Shrewsbury School

Musings from our Head of Classics: The future of Classics - goodbye Mr Chips?

Tuesday 19 June 2012

John Godwin with 'Classical Literature', published in September 2011The old image of Classics as a moribund dry subject taught by decrepit pipe-smoking pedants is long out of date, and the subject has been enjoying a real revival in recent years. The delight of reading Latin and Greek texts for yourself is being brought to the living room by Mary Beard in her brilliant TV series ‘Meet the Romans’ and this (along with the racier diet of Spartacus) is helping to cause a surge in interest in the Romans and Greeks.  Boris Johnson is also doing his bit by pushing the ‘Latin for London’ initiative which is trying to get Latin into every school in the capital. 

Shrewsbury has always taught Latin, Greek and also Ancient History and our numbers have grown dramatically in recent years.  Our pupils are happier than ever to study these ‘dead’ languages and their culture; the languages are taught for the literature rather than the other way round, and yet grammatical rigour is still required if the pupils are to read the text with accuracy.  Pupils enjoy the poetry, the politics, the humour and above all the clash of cultures as we try to understand a world where slavery was normal and blood was shed for entertainment. 

Ad multos annos!


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