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Semper Renascens When J. K. Rowling, the authoress of the Harry Potter books, was asked by her publishers to permit the translation of her books into Latin and Classical Greek, she accepted with delight. This is not surprising since Rowling’s first degree is in Classics & French and her books are full of material directly inspired by Greek mythology. These translations are only the latest in the tradition of translating many popular books into Greek and Latin. Such works include Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, The Little Prince, Asterix, The Grinch, Winnie the Pooh, The Cat in the Hat etc. The success of such translations is due to the fact that Latin and Greek are now widely studied in schools and at universities in North America and throughout much of Europe. Classical mythology and history are always popular Kratos (power in Greek) with readers and audiences. Their themes, such as in the Playstation 2 game glory, war, vengeance, love, passion, vice and virtue, betrayal, loyalty, nobility of soul, excellence, knowledge, endurance, courage, wisdom, harmony and so many others are inspiring and electrifying. No wonder that these stories keep cropping up so frequently in films. Recent such films include: Troy, 300, Percy Jackson, Wrath of the Titans, Hercules, Rome, Spartacus, Alexander, Gladiator, The Odyssey, Centurion and Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ in which the characters spoke excellent Latin. Again, Classics appear frequently in computer games such as Age of Empire I, Age of Mythology, Titan Quest, Centurion: Defender of Rome, Rome: Total War, God of War, The Great Battles of Alexander, Caesar, Spartan: Total Warrior and many others. Meanwhile, such is the beauty of Latin that contemporary celebrities such as David Beckham and Angelina Jolie adorn their bodies with Latin tattoos. Why are Latin and Greek still so popular after so many centuries? The reason is that Greece and Rome built the foundations of the modern world. Their inventions and their literature inspired all the Brad Pitt as the invincible achievements of later European history. The Greeks Greek warrior Achilles in the invented schools and the subjects we study; languages, Warner Bros. movie Troy maths, science, history, geography, literature, music and philosophy are the very subjects they started to study. Whatever you study, now and at university, you will find that your textbooks will always start off with an account of what the Greeks and Romans achieved in these fields. It is impossible to study anything at university without running into Latin and Greek at some stage or other. Finally, given that Latin and Greek are the parents of so many important modern languages such as Italian, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian and others, some knowledge of Latin & Greek will give you an unrivalled ability to


learn and understand languages. This is why some knowledge of Greek and Latin gives one a priceless advantage in further academic and professional study. Nonetheless, the study of Latin and Greek does not merely give you access to entertaining works or to academic opportunities. The greatest piece of Greek wisdom is to know oneself. Today, all our ideas and concepts can be traced back to the Greeks and Romans. This is why we study Greek and Latin – to read Homer, Hesiod, Herodotus, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Plato, Aristotle, Thucydides, The New Testament, Livy, Caesar, Cicero, Ovid, Catullus, Lucretius, Martial, Suetonius, Tacitus and so many more who still live in our minds and in our hearts. Unfortunately, we are unaware of these influences and without such awareness we can appreciate neither ourselves nor our achievements. The whole course of European culture was an attempt to rediscover the wisdom of the Greeks and Romans. If you study Greek & Latin, you will discover what it means to be European – and to be yourself. Sadly, the study of Latin and Greek has been all but forgotten in Malta. However, the Malta Classics Association is working hard to revive such studies as options at Junior College and university. For this reason, we have set up a new syllabus, Classical Studies which has the following objectives: Angela Jolie’s Latin tattoo says: Quod me nutrit, me destruit

To introduce the students to the elements of Latin & Greek grammar.

To improve their knowledge of English grammar.

To impart an ability to read basic Latin and Greek

To impart knowledge of the Classical world in its cultural context, including mythology, philosophy, art, history and literature.

David Beckham’s Latin tattoo says: Ut amem et foveam


Classical Studies, which will be offered as from October 2011 at Junior College, will be of immense benefit to students at virtually any faculty of a modern university. In particular, students who intend to study at the following faculties will reap enormous rewards by doing Classical Studies at Junior College: • Faculty of Arts • Faculty of Laws • Faculty of Medicine & Surgery • Faculty of Theology Knowing some Latin and Greek is a great advantage for anyone intending to study at a Diane Kruger as Homer’s Helen of foreign university since most European and Troy in the Warner Bros. movie American universities value highly the qualities Troy. Helen, the most beautiful woman in history still haunts our acquired by students of the Classics. Although imagination today. knowledge of Latin and Greek is growing rapidly once more, it is still an option rare enough for universities to give special credit to applicants who have such a qualification. What is Classical Studies? A Classics-based Matsec syllabus at intermediate level, including Latin, Greek & English grammar, basic texts and general knowledge of the Classical world. When will it be offered? Given sufficient demand, it will be offered as from October 2011. The first exam will be set in May 2013. Where is it offered? Mainly at Junior College but other post-secondary institutions may offer it according to demand. What does the exam consist of? A three-hour paper consisting of three sections. Section A: to translate 5 simple sentences from English into Latin & 5 similar sentences from English into Greek = 30 marks. Section B: An easy text from a selection covered in class for comment and translation = 30 marks. Section C: A choice of essays in English on various aspects of Classical history & culture= 40 marks. Any student wishing for more information on Classical Studies at Intermediate level may write to the Malta Classics Association: classicsmaltasoc@gmail.com joseph anthony debono has a degree in Classics and is a founder-member of the Malta Classics Association. Oh, by the way, the title of this article means “Always Springing Up Anew”. Beckham’s tattoo: That I may love and cherish Angelina’s tattoo: What feeds me, destroys me.


Semper Renascens