Celia Caffery, Class of 2012
Major: Classical Studies (Greek)
Career interests: Human Rights Law and Social Policy
Favorite ancient text: Homer’s Iliad
Favorite ancient author: The playwright Euripides, because he sticks up for the little guy.
Favorite modern-day salute to antiquity: To commemorate Rome’s 2,762nd birthday in 2009, a chariot race was held in the Circus Maximus in Rome. Bikers dressed like Romans and bikes dressed like horses.
Favorite thing about the Carleton Classics Department: Due to its size, the Carleton classics department provides unparalleled attention and flexibility to its students. Two of the classes I have taken for my major, “Depicting Greek Women” and “Greek Orators” were turned into classes or independent studies because I went to my advisor and expressed interest in those topics.
Favorite Classics class: “Power and Persuasion” was a first year seminar on ancient rhetoric with Clara Hardy. I took it because I was interested in rhetoric and thought it would be a good introduction to writing persuasively at Carleton. I was certainly not expecting it to turn me into a classics major!
Favorite mythological character: I love Clytemnestra and Medea because, even though they both did horrible things to their families, they are strong women who break through the oppression of their position as women in Ancient Greek society and they empower themselves through their oppression.
“Tragedy raises questions about each of us, our sense of self and self-knowledge, yet to do so it takes a detour through the other.” –Simon Goldhill How to Stage Greek Tragedy Today
What Simon Goldhill says about Greek tragedy can be applied to the study of Classics today as well. Many of the moral dilemmas addressed by the Greeks are still being grappled with today. For me, Classical Studies provided a lens through which I could examine society’s social problems now—everything from immigration to warfare. Studying Classics is dramatic, exciting and taught me most of what I know about English grammar and rhetoric. Most importantly, however, it provided me a foundation of rhetoric on human ethics, which I can expand on as I move forward and pursue a career in human rights law and social policy.
Watch Celia's 2012 Classics Symposium presentation:
Justice Betrayed: The Role of the Athenian Assembly in the Aftermath of the Battle of Arginusae
- Celia Caffery '12
- Nicole Johnson '12