The Importance of Latin in the Curriculum Essay examples

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The Importance of Latin in the Curriculum My memories of Latin in high school are less than fond. I remember slouching in my chair, staring blankly at my desk as I tried to remember the form of the word agricola (farmer) in the ablative plural. Much of the class consisted of mundane activities like this. We translated endless Bible passages from Latin, translated what seemed like the entire body of Greek mythological literature, and read hundreds of lines from The Aneid, The Odyssey, and The Iliad. I signed up for Latin because I was considering going into medicine, and I had heard that doctors need to know Latin. As high school progressed, though, a medical career seemed less and less likely so it appeared I had no real use…show more content…
Until the Reformation, church services were conducted using only Latin. One of the key principles of the Protestant movement was that the entire Christian message, Scripture included, should be made accessible to the common folk in their own tongue (Hammond 243-4). The Catholic Church also began to use the vernacular for its homilies during the Counter-Reformation for similar reasons (Smith 32). The switch from Latin to the common tongues did not occur overnight, though. In fact, the Catholic Church mandated that Mass be spoken only in Latin until the bishops of the second Vatican Council voted to make the switch in 1962 (Waquet 47). For hundreds of years it remained a key part of the education from middle school to college of those students that were fortunate enough to get one. Latin was taught so that students could read ancient religious, philosophical, and dramatic texts in their original language (Smith 27). By reading these texts in their original tongue, students would gain “the key to the superior wisdom of the Ancient World and to the piety of the Christian Fathers” (Smith 27-8). When these privileged students entered college before the decline of Latin, they entered a deeply Latin world. Upon entering the building, they would see Collegium inscribed above the door, their classrooms would be labeled sexta, quinta, quarta, and the teacher would lecture in Latin. In fact, students were required to converse only in Latin during free
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