"Away with him, away with him! He speaks Latin"

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"Away with him, away with him! He speaks Latin"

Postby Quintus Pomponius Atticus on Fri Mar 12, 2004 5:58 pm


The quote from Shakespeare's Henry VI above is, as you might have experienced as well, all too often repeated in other forms nowadays. If ever anyone asks you again "why bother with all that classical sh*t", here are a few answers to baffle your sacrilegious opponent :wink: :

"Our study of Greek history is therefore a matter quite different from our other historical studies. For us the Greeks step out of the circle of history. Knowledge of the Greeks is not merely pleasant, useful or necessary to us–no, in the Greeks alone we find the ideal of that which we should like to be and to produce." - German philologist Wilhelm von Humboldt

“Philology is that venerable art which demands of its votaries one thing above all: to go aside, to take time, to become still, to become slow — it is a goldsmith’s art and connoisseurship of the word which has nothing but delicate cautious work to do and achieves nothing if it does not achieve it lento. But for precisely this reason it is more necessary than ever today; by precisely this means does it entice and enchant us the most, in the midst of an age of “work” that is to say, of hurry, of indecent and perspiring haste, which wants to “get everything done” at once, including every old or new book: — this art does not easily get anything done, it teaches to read well, that is to say, to read slowly, deeply, looking cautiously before and aft, with reservations, with doors left open, with delicate fingers and eyes.” - Nietzsche, Daybreak 1881

"We are all Greeks! Our laws, our literature, our art, have their roots in Greece." - Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1822

"Haec studia adolescentiam alunt, senectutem oblectant, secundas res ornant, adversis perfugium ac solacium praebent, delectant domi, non impediunt foris, pernoctant nobiscum, peregrinantur, rusticantur." - Cicero, Pro Archia

"Those who have never looked beyond the edges of their technical fields or their business affairs to ask themselves what broader purpose, if any, is served by their activity, whose answer to the question, "Why the next step?" is "Because it's there" are not as well equipped to chart the course for a free nation in the twenty-first century as those who, familiar by their studies with the best that has been thought or said, with the whole history of the human spirit, are painfully conscious of the fraility of all mortal structures, social, economic, and political, fully aware that, in A.E. Housemann's words, "the troubles of our proud and angry dust/ are from eternity and shall not fail," but equally aware that time and again in the long history of our race humanity, fired by leadership which translated into action moral, political, or social ideals, has shown itself capable of just the kind of intelligence and courage it will need if it is to survive in the dangerous years to come." - Bernard Knox, "The Gates of Thebes"

"The primacy of the Greeks in the canon of Western literature is neither an accident nor the result of a decision imposed by higher authority; it is simply a reflection of the intrinsic worth of the material, its sheer originality and brilliance." - Bernard Knox, The Oldest Dead White European Males and Other Reflections on the Classics

As for that last author, I highly recommend the mentioned book of him, which is a defense of the place the classics occupy/occupied in our education, and a critique of radical feminism and - cultural relativism.


Q. Pomponius Atticus
Quintus Pomponius Atticus

"Ars longa, vita brevis" - Hippocrates
Quintus Pomponius Atticus
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