Southwestern

Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

Classics

Why Study Classics? Intellectual joy and enrichment

Smythe_edtudents study the Classics for pure enjoyment and intellectual enrichment.

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “To read the Latin and Greek authors in their original, is a sublime luxury…. I enjoy Homer in his own language infinitely beyond Pope’s translation of him…. I thank on my knees, him who directed my early education, for having put into my possession this rich source of delight; and I would not exchange it for anything which I could then have acquired, and have not since acquired.” (Letter to Priestley, Jan. 27, 1800).

  • “We study Latin because without it we cannot know our history and our heritage. And without that knowledge we cannot know ourselves.” (A. Bartlett Giamatti, late Commissioner of Baseball and President of Yale University)
  • “Latin is the first subject we do in life entirely for its own sake. A degree at university in Classics leads to almost any job in the world. It gives one a disinterestedness in the study of any subject. Disinterestedness is NOT being uninterested. Quite the opposite: it is a love of studying without any practical result intended - and it gives the soul a peace, an inner control, a quiet joy beyond words.” (Anonymous)
  • “Ultimately, though, Classics majors get on well in life because they develop intellectual rigor, communications skills, analytical skills, the ability to handle complex information, and, above all, a breadth of view which few other disciplines can provide.” (The Princeton Review)
  • [In an ideal school] “I would make them all learn English: and then I would let the clever ones learn Latin as an honour, and Greek as a treat.” (Winston Churchill, My Early Life: A Roving Commission)

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