On Saturday, Nov. 18, take a step back into ancient Greece and Rome for the 7th annual Classics Day festival.

The free student-run event is held in conjunction with the North Carolina Junior Classical League (JCL) Fall Forum and raises awareness of the fascinating cultures of the ancient world and their contributions to modern-day society. Activities begin on the Stone Building lawn at 10 a.m. and will wrap up at 3 p.m. The festival is children- and dog-friendly.

New this year, students and faculty will conduct a Roman wedding ceremony and the Barefoot Domina will be on hand to whip up ancient dishes such as Pompeii bread. Classical Studies students have worked for months hand-sewing costumes and rehearsing two theatrical performances: a Greek tragedy and Roman comedy.

The JCL meets each fall and brings approximately 400 high school students and teachers to campus. The high school students will revive the popular human chariot races and gladiator battles. Also returning will be an archeology dig, Roman military drills, ancient fashion photo booth, board games, shield-making, trivia and oracle reading.

UNCG’s Dept. of Classical Studies is the second largest undergraduate program in the state and offers three concentrations: classical civilization, languages and archaeology. Students can also obtain licensure to teach Latin; elementary and secondary-level Latin teachers are in demand every year.

“For a bachelor’s-only program, we have more breadth and depth than most Classical Studies programs,” said Dr. Jonathan Zarecki, an associate professor who specializes in Roman history and Republican literature. “There’s something for everybody. It doesn’t matter if you’re into language, culture, travel and trade or construction techniques.”

Brandi Mauldin, a senior majoring in classical archeology, is president of the UNCG Classical Society and one of the main organizers of the festival.

“I wouldn’t consider any other school,” she said. “The faculty are so involved, and we feel very comfortable talking to them.”

For Zarecki, taking a day to celebrate the classics is more than just bringing recognition to his department. It’s about connecting with our past.

“They were people – older versions of us,” Zarecki said. “Looking at them allows us to look at ourselves. Looking at any type of history gives us a window into our current situation.”

 

Story by Elizabeth L. Harrison, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications