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Why Study Latin?

Like all Arts subjects, Latin is not a vocational subject, but rather a discipline which uses the language and subject matter to develop a range of personal skills which are useful for other A-level courses and greatly valued by Higher Education institutions, which recognise the breadth and academic rigour of the subject. It remains fair to say that Latin is one of the most highly regarded ‘traditional’ (and ‘facilitating’ – Russell Group universities) subjects. A successful Latin candidate will not only have a well-developed linguistic ability and understanding through analysis of a logical language and its influence on modern languages (especially Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and Romanian); he or she will also have a developed imagination and wide-ranging experience of many issues raised by the literature and culture of Rome as well as an ability to formulate a considered response to them.

Entry Requirements

Grade 6 in GCSE Latin and Grade 6 in GCSE English Language and Literature.

Course Outline

The aims of the course are:

  • to build on the knowledge, understanding and skills required for GCSE Latin.
  • to develop an understanding of elements of Classical civilisation, literature and language which have had a profound effect on modern societies.
  • to develop a high level of competence in the Latin language and a sensitive and analytical approach to language generally.
  • to develop an awareness of the influence of the Latin language on the languages of today and of its distinctive modes of expression.
  • to read, understand and make an informed personal response to literature in the original language.

Assessment is entirely by written examination.

The components are:

  • Unseen Translation (33% of total A-level)
  • Prose Composition or Comprehension (17% of total A-level)
  • Prose Literature (25% of total A-level)
  • Verse Literature (25% of total A-level)

Course Delivery

Aside from further study of the Latin language, these will depend to a large extent on the literature, Prose and Verse (for example Cicero/ Virgil) specified each year by the examination board. There are prescribed authors for the Unprepared Translation section of the examination; for verse it will be Ovid (hexameters/ elegiac couplets) and for prose, Caesar or Livy. This encourages general reading of these authors to become accustomed to their style and subject matter in preparation for the passages chosen in the examination.

Higher Education and Career Opportunities

Latin fits very well with any choice of A-level courses and is recognised by universities world-wide. It can be combined with other Arts subjects or can be taken as a contrasting subject to Mathematics and/or the Sciences. It is particularly appreciated in the fields of Medicine and Computer Programming. The study of Latin provides a great deal of information about several major world languages, and it also develops useful skills in terms of linguistic analysis, comparison and communication, which are transferable to other language-based or logical subjects, as well as to a wide range of careers: presently the Prime Minister is a Classics degree holder as is the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.