Students sit in a Roman ampitheater

Classical Mediterranean and Middle East

Travel through time with us.

About our department

    The Classical Mediterranean and Middle East Department at Macalester College studies the diverse cultures, civilizations, and histories of antiquity to better understand contemporary concerns. The study of antiquity values the lessons and experiences of those who lived before us, and encourages students to challenge and reframe their view of the past. Every student’s unique perspective aids in our understanding of what it means to be human throughout the centuries, and how we responsibly study history in the modern day.

    CMME at Macalester recognizes that no civilization has ever existed in a vacuum. As such, we focus on the convergences of culture, religion, and language. The study of the Classical Mediterranean and Middle East extends beyond the realms of Athens and Rome. We are incredibly proud to offer course offerings in Hebrew and Arabic in addition to the traditional Classical pedagogy of Greek and Latin. Furthermore, we offer a number of cross-listed, interdisciplinary courses with the Religious Studies, Art History, and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies departments.

    Why study Classics at Macalester?

    • Take fascinating topic courses on the art, religion, culture, and history of ancient societies.
    • Read beautifully crafted stories and poems in their original languages. Our language courses offer opportunities to work through the Qu’ran, the epics of Homer, the works of Roman poets like Virgil and Catullus, and Genesis.
    • Study abroad in any number of amazing locations where history is still alive today–Athens, Morocco, Jordan, etc.
    • Enjoy opportunities for funded summer research and/or archaeological field work!
    • Develop a set of interdisciplinary skills including argumentation, historical research writing, language acquisition, and group collaboration.
    • Join a passionate and inviting community of students who have diverse and expansive interests in the ancient world!

    What can I do with my CMME major/minor?

    Our Macalester CMME alums have found success in a variety of different fields around the globe. For individual alumni updates, visit our “After Macalester” page. The skills gained from studying classics at Macalester map onto a number of positions and disciplines. From museum work to law and medicine, from official governmental positions to non-profit organizations, the possibilities are endless!

    Classics in the cities

    Past Student Internships: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Ramsey County Historical Society, Science Museum of Minnesota, Somali Museum of Minnesota, Children’s Museum of Minnesota, Nova Classical Academy, The Advocates for Human Rights, and the MN Council of Nonprofits.

    Field Trips: The Classics department is working on integrating more field trips into our curriculums! From renditions of ancient plays to the Twin Cities Arabic Film Festival, there are plenty of opportunities to experience Classics in action.

    The Minnesota Institute of Art: Classes which center around artistic traditions in history often include a visit and/or projects with the Minnesota Institute of Art!

    Join our community

    • Apply for the Arabic House – Immerse yourself in Arabic and live amongst fellow students studying and speaking the language! Even students who don’t live in the Arabic House are invited to weekly events and lunches to practice their conversational Arabic.
    • Classics Cookie Party – Finish off your semester by decorating cookies with your classmates and professors. The Classics Cookie Party has been a tradition in the department for over 20 years!
    • Picnics and Lunches – The CMME department offers periodical lunches and picnics for majors and minors as well as any student with an interest in the Classics. Anyone can join!