Michael Wagner

Author: Tom Hite

Wagner At Sounion 3

"I took a class my freshman year on the monumentality of Greek art and architecture. We tried to explain the significance of this movement towards monumental construction – both in the artwork and the city development of Athens – using various forms of visual aids, like photos of art and plans of buildings.  While this was effective, it removed perhaps the most important part of this study of monumentality – the physical experience.

When I stood in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, lectured alongside the Erechtheion on the Acropolis, and circled the Colosseum in Rome, I no longer listened to the presentation from a desk, but instead participated in it and became a part of the “visual aid.” The photo developed substance and the floor plan became three-dimensional. The opportunity to stand up close to a massive funerary vase or beneath a towering monument brought an entirely new element to my academic experience.

It was unfortunately an experience that I would have never felt without studying abroad. Studying in city of Classical importance – such as Rome, Athens, or Cairo – is absolutely essential for a Classics major at Notre Dame or any other university. It brings the history to life and it is essential to gaining a full appreciation for Classical Studies. As a student and as a person, it’s the best decision I’ve ever made."