Thursday, November 03, 2005
Greek and Latin
John L. Spalding, Education and the Higher Life
Whoever three hundred years ago wished to acquaint himself with philosophic, poetic, or eloquent expression of the best that was known, was compelled to seek for it in the Greek and Latin authors; but now Greek and Latin are accomplishments chiefly, and a classical scholar, if unacquainted with modern science and literature, is hopelessly ignorant. "If any one," said Hegius, the teacher of Erasmus, "wishes to learn grammar, rhetoric, mathematics, history, or holy scripture, let him read Greek;" and in his day this was as true as it is false and absurd in our own. ln the Middle Ages, Latin was made the groundwork of the educational system, not on account of any special value it may have been supposed to possess as a mental discipline, but because it was the language of the learned, of all who spoke or wrote on questions of religion, philosophy, literature, and science; but now, who that is able to think dreams of burying his thought in a Greek or Roman urn?