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In the Latin Department, we are passionate about bringing the ancient world to life. We teach Latin from Year 6 to 8, as well as classical civilisation and mythology. Latin is sometimes described as a ‘dead language’ because it is taught to be read instead of spoken, which suggests that it lacks utility. In fact, the opposite is true: learning Latin is incredibly useful because the focus on grammatical rules requires strong analysis, lateral thinking, and problem solving; crucial skills for future employment. It is also academically demanding and offers a challenge to the boys at any level, whether it be translating original Latin texts into English, or simply learning more about the English language, such as how nouns and verbs work. 

The Romantic languages, French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, are more easily studied because they are, like English, derived from Latin. Further, Latin helps the boys to understand the mechanics and structure of language (it is often described as the ‘language of language’), so it is incredibly useful when studying other languages such as German, Russian and Arabic.  

Latin is deeply connected to Western culture. At Aldwickbury, the boys benefit from the study of classical civilisation, such as the expansion of the Roman Empire, and remaining Roman influences on Britain. The boys also enjoy mythological literature, the conflicts between men, gods and monsters and in Year 8, they are introduced to the first work of Western literature, Homer’s Iliad. 

Boy listening to lesson at Aldwickbury School