Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies

Welcome to Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies (CAMS) at Penn State!

CAMS is the study of cultures that arose and flourished around the Mediterranean basin (including Egypt, Greece, Rome, Anatolia, Israel, Mesopotamia, and North Africa) from ancient Mesopotamia (ca. 4000 BCE) to the end of Greco-Roman antiquity (ca. 600 CE). CAMS investigates the whole scope of the ancient Mediterranean world and trains students to interpret the linguistic, historical, and archaeological evidence of its cultures.

Committed to Diversity

The Department of Classics & Ancient Mediterranean Studies (CAMS) at Penn State is devoted to fostering an environment of diversity, equity, and inclusion for all who study the ancient world. As an open and welcoming academic community, we embrace a view of the ancient Mediterranean and its legacies as the common heritage of all people, regardless of gender, color, race, nationality, religion, age, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.

In keeping with our conviction that scholarship on antiquity benefits from a multiplicity of voices and perspectives, CAMS supports diversity in research areas, classroom activities, and above all in its membership, especially among groups historically under-represented in the field.

We affirm Penn State’s commitment as a public institution of higher education to effectively serve the members of our communities at all levels – on campus, across the state, and beyond – and we welcome the input of our students, colleagues, and friends as we pursue this goal.

CAMS 471: Sumerian

Sumerian is the earliest language ever attested in writing, over 5,000 years ago in Mesopotamia (Iraq). It has no verbal conjugations or paradigms to memorize, but a rich & fascinating corpus of compositions to read, from mythology to royal inscriptions, from love poetry to economic documents.

Join us and read texts that were written 2,000 years before Homer & Plato, including stories about legendary kings such as Gilgamesh and hymns to gods, goddesses & rulers.

Sumerian is accessible, is ancient, is cool — what are you waiting for? Sign up here!

CAMS 490: Syriac

Still looking for a class for Spring 2021? Consider CAMS 490: Syriac

Syriac is a dialect of Aramaic, best known for its use by Christians in the Middle East. Besides early translations of the Bible, texts in Syriac include religious poetry, theological and philosophical works, and lives of the Eastern saints. Syriac was also an essential link in the chain of transmission of Greek philosophy into the Middle Ages, as well as literary works from India, such as beast fables. Sign up here!

Featured Graduate

Michaela Busic

Michaela graduated Penn State in 2019 with a degree in World Languages Education (Latin) and Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies. She was awarded the Robert E. Dengler Classics Prize, established in honor of a long-standing Classics faculty member and awarded to the year’s “outstanding” student majoring in any area of Classical Studies. Since graduation, Michaela has taken as job at St. William of York Catholic School, teaching Latin to students from first through eighth grade.

Michaela Busic
Featured Graduate

Skoutelas selected as classics and ancient Mediterranean studies marshal

As part of Penn State’s 2020 spring commencement activities, Charissa Skoutelas will represent the Department of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies in the College of the Liberal Arts as the department’s student marshal. After graduation, Skoutelas plans to pursue a master’s degree in classics before potentially furthering her education by earning a doctorate in classics or entering a museum career. 

Charissa Skoutelas
Featured Graduate

William McCarter

William McCarter is a senior majoring in Classics and Economics in the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State, where he is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. William has been active in state government and politics since arriving in State College, volunteering on campaigns for various state and federal legislators and working as the treasurer of the Penn State College Republicans. William’s academic interests center on the history of law and economics, on which topic he penned several submissions published in The Wall Street Journal. After college, he plans to attend law school and would ultimately like to work as counsel in the state or federal legislature. 

William McCarter
March 19, 2021
– March 21, 2021
This workshop reflects an on-going shift in the discipline of Classics, which has been focusing increasingly on the reception of ancient materials among Black, Indigenous, or Other People of Color.
Please read the CAMS department’s condemnation of the racist Zoom bombing of the Penn State Black Caucus.
February 5, 2021
3:30 pm
Join us for the next installment in the 2020-2021 CAMS Lecture Series!
Applications are now open for summer study abroad in Tel Akko and Rome! More information on both programs is available here.
April 16, 2021
– April 18, 2021
This workshop, jointly organized by Anna Peterson (Penn State) and Janet Downie (UNC), will explore the relationship between lived space, society, and power and its depiction in Greek literature of the first three centuries C.E.
Binyam’s primary research interests lie in the reception of ancient Greek and Latin literature within medieval Ethiopic texts.