Rockford Institute literature & history course

The Rockford Institute announced that it will offer a class this fall beginning Sept. 23 on “The History and Literature of the Ancient World.” The class, which is open to the public, will be at the Institute’s offices at 928 N. Main St. on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

The course will start with a survey of Egypt and Mesopotamia as a prelude to an in-depth study of the history and literature of Greece and Rome. “The civilization of Europe and the United States is a legacy from ancient Greece and Rome,” said Institute President Thomas Fleming, “and the study of the history and literature of these great civilizations is the foundation of any serious education.

“Studying ancient history is critical to a proper understanding of current events,” Fleming added. “Saddam Hussein modeled himself on the ancient rulers of Babylon, and there are ample lessons for America to learn from the imperialism of Athens and Rome.”

The course will be taught by Fleming, who holds a Ph.D. in classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is regarded as a leading authority on Greek lyric verse. Fleming described the Greek classics as “the deepest and strongest current of human wisdom and beauty that has flowed into Christendom.” The course’s unique approach—the concurrent study of history and literature—will give students a thorough appreciation of the civilizations on which our own is built.

The Ancient History course is part of an expansion of the Institute’s educational programs that has gained momentum and broadened in scope since Fleming became president of the Institute in 1997. The Institute now operates educational conferences in Europe and the United States called “convivia,” an annual Summer School in Rockford, a Local Lectures series, and semester-long courses in history, literature, Latin and Greek. Last year’s course was “Real American History.” Students who took the course excelled at the American History CLEP test, earning them six hours of college credit.

“It is one thing for a think tank to carp about the crisis in education in America,” remarked Institute Vice President Christopher Check. “It is another for it to roll up its sleeves and offer genuine alternatives rooted in the best our tradition has to offer. Americans who are serious about educating themselves and their children are going to have to take matters into their own hands, and the Rockford Institute is here to help. What’s more, we are determined to leave an enduring cultural legacy to the town in which God has planted us.”

Reflecting this determination, the Institute is keeping the tuition at, $100 per semester. “To take a comparable course at an American college or university,” Check said, “would cost many times what we are charging.”

Anyone interested in taking the course should call the Institute at (815) 964-5811.

The Rockford Institute is a not-for-profit educational organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the personal virtues and cultural institutions of Western Civilization. The Institute hosts conferences in the U.S. and abroad and publishes a monthly magazine, Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture.

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