Why should I study Latin?

Maths with Words: Latin gives you a profound historical understanding of the beginnings of everything else you learn about, and a realisation that people haven’t changed much. And, by studying an ancient language, you will be able to read the actual words Cicero or Virgil used, to get a direct line into the thought of minds dead for thousands of years, but genetically like ours.

It’s also extremely impressive to universities and employers, for the reasons given below.

We are an active department, with talks and trips throughout the year, strong use of ICT, with a good library. A high percentage of our Classical Sixth-formers go on to study the ancient world at university, including at Oxford and Cambridge.

What skills will I gain?

Studying Latin combines the elements of Maths, MFL and English: close logical analysis, the development of linguistic knowledge and skills, and the study of some amazing literature. Latin maintains its position among the most prestigious qualifications because of this unique combination of skills, this multi-disciplinary, all-round, approach; an A level in Latin speaks volumes to universities and employers.

What will I learn?

You will learn a lot more about the Latin language: all the grammar and vocabulary needed to read texts for yourself. You will also get a lot more skilful at writing fluent and accurate translations, both out of and into Latin (though for the exam writing into Latin is optional).

Original Latin literature is studied in prose and verse. For prose, the class will be able to choose elements from Cicero’s political speeches, Tacitus’ history of the Emperors, and the historian of early Rome, Livy, and, for verse, elements from the climax of Virgil’s Aeneid, the raw love poems of Catullus, and Ovid’s Heroides – dramatic monologues in the characters of the often-unheard women of myth.

There are four papers: two on language and two on literature, each of these components being worth 50% of the A level.

As you can see, it’s half Language – working out what a piece of Latin means, and then writing good English to convey that meaning, trying as you go to capture the spirit and nuance of the original. And half Literature – reading and studying Latin literature and answering questions on it.

Entry requirements: Grade 8 at GCSE Latin.

Examination Board: OCR

Mr C.J. Lord
Head of Department