modern world has been shaped by ancient cultures, from laws to literature. By studying Mediterranean ancient civilizations, students gain not only a greater appreciation of human achievements across cultures and centuries but also a more objective understanding of ourselves and our times.


Fieldwork is an essential part of archaeological and historical research in our department. We offer many exciting and diverse research opportunities where department members can get involved in a range of archaeological projects. These opportunities allow students to access first-hand the ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern civilizations and discover the rich cultural history they possess. The Centre for the Study of Ancient Sicily, for example, aims to conduct and publish world-class research on Sicily, providing undergraduate and graduate students the extraordinary opportunity to study the largest island in the Mediterranean. The Kalavasos and Maroni Built Environment Project offers students opportunities to engage with cutting-edge digital technologies and excavation methods as they investigate the relationship between social interaction and Late Bronze Age urban landscapes on the island of Cyprus. Our archaeology courses also help develop critical thinking and problem solving skills by placing emphasis on fieldwork, archaeological theory and practice, as well as discussion of relevant social and historical processes.


Latin prose of the imperial age. In this course we will read a selection of authors from the imperial age onwards, including Seneca the Elder and Younger, Pliny the Elder and Younger, and Quintillian among others.


LATN 402B/502B: Epyllion and Epic

In this course, we will study the controversial genre epyllion. The term is used by modern scholars to describe short mythological epics notable for their erotic themes and prominent female characters, as in Catullus 64. But ‘epyllion’ is also used by some to refer to short episodes inset within larger epics, such as the account of Orpheus and Eurydice in Virgil’s fourth Georgic, and the narratives of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. In this class, all students will read Catullus 64, the second half of the fourth Georgic, and Book Ten of the Metamorphoses in Latin, as well as reading additional Greek and Latin texts in translation. Students enrolled in LATN502B will also read Book Eight of the Metamorphoses. We will look at some of the issues that have particularly preoccupied critics of Latin poetry over the past quarter of a century: above all genre, intertextuality/allusion, and ekphrasis (vivid description, often of a work of art). Above all, we will attempt to answer for ourselves the perennial question of whether this genre actually exists at all.



Reading and Writing Latin Prose Texts


Hellenistic Poetry introduced a wide range of verse forms to Greek, as the language spread throughout the Mediterranean basin. We will read selections from Callimachus, Theocritus, Apollonius, and others, paying attention to metre, cultural/performative contexts, and the impact on subsequent Latin literature. We will also read Menander’s comedy Samia in translation, in order to position his theatre in the wider literary contexts of the Hellenistic age.


Magic and Witchcraft in Greece and Rome


This course concentrates on the remarkable political and cultural achievements of fifth century Athens addressing topics such as the development of democracy and how it functioned, the meaning of citizenship, gender and sexuality, social values and daily life, and the role of drama, art, and architecture in Athenian society. We will examine how some of the basic tenets of western culture were established during this formative period of European history, while also reflecting on how the culture and society of ancient Athens differed from our own.

Prerequisites: None


We are a community of archaeologists at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University who jointly work to investigate past and present human societies within British Columbia, Canada and the wider world.  We condemn in the strongest possible terms the tragic loss of life, the humanitarian crisis and the systematic destruction and looting of sacred mosques and churches, archaeological sites, and museums taking place in northern Syria and Iraq. We call on people from all walks of life to recognize that these historical places and objects are part of humanity’s shared cultural heritage and their destruction represents a tremendous loss for us all.

Cultural heritage forms a fundamental part of our collective and individual identity and its destruction is an attack on the culture and history of the Syrian and Iraqi communities whose identities are deeply rooted in many of the threatened buildings, sites and artefacts. These acts aim to extinguish the vibrant cultural diversity that has characterized these regions for centuries. We urge Canadians to voice their support of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), ISESCO (Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and the UN Security Council in their unanimous condemnation of this assault on Middle Eastern and world history.

What can we do as Canadians?

We can call on our federal government, as a State Party to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, to implement the convention and strictly enforce the Cultural Property Export and Import Act to prevent the continued destruction and illegal removal and trafficking of cultural properties.

In keeping with the spirit of the 2003 UN Declaration Concerning the Intentional Destruction of Cultural Heritage, we can urge the Canadian government to join the world community and governments in the impacted areas, to prosecute those involved in the illegal trade of cultural heritage; to assist the people of Syria and Iraq in the restoration of our shared heritage; and to implement protective measures, such as the establishment of “protected cultural zones”, to ensure that this scale of looting and destruction will never happen again.

We can make financial donations to institutions whose members are working at the front lines of this crisis, such as UNESCO, and humanitarian relief organizations such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

We can educate ourselves to promote a wider understanding of the ancient and modern history of the Middle East, as a cradle of civilization.

And we can continue to promote values of human rights, tolerance, and cultural diversity in our daily lives.


Hatra: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/277

Nimrud: http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/1463/

Nineveh: http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/1465/




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