40 Reasons to learn Latin:
Ann Patty on twitter
1. Because it’s eccentric.
2. Because it uses the same sort of analytical skill that math does, but rather than equations, you end up with poetry.
3. Because it’s not simply goal oriented.
4. Because it’s a challenge.
5. Because it opens up a completely different time and culture.
6. Because it is gymnastics for the mind.
7. Because it is both elegantly compact and wildly errant.
8. Because the only knowledge that is useless is knowledge you lack.
9. Because you can understand all the magic spells in Harry Potter.
10. Because de gustibus non disputandum est.
11. Because it improves your memory.
12. Because it is the home base of English.
13. Because you can translate all those Latin phrases writers throw into their books and articles.
14. Because it allows you to join a conversation that’s been ongoing for thousands of years.
15. Because it inspires love as well as exasperation.
16. Because you can understand medical terminology.
17. Because learning to parse verbs and nouns helps you parse other questions.
18. Because it is a gateway into many other modern languages.
19. Because it improves speaking and writing skills.
20. Because it is constantly amazing.
21. Because you can read some great literature in the original language.
22. Because it builds your vocabulary.
23. Because, like all parents, it is something to be reckoned with.
24. Because it helps you understand Western history and culture.
25. Because you will know the difference between e.g. and i.e.
26. Because orators crib from the great Latin rhetoricians all the time.
27. Because it helps you make connections between disparate concepts.
28. Because it teaches you to order your thoughts in a fundamentally different way.
29. Because communicating with the dead is important.
30. Because it is ubiquitous and immortal.
31. Because you will learn about ancient mythology, gods, and goddesses.
32. Because you can’t understand where we are without understanding where we’ve been.
33. Because you will be able to decipher legal terms.
34. Because you will get to know the original Dead White Men on their own terms.
35. Because you will be able to decipher botanical terms.
36. Because you can use it to create new nomenclature for sexual persuasions.
37. Because you will know which of the credits on John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight are fake, and which are real Latin.
38. Because you can scatter Latin phrases into your conversations.
39. Because your friends will think you are crazy in an interesting way.
40. Because it just might change your life.
Archaeology at the University of Sheffield
5 December 2012 ·
As we all know, absolute dating techniques in archaeology often come with a sizable plus/minus cushion - such is the case with our dating of the foundation of the Department of Prehistory and Archaeology at Sheffield - 1976 +/- 1 year. The relative chronology is clear: Robert Hopper retired and Keith Branigan was appointed as Professor of Archaeology but could not take up his position until the following year. During the intervening year, Derek Mosely was acting Head - but it seems that there was some disagreement about what he was Head of: an independent Archaeology department or a group of Archaeology staff within the Department of Ancient History. But everyone agrees that once Keith took up his post in August, the Department of Prehistory and Archaeology most definitely existed!
The question is, when did these events take place? Our very own Colin Merrony provides a very helpful terminus ante quem, since he started his undergraduate degree in Archaeology in 1977 and he swears up and down that the department existed when he arrived. Indeed, the Centenary history of the University (published 2005) has the department starting in 1977, but a departmental booklet published in 1979 - to celebrate the department's move to its own building on Clarkehouse Road - says that Keith took up his post in 1976. So in a neat bit of source criticism, we're assuming that the 1979 source is likely to be right - and we have external corroboration from another former staff member, Professor John Drinkwater, who remembers that he married his wife Gillian the year that Hopper retired and that certainly was in 1975. So, the balance of evidence suggests the chronology of events was as follows:
1975: Robert Hopper retires and Keith Branigan is appointed as Professor of Archaeology
1976: Keith takes up his post in August and the Department of Prehistory and Archaeology is formally created
1977: Colin Merrony and John Moreland join the department as BA students, and Sheffield archaeology is never the same again...
An anonymous author on the Sheffield Department of Archaeology Facebook page about 2012. Glad to add a name if authorship is claimed.
See previous post-Angus Hulton, doctus sermones utriusque linguae could compose poetry in either of the Classical languages.
Discovered yesterday, while escorting granddaughters to view the Christmas trees in Worcester Cathedral. The Latin is beautiful and elegant. Any Classics teacher would want to be described as dexter(ra) 'in Latinis, Graecis, Hebraicis Literis feliciter edocendis.' (See below for translation), also as a celeberrimus (a) Gymnasiarcha. Hail Henry Bright of Worcester!
Mane, Hospes, et lege.
Halt, stranger, and read.
Magister Henricus Bright,
Mr. Henry Bright,
The most celebrated schoolmaster,
qui Scholae [wrongly inscribed "Schola"] Regiae istic fundatae
Who over the Royal School here founded,
per totos quadraginta annos summa cum laude praefuit :
For 40 years in all, presided with the highest distinction.
Quo non alter magis sedulus fuit scitusve aut dexter
No other was more diligent or wise than he, or more skilled
in Latinis, Graecis, Hebraicis Literis feliciter edocendis :
At felicitously imparting Latin, Greek and Hebrew letters:
Teste utraque Academia, quam instruxit aifatim numerosa pube literaria ;
As witness, both universities, which he supplied amply with numerous learned youths.
Sed et totidem annis coque amplius Theologiam professus,
For as many years, furthermore, ordained in theology,
et hujus Ecclesiae per septennium Canonicus major,
And for seven years a major canon of this church,
sepissimè hie et alibi sacrum Dei Praeconem magno cum zelo et fructu egit ;
Very often, here and elsewhere, he acted as God's holy herald with great zeal and effect;
Vir pius, doctus, integer, frugi, de Republicâ deque Ecclesia optimè meritus,
A pious man, learned, of integrity and restraint, worthy of the best of Church and State alike,
à laboribus perdiu pernoctuque ab anno 1562 ad 1626,
From his labours by day and by night from the year 1562 to 1626[A]
strenue usque extant latis, 4to Martii suaviter requievit in Domino.
Exhausted at last, on 4th March sweetly rested in the Lord.
Written by Joseph Hall (1 July 1574 – 8 September 1656) who was an English bishop, satirist and moralist. His contemporaries knew him as a devotional writer, and a high-profile controversialist of the early 1640s. In church politics, he tended in fact to a middle way.
Thomas Fuller wrote:
He was commonly called our English Seneca, for the purenesse, plainnesse, and fulnesse of his style. Not unhappy at Controversies, more happy at Comments, very good in his Characters, better in his Sermons, best of all in his Meditations.
P.S. All these learned men would have undoubtedly supported the Save Classics at High Storrs campaign. Follow in their footsteps, if you've not done so already here
The last Professor of Greek at the University of Sheffield-an extraordinary man (vir extraordinarius celebrandusque)!
Ronald Arthur Crossland, Hittite scholar: born Nottingham 31 August 1920; Henry Fellow, Berkeley College, Yale University 1946-47; Instructor in Classics 1947-48; Senior Student, Treasury Committee for Studentships in Foreign Languages and Cultures 1948-51; Honorary Lecturer in Ancient History, Birmingham University 1950-51; Lecturer in Ancient History, King's College, Durham University (Newcastle upon Tyne) 1951-58; Harris Fellow, King's College, Cambridge 1952-56; Professor of Greek, Sheffield University 1958-82 (Emeritus), Dean of the Faculty of Arts 1973-75; died Cambridge 29 January 2006.
Ronald Crossland, Professor of Greek at Sheffield University from 1958 to 1982, was an international authority on Hittite philology and linguistics, and played an important role in encouraging an interdisciplinary approach to studies on the prehistory of Greece and its eastern Mediterranean neighbours.
The son of a Nottingham headmaster, Ronald Crossland attended Nottingham High School before going up to King's College, Cambridge, in 1939 as a Major Scholar in Classics, taking a Double First in 1946. That achievement was the more notable because in 1941 he interrupted his studies to join the Army, attaining the rank of lieutenant in the Royal Artillery. Until 1945, he saw active service during which he sustained severe wounds in the landings at Anzio that affected him permanently and led to his official classification as "disabled".
Courageous and determined, making light of his difficulties, he gained a coveted Henry Fellowship at Yale University, taking an MA and becoming an Instructor there in 1947. After experiencing Yale in its classical heyday, he continued on a high note with a Treasury Senior Studentship, awarded for research in Hittite philology and linguistics.
Thereafter his career took off, with a confirmed appointment in 1951 as Lecturer in Ancient History at King's College, Newcastle (then part of Durham University), before he assumed the chair in Greek at Sheffield, aged only 38. He was the Harris Fellow at King's College, Cambridge, for four years in the 1950s and also held visiting appointments at universities in Birmingham, Texas, Michigan and Auckland, and at the Academy of Sciences in the German Democratic Republic.
Approaching maturity at a particularly exciting time for a classical linguist, with the decipherment of the Linear B script and (unfulfilled) hopes for the decipherment of Linear A, he made his mark at the Mycenaean Studies seminars in London, which were regularly attended by leading international scholars. There he was noticed by the great Hellenist T.B.L. Webster of University College London (and, later, Stanford). Webster - apprehensive that with the unexpected death of Jonathan Tate the chair in Greek at Sheffield might lapse - went north to argue that it should be filled, and moreover that an exceptionally gifted young scholar, shortlisted elsewhere, was just the right person for the appointment.
There was, however, a slight hiccup on the way. On the eve of his interview, Crossland's progress was interrupted by the long arm of the law as he scaled a drainpipe to retrieve his bags from the upper floor of the locked Department of Classics in Newcastle, before catching the train to Sheffield. Unfazed, and without sleep, he arrived just in time to sail through his interview.
Breaking the traditional boundaries, he embraced a circle that went beyond classicists to Egyptologists, archaeologists, Near Eastern specialists, Slavic scholars, linguistic experts, sociologists, anthropologists and psychologists. Unconventionally starting his working day when others were homeward-bound, he surrounded himself with diverse groups of scholars, ranging from neophyte undergraduates to world-renowned authorities. Often, too, at around two or three o'clock in the morning, a hush would fall on the animated gathering, seated on the floor and refreshed with copious supplies of claret, as students listened attentively to the discourse of luminaries.
Irked by any obstacles to research and scholarship, Crossland strove energetically to remove them. In a Europe acquiescing in the Brezhnev doctrine, and before the Helskinki Accords were concluded, he threw a lifeline for many scholars beyond the Iron Curtain - even in Albania. His gestures were readily reciprocated. He was assisted by the generous hospitality of Sheffield's city fathers, ever ready in those days to reach out to their confrères beyond the divide of Europe.
Crossland concluded that in the wake of the decipherment of Linear B, and of other significant linguistic and archaeological discoveries in Greece and the eastern Mediterranean, the time had come to ensure a broad interdisciplinary approach in investigating the prehistory and the proto-history of the area. Widening the range of scholars involved to the whole of Europe, and ensuring that leading American scholars could engage with them, Crossland drew together all the threads in a series of well-attended international colloquia in Sheffield during the 1970s.
He was supported by the three Sheffield departments of Greek, Latin and Ancient History, as well as the nascent Department of Archaeology and Prehistory. Particularly memorable was the 1970 colloquium "Bronze Age Migrations in the Aegean: archaeological and linguistic problems in Greek prehistory", the proceedings of which Crossland edited jointly with Ann Birchall.
Crossland's leading position in Hittite philology and linguistics meant that something of the mantle of O.R. Gurney fell on his shoulders. Professor Sir Denys Page, in History and the Homeric Iliad (1959), wrote that for the early chapters ideally "a profound knowledge of the Hittite language would be a pre-requisite . . . I have turned to Professor Crossland to find exactly the help I needed." For the definitive and revised Cambridge Ancient History, Crossland wrote two important sections: "Immigrants from the North" in 1967 and "Linguistic Problems of the Balkan Area" in 1982. He contributed a chapter on "Early Greek Migrations" to Michael Grant's Civilization of the Ancient Mediterranean (1988), and was the author of numerous other articles, reviews and a popular book, Teaching Classical Studies (1976). He also served as Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Sheffield.
Convivial, loyal to colleagues, students, friends and institutions, Crossland freely offered hospitality and his birthday parties each year in the Derbyshire Peak District attracted well- wishers from far and wide. His last appearance in Sheffield was in July 2005 at the university's centenary celebrations, when he was in exuberant form.
Classical Studies Alumni Exhibition and Reunion Saturday 17 March 2018-a wonderful old-fashioned Scholar!
Angus Hulton was Senior Lecturer in Classics at the University of Sheffield when I read Classics there from 1968-71. He was a very austere man whom I can remember lecturing us on Euripides' Hippolytus-Spencer Barrett's commentary on the Hippolytus had just been published. By today's standards maybe, he didn't engage with his students too closely but I think he was friendly in a shy way. When I married my wife Rosemary half way through the course (he taught her Greek prose composition), he never quite coped with the fact that she now had a married name! However, Rosemary still writes very good Greek due to him and as the piece below shows there can be no doubt about his wonderful, old-fashioned scholarship. I doubt whether many people (though there are some!) now teaching Classics at University level (or any level come to that!) could produce such exquisite Latin verse from the prose of the then Manchester Guardian!
Sheffield branch of the Classical Association, founded in 1920