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.

18 July 2015

Post scriptum

This week, Greig City Academy was asked to address the Classics for All Lawyers Group (and friends!) at the House of Lords. Nailaa and Lai'larni did an amazing job, and here's what they had to say...

"I would like to thank everyone that funded this programme because it is amazing to learn a new language, especially when it's a hard one. Learning Latin has given me a better understanding of the English language and other languages, for example, Spanish. The subject will benefit me because I'm planning on being a doctor in the future and Latin has quite a bit to do with medicine. I will be choosing Latin for my GCSE because I like the fact that it's quite a challenging subject and not everybody can say they've learned Latin."

"Classics this year has been really helpful for me. I have had the opportunity to study a subject that is intellectually demanding and incredibly interesting. It has helped me with many subjects, most notably with my English. Learning Latin has helped me with my grammar in English. I have also enjoyed learning how many words in the English language have come from Latin ones; learning about roots words has changed my way of thinking about etymology and has helped me to deduce unfamiliar words. Classics has also helped me in my History lessons. I have been fascinated by Roman history and studying about how the Roman Empire stretched to Britain, founding Londinium and bringing Latin culture and language with it. 

I've particularly enjoyed the varied activities that we have done this year. The philosophy has been incredibly interesting, where we got to study some Aristotle and Plato. We learned about human irrationality and how Plato stated that democracy is only one step up from anarchy. This really challenged my way of thinking about modern-day governments. Outside of the classroom, we have been on three really interesting trips. I particularly enjoyed the trip to the Roman amphitheatre, where we actually found under the Guildhall the old foundations of the amphitheatre for London, where gladiators would have fought, slaves would have been executed and a third of the population of London at the time would have gathered.

Perhaps the most appealing thing for me now, going forward, is that we have now been given the opportunity to study a GCSE in Latin. This will be really challenging, but it will be an incredible advantage to have on a CV, and I will have an intellectual advantage over many students who have not been privileged enough to access classical education. And it's a privilege to be able to study, to read and to write Latin. I know it will be difficult, but the opportunity to study this is amazing and I very much look forward to starting in September."

12 July 2015

Lesson 27 - Ave atque vale*

Well, here we are: our last lesson of Classics Club.

After a bit of admin (thanks for all your feedback), we thought about amphitheatres, after seeing those ruins last week under the Guildhall. The grandest Roman amphitheatre - which you all knew - is, of course, the Colosseum. To fully appreciate this architectural wonder, we took a video quiz on the impressive structure which was originally called (as we now know) the Flavian Amphitheatre.

So the Romans certainly knew how to build an impressive structure. But what else did they ever do for the world? The perfect answer can be found in a rather unexpected comic source...

And, from the same source (Monty Python's 'Life of Brian'), a contrast to the Classics Club method of teaching Latin... at least, I hope you all think so!

It's been a fantastic year. Have a great summer holiday and see some of you again in the new term for further adventures in Latin.

*="Hello and goodbye", a famous line written by the Roman poet Catullus. More here, if you're interested.

05 July 2015

Going underground

The outline of the amphitheatre
sub arbores cenabamus
What perfect weather for our trip to see some hidden archaeological gems in the City of London. First things first: a picnic in leafy Finsbury Circus before the short walk to the Guildhall. The Guildhall, home since the thirteenth century of the Mayor and various bodies of tradesmen ('guilds'), was built on the site of the
old Roman amphitheatre, the outline of which is marked in the courtyard pavement (above). But the real treat lies below ground, where sections of the Roman amphitheatre can be seen, along with a modern reconstruction of what the terraces would have looked like. 2,000 years ago, the amphitheatre was the site of gladiatorial combats, wild animal fights and public executions, and the stands could hold a large proportion of the city's inhabitants: the gory goings-on were evidently popular!

Into the unknown
The next part of our archaeological trail was a little more... maverick. I'd read about a massive, well-preserved piece of the Roman city wall. It just happened to be in an unnamed underground car park. Undaunted, we set out along London Wall (guess why the road has that name!) to find the entrance to the mysterious car park. And find it we did. As we walked through the long, blissfully cool underground passage, we saw cars, bikes, more cars, more bikes... but no sign of any Roman wall. Until, right at the end of the car park, standing out like a sore thumb, there it was. 2,000 years old, with a car park built around it. This just goes to show that you never know what's right under your feet.
tandem murem invenimus!