Climbing Parnassus: A New Apologia for Greek and Latin

Climbing Parnassus: A New Apologia for Greek and Latin

Language: English

Pages: 290

ISBN: 1933859504

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In Climbing Parnassus, winner of the 2005 Paideia Prize, Tracy Lee Simmons presents a defense and vindication of the formative power of Greek and Latin. His persuasive witness to the unique, now all-but-forgotten advantages of study in and of the classical languages constitutes a bracing reminder of the genuine aims of a truly liberal education.

The Ancient Quarrel between Philosophy and Poetry Revisited: Plato and the Greek Literary Tradition

Le bouc émissaire

Religion and Reconciliation in Greek Cities: The Sacred Laws of Selinus and Cyrene (American Philological Association)

Discourses and Selected Writings

Plato's Symposium (2nd Edition)





















interests of a democratic people — but they are accidental, not essential. Classics serves no class. Tyrants and oligarchs can quote Cicero too. Critics of classical education have, in one sense, been right for centuries: classics is, in at least one inescapable sense, elitist. But so what? We may admit this, while also saying that this does not tell the whole story. Anyone with a modicum of talent and energy can take on large dollops that classics offers; it is a mansion with many rooms and

Humanism. The Italian Renaissance has been labeled a time when classical education itself was invented. This is partly true, for it was then, with the birth of what came to be called the New Learning, that the classical pursuit took the shape it kept largely until the nineteenth century. But we must tread carefully. History is rarely that simple. Almost every fresh turn inspired by the likes of Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio — figures of the late medieval and early Renaissance worlds — finds some

sorts with his Aeditio in 1527, in which he explained succinctly and pragmatically the purposes and methods of teaching in the better grammar schools of his day. It’s clear that Latin was spoken in the schools as well as written, as it’s equally clear that the grammar textbook gave just so much guidance and no more. Grammar and Usage may be complementary, but they’re not identical. Eventually Latin was to come to students naturally through classroom immersion. Ideally they were to learn it the

rules of Greek accentuation. Standards became just as exacting for Latin verse composition. Dryden recalled that, under Busby, ending two consecutive lines of Latin verse with a verb earned the unhappy versifier a beating. These must have been tedious days in school for the dull ones — but no doubt invigorating for the diligent and able. Garlands were to the talented. The Stuart and Caroline periods brought other changes to the syllabus endured by young people as shown by the witness of Charles

Grammar — attention, memory and reflection are mainly concerned. These faculties, severely exercised, are continually increased in power, till the tyro [beginner] reaches the second and principal stage of his study — that of translation. Here first the meanings of words are to be settled. This cannot be done without an accurate knowledge of the parts of speech, without a nice appreciation of grammatical relation, and often without careful comparisons with the context. In the earliest and simplest

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