MIT School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences - Great Ideas Change the World

Ancient And Medieval Studies



Through a wide variety of subjects drawn from a number of disciplines, this program provides a curricular framework for exploring topics in ancient and medieval studies which range from the history of ideas and institutions to that of material artifacts, literature and certain of the original languages. The chronological span of the program includes some 6,500 years between 5000 B.C. and 1500 A.D.

The goal of this program is to develop knowledge and understanding of the more distant past both for itself, in its uniqueness, and as an object of specifically modern questions and methods of inquiry. We are interested in the structure of institutions and social systems, and in relationships between the social order and learned traditions, values, ideologies and ideas. Ancient and medieval studies derive a special claim to our interest from the fact that the record is so full and multiform and that much of it is of exceptionally high quality at once in substance and form.

The concentration requirements consist of four subjects, at least one of which is to be taken in the medieval period by students whose focus is to be the Ancient World, or one in the ancient period by those whose focus is the Middle Ages. Subjects listed below as ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL may count for either. At least two of the subjects taken towards the concentration must be taken at M.I.T. A HASS Concentration may include only ONE (1) subject that also counts toward the HASS Distribution Requirement. You may include more than one only if the additional subject will NOT count as a HASS Distribution subject in your degree audit.

Concentrators may count up to two subjects in Greek or Latin or a medieval vernacular (taken at MIT or other institutions) towards the concentration. Students interested in the program should contact the Concentration Advisor.

There are two forms (Proposal and Certification of Completion) required to track your progress in pursuing a concentration in Ancient and Medieval Studies. Each must be signed by the concentration advisor and submitted by the student to Chuck Munger in the History Office (E51-255). The Proposal for a Concentration in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences requests a list of the Ancient and Medieval subjects the student has taken or intends to take. This form should be submitted by the end of the sophomore year. The Certification of Completed Concentration in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences confirms your completion of the requirements for the concentration. This form should be filled out as soon as the required course work has been completed, or by the end of the first week of classes of your final term, whichever comes first.


4.605 A Global History of Architecture, HASS-A
21H.007J Empire: Introduction to Ancient and Medieval Studies [21L.014], HASS-H, CI-H
21H.333 Early Christianity, HASS-H
21L.001 Foundations of Western Literature: Homer to Dante, HASS-H, CI-H
21L.611 Latin I [6-unit course] **
21L.612 Latin II [6-unit course] **


3.982 The Ancient Andean World, HASS-S
3.983 Ancient Mesoamerican Civilization, HASS-S
3.993 Archaeology of the Middle East, HASS-S
21H.130 The Ancient World: Greece, HASS-H, CI-H
21H.132 The Ancient World: Rome, HASS-H, CI-H
21H.233J The Ancient City [11.012], HASS-H
21H.236 The Making of a Roman Emperor, HASS-H
21H.331 Julius Caesar and the Fall of the Roman Republic, HASS-H
21L.455 Classical Literature, HASS-H
21L.458 The Bible, HASS-H


4.614 Religious Architecture and Islamic Cultures, HASS-A
4.635 Renaissance Architecture, HASS-A
21H.133 The Medieval World: CE 200-1500, HASS-H
21H.134J Medieval Economic History in Comparative Perspective [14.70], HASS-S, CI-H
21H.160 Islam, the Middle East, and the West, HASS-H
21H.238 The Vikings, HASS-H
21H.334 The World of Charlemagne, HASS-H, CI-H
21L.460 Medieval Literature, HASS-H
21M.220 Early Music, HASS-A

This list is not exhaustive. Relevant subjects that are no longer offered and subjects with variable topics (such as “special subjects” or “selected topics” courses, for example) may also be counted at the discretion of the concentration advisor.

[ ] Jointly listed subjects
** These two 6-unit classes may be combined by petition to form one 12-unit HASS-Elective
(G) Graduate subjects which are open to qualified undergraduates, with the permission of the instructor

Additional information can be obtained from the Concentration Advisor:
Professor Arthur Bahr, 14N-424, x3-3616
Or from the Literature Office, 14N-407, x3-3581