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Lapsed Classicists

(148 Posts)
TunipTheVegemal Tue 09-Oct-12 16:47:24

As mentioned on the Mary Beard thread.

My name is Tunip and it is twenty eight years since I last read a full-length piece of Latin or Greek literature.

However I am glowing at the discovery that I can still apparently translate 'What's your favourite biscuit?' into Latin.

Anyone else?

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 09-Oct-12 20:33:20

Cor, I am doing a fine impression of a crusty old bat. grin

LineRunner Tue 09-Oct-12 20:37:54

Did anyone else have to do Latin at school?

almapudden Tue 09-Oct-12 20:39:07

BA (Hons) Oxon 2007 here! Am a Classics teacher so have kept it up, although I haven't taught any Greek for a couple of years sad My Latin was always better than my Greek anyway.

Tacitus is definitely my favourite author - I love his sarcasm and his terrible guilt, I find him a very human author (if that makes sense).

I bloody hate Pindar though. Utter nonsense.

taurean Tue 09-Oct-12 20:40:36

Another (very much) lapsed classicist here. Haven't really read any Latin or Greek since late nineties. This thread has inspired me to find my loebs! I was asked recently to translate some Latin at work and am embarrassed to say I take it home to work on (it was only a few lines long! blush)

ScaryBOOAlot Tue 09-Oct-12 20:40:41

I'm interested in the history on language, so know a vague amount / can recognise some key words, but would love to learn more.

envy of doing Latin at school.

LineRunner Tue 09-Oct-12 20:41:53

Julius Caesar for me. De Bello Gallico.

Spooky. At the edge of time, at the edge of the world (imagine a deep booming Hollyowood voice here), making quite a lot of it up.

I also like Tactitus.

TunipTheVegemal Tue 09-Oct-12 20:42:07

It makes me sad that there is a very slender chance my kids will get to do Latin at school.
When I was at school I did Latin but thought myself hard done by because my school didn't offer Greek!

LineRunner Tue 09-Oct-12 20:44:24

God, wouldn't it be great if MN could resurrect Latin learning. smile


1. Improve vocab.
2. Love of learning.
3. Control of texts.

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 09-Oct-12 20:46:21

Ooh! alma, you graduated at the same time as my DH who did Ancient History! I bet you'd know each other by sight.

I did Latin at school, and felt angry I wasn't allowed to do GCSE Greek (we were only allowed 3 non-core subjects), but did it for A Level. I was very, very lucky.

Though, my teacher said that her parents told her it was terribly sad that Latin was dying out, no-one in the next generation would do it at school ... but it seemed to be clinging on! Let's hope.

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 09-Oct-12 20:47:44

Btw, not only did we have to do Latin at school. We also - if we got less than 70% in the test at the end of the first year - and to do Home Economics and Childcare.

Just a couple of years before the turn of the millenium. Unbelievable.

LineRunner Tue 09-Oct-12 20:49:32

Crazy that Latin has been so elitist.

Mama1980 Tue 09-Oct-12 20:55:42

Ohhh can I join smile not so much lapsed though, I am doing a phd in classical archaeology. Doing my own translations is pretty key. I love just about everybody-except Pindaric odes, I find the language very remote iykwim i can't feel the human element in them. Thucydides is probably my favourite so dynamic but with his own agenda too so he always seems very human and flawed, making him far more interesting.

Rollercoasteryears Tue 09-Oct-12 20:58:44

Hello, another lapsed classicist here (Cambridge 1997 - not at the wonderful Mary Beard's college but I did take one paper she was teaching, which was great. The paper was "personal politics" about the inter relationship between personal and political issues in ancient society - my over-riding memory of which is doing a mock exam where the first question was "of course it's political, everything is fucking political" - skunk anansie. discuss grin )

I don't think I've read any Latin since 1997 - so impressed by breast feeding while reading Cicero! I would SO love to go on a lapsed classicists course with you lot, Mary Beard and copious wine smile

ScaryBOOAlot Tue 09-Oct-12 20:59:28

I left (state) secondary school in 2007. When I got up to m (public) sixth form, even then it seemed to be dying out sad I don't understand why. Its so useful.

EdgarAllanPond Tue 09-Oct-12 21:40:47

the third state secondary i went to did Latin, and greek for 6th formers. if the teacher is still there, they'll still do it...if not, then not

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 09-Oct-12 21:43:31

We did Latin teaching at the state primary down the road. We all got walked there with copies of Minimus and our teacher, who used us as TAs for a class of 10/11 year olds who kept asking us in great detail about Roman solidiers/gladiators/blood. It was great fun. grin

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 09-Oct-12 21:44:07

(And when I say 'we' did it ... god, looking back, my poor teacher was heroic, coping with us and them!)

ScaryBOOAlot Tue 09-Oct-12 21:55:39

That's amazing! DS has an interest in ancient history already, which I shall be encouraging wink

Womenandchickensfirst Tue 09-Oct-12 21:58:23

Wow, how fantastic to read all this. Ancient Hist and Archaeology here, graduated in 1985, so VERY rusty, but inspired by you all. It's funny how every now and again you remember something and it seems as relevant today. We were so lucky to follow our passions back then. I do worry for our children, but have encouraged my DD's to study what they love at uni, and so far it's paid off for them...

tigerdriverII Tue 09-Oct-12 22:05:42

Hey, another lapsed classicist here. Not read anything since 1985, keep meaning to reread bits of the Aeneid or Odyssey, I like my epics. Or some Aristophanes, I'd forgotten the frogs. Must dust off a Loeb or two....

VerityClinch Tue 09-Oct-12 22:09:45

Someone tell me about Tacitus' guilt, please?

I love Tacitus (except I think he is a massive mysogynist) but know nothing of his guilt?

Cheddars Tue 09-Oct-12 22:20:28

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Juvenal! He was hilarious.

I always found Horace to be a bit of a gentle Alan Titchmarshy humour, while Juvenal was like Ben Elton on Friday Night Live. shows my age

WhitePeacock Tue 09-Oct-12 22:23:01

Meee! BA Classics and English, Latin tutor to very small fry for ages (but not beyond GCSE, as shamingly my grammar is really very rusty and I have to work hard at it to keep one step ahead even of Caecilius.) Poor Greek but total Iliad freak nevertheless. Anyone like Christopher Logue's War Music?
Also, anyone prone to muttering "pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo" when grumpy in a rush-hour crowd and getting toes trodden on? (That bit I did NOT teach any small fry.)

Rollercoasteryears Tue 09-Oct-12 22:32:17

Odi et amo. Quare id faciam, fortasse requires? Nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.

Anyone remember that Catullus ode? For some reason it has always stuck in my head since GCSE in 1990 and I still love it...

vesela Tue 09-Oct-12 23:23:26

Cheers, Tunip!

It's been 32 years here. After I graduated in 1990, I ran straight off to Czechoslovakia and that got in the way - but although I may have mostly forgotten my Latin (not to mention Greek) it did help with learning Czech. And I still read the odd bit of ancient philosophy, since much as I enjoyed everything else, that's what stayed with me most. (If I had a pound, though, for every Latin inscription that people have sent my mother hoping that vesela might be able to have a look at it... ).

This thread and the webchat have made me start looking up some Horace, though, and it's coming back.

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