Classical studies concerns itself with the study of classical culture, beginning with the Greeks and extending through the Roman and
Byzantine periods. This 2,000-year epoch witnessed the rise and fall of Greek and Roman empires as well as the birth of Christianity and Islam; it defined civilization for millions of people living in the ancient Mediterranean region and beyond. It strongly influenced medieval European and Islamic cultures and gave rise to the Renaissance and Enlightenment movements in the West. The surviving texts written in ancient Greek and Latin constitute the starting point for all inquiry. Knowledge of these languages unite classicists, whether they be philologists, historians, art historians, archaeologists, mythologists, palaeographers, or philosophers.