Ancient Studies
Welcome to Stellenbosch University


​​​​​​What is Ancient Studies?

​​A subject that offers students the opportunity to engage with the literature, history, mythology, everyday life, practices, religions, thought/philosophy, art, politics of ancient people – specifically the ancient Egyptians, Nubians, Kushites, Greeks, Romans, Mesopotamians and others. ​

What can I do with Ancient Cultures?​​​​

In undertaking a BA degree, you are learning a host of transferable skills. Ancient Cultures is a great companion to many subjects! This is because of the many aspects of ancient peoples’ lives students engage with over their three years of undergrad. Regardless of whether your interest is in literature, politics, history or sociology, Ancient Cultures will give you a unique perspective on people and world.  Some of the skills you will develop during your studies with us include:


  • research methods

  • writing and critical thinking

  • reading and analysing complex texts reflecting a variety of lived experiences in ancient societies 

    • handling and documenting cultural artefacts from the past

  • analyzing ancient artefacts within their contexts

  • the ability to critique and reevaluate the relationship between the past and the present 

What can I do with an ancient language? Why not study a modern language?

Why not do both? Greek and Latin are two ancestors of a number of languages spoken today (particularly Romance languages – e.g. French, Spanish, Italian); even English and other Germanic languages have roots in the ancient world. English vocabulary is heavily influenced by both Greek and Latin. You could also think of ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew and Latin as opportunities to approach languages in ways that may well expand your vocabulary and improve your command of your mother tongue.​ 

Also, since ancient language courses focus primarily on reading, students are able to gain advanced proficiency to read literary texts in the original language in a shorter time than in the modern languages which put equal emphasis on speaking, listening, reading, writing. 

Finally, if you are interested at all in the ancient literature of the past, there is no substitute for reading this literature in the ancient language. If you are an Ancient Cultures major and are considering postgraduate study, it is advisable to study the ancient languages as well.

Do I need to know Latin, Greek or Hebrew to be able to take them at university level? 

No, not at all. Come as you are, and we’ll take you from the ABC’s to the beautiful world of ancient literature. If you do, however, have matric-level Latin (or equivalent) and wish to continue, feel free to contact us to find out what your options are.​

​Can I do a degree in Ancient Studies? ​

​No. You can, however, do a degree which includes one or more of our subjects and major in Ancient Cultures. Thereafter, you may decide to do an Honours, MA and PhD in any of the subjects we offer. The BA in Language & Culture allows students to choose Ancient Cultures and an ancient language or two. Please consult the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences yearbook for more information about degree requirements and choices.​