Where do we come from? It’s a question we all ask almost as soon as we can talk, and there are a number of different answers – but one of the most important answers can be found in the study of classics, in the shared cultural heritage of the past of ancient Greece and Rome which has such a huge impact on our lives today. Learning to read Latin and Greek (both a joy in themselves for the beauty and precision of their grammar as well as the evocative power of their expression) opens a door into understanding our society through exploring where it came from and the forces which shaped it. It’s hard to think of a more compelling story than the Trojan War, or Odysseus’ long journey home from it; it’s difficult to imagine the world without democracy, first pioneered by the Athenians five hundred years before Christ, and it’s almost impossible to understand the power of the United States without thinking about the might of the Roman empire.
Studying classics at St Swithun’s is about learning the languages of Greek and Latin of course – but it’s also about the societies which spoke them. And if you find that the languages aren’t quite for you, for whatever reason, then don’t despair; there’s still the chance to explore the ancient world by choosing to study Classical civilisation; you will be able to read the literature in translation, learn about the history and marvel at the art – so you won’t miss out on exploring Greek and Roman society, and how these peoples shaped the world we live in today.