Monday, August 21, 2017


Enough Time to Learn Italian?

Frank W. Walbank (1909-2008), "Polybius Through the Eyes of Gaetano De Sanctis," Polybius, Rome and the Hellenistic World: Essays and Reflections (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), pp. 310-321 (at 310):
May I begin with a personal reminiscence? Fifty years ago, when I was just finishing my second year as a student at Cambridge, my teacher, B.L. Hallward, the author of the chapters on the Punic Wars in The Cambridge Ancient History, came to me and said: 'You have exactly two weeks free of work before the end of term. That will be enough to learn Italian. Then, next year, you can read De Sanctis.' As I soon discovered, he was too optimistic: two weeks is not enough to learn Italian! But I did learn sufficient to enable me (with the help of a dictionary) to read Volume III of the Storia dei Romani. It was a wonderful experience, which I have never forgotten.

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