Ancient Studies is an inter-disciplinary program that lets students focus on the study of the world before the Middle Ages — everything from the Paleolithic period to the late Roman Empire, covering the Near East (Israel, Mesopotamia, Persia and their neighbors), Egypt, Greece and Rome, China, India, Japan — and all regions in between. It can also encompass the study of the cultures of the Americas — North American Indians, as well as the great urban American cultures of the Inca, the Maya, the Aztecs and others — before the arrival of European explorer/conquerors in the Fifteenth Century. With courses in history, languages, philosophy, political science, art history and anthropology, students in the Ancient Studies Minor can explore and learn about the Ancient World from almost any angle.
Students who minor in Ancient Studies will be well positioned for graduate studies in archaeology/anthropology, Classics, Egyptology, or any other specialized discipline dealing with the Ancient World. Beyond that, the skills stressed in Ancient Studies courses — languages, research, analysis, writing — are valuable in almost any field of endeavor. But possibly the most valuable thing the minor has to offer is a wider and deeper perspective on what it means to be human, which is crucial to understanding today's globalized, multi-cultural world. As Homer's Odyssey says of the hero Odysseus: “He saw many cities, and knew the minds of many men.” A minor in Ancient Studies offers SUNY-New Paltz students the opportunity to travel widely in both space and time — to really follow in the footsteps of Odysseus.