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.

06 March 2016

Lesson 16 - In (on, around and under) the Roman army

Our language warm-ups are getting really slick now: well done! I think we can safely say that we all know our present tense endings pretty well, and those nouns are looking pretty healthy too. It'll soon be time to shake things up a bit and add new verbs (irregular and imperfect) and noun cases (maybe a spot of genitive or dative?).

However, our topic for this week was the Roman army. Many of us take it for granted that the Romans conquered the greater part of the Western World in the creation of their empire, but how often do we stop to think how or why? The reasons are many, but arguably the most important one (or at least the thing that gets a foot in the door) is the might that was the Roman army. We watched a few videos that demonstrated the techniques, equipment and psychology that made the Roman army one of the most dominant forces of all time:

We all now know what a quincunx is, and just how terrifying it must have looked to see coming toward you over a hill...
...and how equally effective an unseen rearguard manoeuvre can be in routing the enemy. And, of course, we got to see the famous testudo (tortoise) formation, that allowed a man-tank of soldiers to advance in relative safety.

miles est in, sub, pro, prope (he gets around)
We then took the opportunity to learn some prepositions (vital in any army manoeuvre!) with a certain Lego legionary. Following this was a written exercise in seeing how pervasive Latin prepositions are as prefixes in the English language. Just take trans (through), for example:

transport, transference, transit, transaction, transatlantic, transcend, transcribe, translate, transfer, transform, transgression, transpire.

Knowing Latin prepositions can give us a helping hand when we encounter English words we don't know, such as 'antechamber'.