Why Study Latin?
Latin is the language that was spoken by the ancient Romans. As the Romans extended
their empire throughout the Mediterranean, the Latin language spread. By the time
of Julius Caesar, Latin was spoken in Italy, France, and Spain. Classical Latin—the
language spoken by Caesar and Mark Antony—is now considered a "dead" language. That
is, it is no longer spoken by a particular group of people. However, many living
languages, such as Spanish, Italian and French, evolved from classical Latin, so that
Latin lives on in these daughter languages. These languages are called "Romance"
languages, precisely because they developed from the language spoken by the Romans.
Ten Reasons Why You Should Study Latin
1. You should study Latin if you have any interest in classical literature. A translation
of the Aeneid can give you only a second-hand idea of what Vergil was trying to communicate;
to fully appreciate the poem, you must read it in the language in which Vergil wrote
2. You should study Latin if you are interested in the English language and want to
improve your vocabulary. Although English did not develop directly from Latin, English
speakers borrowed many words from Latin. Some of these we use every day ("peninsula,"
"university") while others ("egregious," "immaculate," "inference") are less common
but no less integral to a strong vocabulary.
3. You should study Latin if you are interested in medicine, nursing, or law. Many
medical terms and almost all legal terms are Latin words. Knowing the Latin meaning
of "lateral" and non compos mentis will give you a competitive edge in these fields.
4. You should study Latin if you are interested in a Romance language. Many words
in these languages are little changed from classical Latin. For example, the Spanish
word for "boss" (patrone) is a direct descendant of the Latin word patronus, which
roughly translates as "political patron."
5. You should study Latin if you want to know more about life in ancient Rome. There
is no real English equivalent for Latin words like forum, patronus, and imperator.
When you learn these Latin words, you also learn about the Roman political and social
realities behind them. Language is an integral part of culture, so by learning Latin,
you will learn about Roman culture and society.
6. You should study Latin if you want a mental challenge. Latin grammar is complex,
and reading a Latin sentence can be like fitting the pieces of a puzzle together.
People who enjoy math and music usually enjoy Latin because it requires some of the
same intellectual skills as these disciplines.
7. You should study Latin if you are interested in early music and sacred music.
Anyone who has studied two semesters of Latin will be able to understand the Renaissance
masses and Gregorian chants sung by groups such as the Tallis Scholars and Anonymous
8. You should study Latin if you have a serious interest in ancient or medieval history,
since prestigious graduate programs in these fields require their students to do research
9. You should study Latin if you want a liberal education. Latin and Greek traditionally
formed the core of a liberal education, which was so named because only "free" ("liberal"
from liber, meaning "free") people could afford to study disciplines that did not
teach them a trade but which enriched their minds.
10. You should study Latin because in these practical times, it’s just a little bit