Saturday, July 6, 2013

Classicist verseus Ancient Historian

The age of question of what truly is the difference between these two types of academics.

I guess, it is all dependent on which side of the fence you are on.

An ancient historian may argue that there is no difference and that classicist simply choose to be termed "Classicist" out of tradition. A classicist may argue that their education is more traditional and beyond the mere memorization of facts.

While classics and history majors may attend the same lectures, classes, conferences, and so on; there is something to be said for a "Classics" education. Many view that Classics as being a gateway into other areas of study such as politic science, law, computers, education, and so on. It has been more heavily believe that a Classics education is more well rounded and suitable to an individual that may or may no know their end result- but knows "Dr." or "Supreme Court Justice" is in their future.

However, Classics students may have a sense of elitism that stems from their peers or even professors or advisers. However, it should be considered that most of the populace does not even care that there is a difference nor would they hire one over the other.

As contemporary student within academia, I have been asked several times what the difference is between Classics and Ancient History. I would have to respond that it is the language. I feel that Ancient History majors are not required nor do they have to train extensively in the ancient languages or texts.

As a Classicist one is expected to take the time to translate it themselves and then begin their proper work on philosophy, war tactics, and so on- using the translation they rendered. This is not the case for Ancient Historian who may pick up a well reputed and respected translation and read it in half or a quarter of the time and then begin their work.

I would also argue that Classicist are more concerned with the everyday life and society of ancient civilizations- almost closer to an anthropologist. And, that Classicist have a keener interest in philology. While, a historian may or may not concern themselves with these aspects.

More may be read on the subject at:Examiner: Classicist versus Historian


  1. I feel like this review may be very biased. As a student currently hesitating beteween majoring in History or Classical Studies, I wanted to get a good grasp of what both sides have to offer. But this post seem to paint Classical Studies as better in every aspect than History, without taking account that Historians have a broader range of societies and time periods they can study.

  2. Classical Studies has a sole focus. That means two things: Yes, History majors do get to learn far more periods of time (not necessarily in a broader geography, because there needs to be a certain limitation, so if you’re in Europe, your studies will revolve around European history); BUT, at the same time, it means Classical Studies majors do get to know far more in detail about classical civilisations, because their entire study revolves around one limited area. If you have decided you want to deal with classical civilisations, you should go with Classical Studies. If you are unsure of what specialisation you ultimately wish to have, History will be a better start.