Learning Classics is a bit like putting on a magic pair of 3-D glasses. Once you start delving into the language and the culture, you'll start to see it all around you. This blog is a record of the club's journey through the worlds and language of ancient Rome and Greece... and through modern times, too, searching for the influence of classics all around us. You'll also be able to find vocab, home tasks, links and generally enlightening info here, too.

02 May 2015

Lesson 21 - An imperfect world

Big strides in both our language and cultural learning today, and some debate topical to the upcoming general election.

I used to walk the dog ever day
Firstly, we tackled a new tense. The imperfect tense is used to describe past actions that are in some way unfinished or ongoing. We did a few quick-fire matching exercises on the board, then some of us had a go at writing our own imperfect tense Latin sentences such as 'deus Romanos non amabat' (Nailaa) and 'Romanus Romanum amabat' (Lorenze). We'll continue with some more imperfect tense work next week.

Not Plato's first choice
Next we explored human imperfection. In the last couple of weeks, we've seen how Plato postulates that people are irrational beings, and that democracy (i.e. 'rule by the people') is only one step up from anarchy (i.e. 'no rule at all'). We discussed the Platonic notions of oligarchy, timocracy and aristocracy (which, don't forget, means 'rule by the best': it could be argued that the word is mis-applied in its modern context!). We also explored some of the possible pitfalls in Plato's ideas. As we saw next, it is possible to reconcile the idea of human irrationality with a workable version of democracy, thanks to Ken Taylor of Stanford University:
The answer? To understand better our failings and biases as humans. We'll look at this notion more next week as we encounter Aristotle's important idea of 'γνῶθι σεαυτόν' ('gnothi seauton') or self-knowledge.