Classics: Latin & Ancient Greek (Pre-U)
We study Classical Languages to understand the roots of so many of today’s languages, to engage with the distant past and to encounter its history and culture and to learn grammatical accuracy, linguistic discipline and to understand patterns and conventions across languages as well as engaging with the very beginnings of European Literature.
“Oft of one wide expanse had I been told,
That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene,
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken”
John Keats was forced to read Homer in translation. Despite his poetic talent, his knowledge of Ancient Greek did not stretch to the poetic epics which documented the stories of Achilles and Odysseus. However much he claimed to enjoy his experience in the poem above, I’m sure he’d rather have been able to pick up a copy and read the original language. The study of Greek and/or Latin will open the door to a world of culture and literature dating from the origins of Western Literature through to the pamphlets of the 17th Century. Studying Latin and/or Greek will also help you gain a rigorous understanding of the structures of grammar, and the ability to interpret written texts in a sensitive, clear and nuanced way.
From the outset, you will be expected to build on the literary skills developed at GCSE and to develop fluency in reading Latin/Greek literature in the original. We choose texts for the Sixth Form which will help to achieve this, and which will also give students an understanding of the range of and interplay between different literary genres. Among the texts available to us are some of the finest pieces of Western Literature, and our hope is that students will be inspired and enriched by the ideas and emotions contained within them. Our driving aim is that
we should equip our students with the knowledge and skills needed to be engaged, accurate and independent readers of classical literature.
Many Classics students go on to study Classics at university, and there is an excellent success record for students looking to gain such a place at their first choice university. Classics as a degree is wide-ranging in its content, and often includes the study of literature, history, philosophy, art and architecture, philology and so on. It is extremely well-respected in the work-place, and Classics graduates go on to the same range of careers as other Humanities graduates (e.g. Law, Finance, the Civil Service, NGOs or Think-Tanks, Advertising, Media).
Latin and Greek are offered through our association with Westminster School. Lessons will take place at Westminster and places are limited. Latin and Greek are taught as separate subjects and the courses follow similar structures. For both languages we follow the Pre-U course.