Hear the dead speak. Learn Latin or Greek.
When you learn a classical language, you can read the original words Julius Caesar spoke describing the terrifying cries of blue-painted Celtic warriors charging towards him and his army. You can hear the hypnotic music in the poetry of Homer. You can feel the intertwined draw of love and lust as Sappho tells you of the object of her desire. Reading an original Greek or Latin text allows you to feel the presence of the author in a way an English translation never can.
But this is only one reason to study a classical language, there are many more:
- Prepare for a career in the health sciences by learning Greek and Latin-based medical vocabulary.
- How can you be a lawyer if you don’t know what habeas corpus means?
- Theologians and Biblical scholars have argued for millennia about specific points of Christian theology such as the nature of the Holy Spirit or the divinity of Christ. The answers to these questions turn on an ability to read the ancient Greek of the New Testament.
- Speak and write better in English: 60 percent of English words have classical roots.
- Learning the grammar of a classical language helps you better understand English grammar and thus speak and write in an educated way.
- Latin is the root language of French, Italian, Romanian, Spanish, and other Romance languages. Learning Latin makes learning any of these languages much easier.
- Translating Greek or Latin is an exercise in logic; training in these languages is training in a clear way to think about all issues and problems.
- Any historian of the ancient world must be able to read texts that have not been translated into English yet.
The University of Evansville offers courses in beginning, intermediate, and advanced Latin and Greek as well as courses in New Testament Greek and Medieval Latin. Take one of these courses next semester and rediscover an ancient world you only thought you knew.