Azusa Pacific University recently added a new classics minor to the expanding array of educational opportunities, an intriguing field of study that essentially takes students back to the artistically saturated period of Mycenaean Greece and continues its research onward into the fall of Rome.
Dr. Christopher Flannery, who was instrumental in the creation of the program, classified the specific areas of study for the minor: languages, history, laws, literature, philosophy, art, archaeology and religions. The classics minor content is much more focused on the universal perplexities of life than on practical lessons.
“It deals with the philosophical issues raised by the ancient Greeks and Romans such as: What is good? What is just? What is beauty? What is true?” Flannery said.
In addition to Flannery’s contribution to the program, there were five other professors, including Dr. Mike Robbins and Dr. Alice Yafeh-Deigh, whose work both served as inspiration and played a vital role in the cooperative creation of the minor.
Jerry Strigglers, a senior political science major on track to be one of the first students at APU to graduate with a classics minor, said his infatuation with ancient civilizations propelled him to pursue the new minor.
“I have always been fascinated by the Roman Empire,” Strigglers said. “Even as a kid, I used to read books about the Colosseum and pretend I was a gladiator, or, more accurately, given my weird delusions of grandeur, Caesar.”
Strigglers’ political science background helped spark a deep interest in the subject.
“A lot of the foundational political theory texts — Plato’s ‘Republic,’ Aristotle’s ‘Politics,’ and ‘Nicomachean Ethics’ — hail from this period,” Strigglers said.
The official information link for the classics minor was added to the APU website on Thursday, Aug. 15, marking the official, solidified inauguration for the program. Dr. Flannery has high hopes that the field of study will eventually grow into a major, as he firmly believes in the beneficial impact of struggling with the timeless ideas of the ancient Greeks and Romans.
“This classics minor is for the student who desires a liberal arts education, not primarily as a credential, but as a basis for a life well lived and a lifetime of liberal learning,” Flannery said.