Classical subjects such as Latin, Classical Civilisation and ancient Greek were once considered a prestigious privilege for few and not many had the access to education in them. But now, their revival in primary and secondary schools is well underway and students are finally able to study the languages and incidents that define our modern world.

However, despite the fact that they are taught in schools all across the country, they are still heavily underappreciated and many students study them simply because they have to. The sound of the phrase ‘Caecilius est in horto’ (Latin for Caecilius is in the garden) makes many cringe as they think about the countless hours they have spent learning a language they believe has little worth.

Latin and ancient Greek are considered by many to be ‘dead languages’ with little to no significance in our modern lives. Indeed, it is true that with the advances of modern technology and the potential for the future seemingly endless, studying the ancient world and its languages may appear pointless. Still, their importance has not diminished and studying innovations and technologies from the ancient world has, and continues to greatly influence our world today.  

Studying a classical subject provides so many opportunities, due to the variety of skills that can be gained from doing so. Not only can you gain an insight on civilisation in the ancient world and learn its languages, but you can enhance your grammar, critical thinking and language skills.

Evie Nicholls, a student who studies Latin said “I enjoy studying Latin because it is so helpful for learning how language works. I also find the methodical approach it takes very useful and I like the way you can work through it clearly.” She went on to say that she thinks it is really important to study because learning it ‘comes with a greater knowledge of the classical world.'

By studying Latin or ancient Greek, you do not only gain new language skills, but you are given opportunities for wide ranged thinking and to link subject areas from civilisation to language. The skills you gain from these subjects do not go unnoticed and evidence suggests that universities and employers have a certain respect for those who have studied classical subjects. Famous figures who have made a name for themselves in the modern world, such as Mark Zuckerberg and J.K. Rowling, studied classics at school or university and it is evident to see how useful the skills they gained from these subjects have been.

It goes without saying that the reliance we have today on the classical world is extensive. The works of great writers such as Homer and Virgil have influenced the works of world renown writers such as Shakespeare. The lives of figures in the classical world like Caesar and Cleopatra teach us valuable lessons in leadership and power. Without the influence of the classical world, our lives would be much different. So why do people still shun the idea of studying classical subjects?

A simple explanation could be that they do not know just how useful classical subjects really are, or perhaps the subjects are not taught in a way that makes them interesting and inviting. Perhaps if in all schools, classical subjects were taught in an enjoyable way and their importance truly recognised, then they would be excepted by more students and enjoyed by many.

By Aashi Shah