A knowledge of the classics is equipment for life. Latin offers an unrivalled opportunity to study an ancient society and literature in its original language.
Students study literature that is the basis of much of our European culture as well as providing a source of inspiration to many writers. Through the translation of Latin poetry and prose, an unsurpassable linguistic and analytical training is acquired.
Translation to and from Latin into English is a key feature of the subject and pupils build on the skills they have learned in Latin GCSE to become progressively more competent at analysing text and translating it with accuracy and style. As they do this, they develop an awareness of the influence of classical languages on the languages of today. Classical literature is also studied in the original language. This may include the works of authors such as Virgil, Ovid and Cicero, universal masters of their craft. By studying them, students’ language skills are improved, they gain an understanding of some of the most important works of Western literature, exactly as they were written some 2,000 years ago and they can judge for themselves, critically, some of the views that Roman authors had of their world; a vision that is often inspiring, sometimes disturbing, always fascinating.
The course is stimulating and enriching at every level, enjoyable in its own right and an excellent complement for English, History and especially Modern Languages. University students of all Languages are greatly assisted by the sound understanding of grammar and syntax that Latin provides, whereas Humanities students (e.g. History or English) gain deeper insights into their subjects from the extra perspective that their study of the Classical world gives them.
Latin is of course excellent preparation for a degree in Classics. This rigorous subject (comprising Classical languages, literature, history and philosophy) is often the starting point for many in a career in Law, Banking, Accountancy, the Civil or Diplomatic Service, the Media and Teaching. It also offers a superb education in itself, as it teaches transferable skills of a very high order, much sought after by employers. Latin A Level is also an excellent choice for students wishing to study Modern Foreign Languages or English at university and because of its rigorous intellectual training, is often chosen by those wishing to study Law or History.
Many features of Latin A Level are shared with Classical Greek. The subjects complement each other superbly and the two taken together provide students with a clearer insight into the Classical world as well as a variety of approaches to the critical observation of our own.