Department of Classics and Ancient History

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Professor Robert Cattley teaching a Classics course, (194-?). UA PC 1; no. 11d.

Previously named: Classics and History; Classical Literature and History

Established: 1912

History: The study of Classical and Ancient subjects at UNB finds its roots in the same department as the study of Modern History. At the establishment of the University of New Brunswick in 1859, these disciplines all fell under the study of 'Classical Literature and History'. The lines between Classics, Ancient History, and other historical study often overlap and can be difficult to disentangle. In 1862, the professor of 'Classical Literature and History' taught Latin, Greek Literature, Greek History, and Tytler's Universal History from the Creation of the World to the Beginning of the Eighteenth Century. This demonstrates both how broad the subject matter was in that department and how the study of Classics began there. Classics and History remained connected as a discipline under the same department for many years and in the beginning Classics garnered more focus. In the 1883-84 academic year, there were two mandatory classics courses in each year of a B.A. compared with one class in each freshman and junior years for History. By 1900, Classics courses were still required in each year of a B.A. with one Ancient History class while Modern History was only available for study by Honours students. It is at this time that one can begin to see the distinction between Classical and Modern History. This trend continued in the 'Classics and History' department, and in the 1908 calendar the only history mentioned is a course in Ancient History listed under Classics, and the honours 'modern history' course of study was removed from the curriculum. It should be noted that only one student, Ernest S. Ruel, enrolled in the Modern History honours program in those first twenty years it was offered at the school.

In the 1912 academic calendar, the department of 'Classics and Ancient History' was created for the first time, and the study of Modern History was created again to be part of another department. At this point, two classics courses were mandatory in the first year of a B.A. and one in second year with elective courses available to third and fourth year students. There were a total of thirteen 'Classics and Ancient History' courses offered by the department. The department of Classics and Ancient History remained a singular entity for the following 100 years and offered between ten and twenty courses from 1912 until 1980 when the size of the department grew to thirty courses. By 2012 the Classics and Ancient History Department had grown to offer eighty-two courses.

Physical location: Carleton Hall

Faculty: Arts

Notes: The year that a certain department was established can be a subjective figure. For the purpose of this wiki, the year that a department is considered first established is the first year it was listed in the academic calendar as an independent chair with no other affiliation, unless there is documentation to demonstrate otherwise.


  • University Calendars (UA RG 86), 1862, 1863, 1884, 1900, 1908, 1912, 1915, 1928, 1940, 1950, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, 2012
  • UA Case 106; Section 4; Alfred G. Bailey, Origins of the Study of History in the University of New Brunswick

© UNB Archives & Special Collections, 2014