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Classics

“To amputate Classics from the modern world…would mean bleeding wounds in the body of Western culture – and a dark future of misunderstanding.”

Professor Mary Beard, University of Cambridge

Classics at Haileybury

With its classically-inspired architecture, Haileybury is an excellent place to study the languages and civilisations of the ancient world. Pupils can study both Classical Languages (Latin and Greek) and Classical Civilisation.

By studying cultures which both complement and contrast with modern society, Classics equips pupils with a huge range of intellectual skills from linguistics and literature to religion, philosophy and the history of democracy.

Classical Civilisation

Classical Civilisation is a vast subject, encompassing the life and culture of the Ancient Greeks and Romans. We study literary, artistic and archaeological sources to ascertain how the Greeks and Romans lived, felt and thought.

Classical Civilisation reveals how modern life has been influenced by the past; offering the opportunity to read and discuss the most influential literature as well as issues which are crucial to humanity and what it is to be human.

Its versatility and adaptability make it the ideal partner to a number of subjects, while enabling discovery of the ancient world without having to master an ancient language.

The analytical and evaluative nature of the subject lends itself to a range of subjects including History and Law at university level.

Classical Greek

Beginners’ Classical Greek is offered as an option in Removes which can then be continued with at GCSE and A Level.

While delving into the mythology and history of Ancient Greece, through a study of the language our pupils are able to appreciate the heavy influence Greek has had on modern English vocabulary.

Graecists are confident, independent communicators who are highly analytical and adept at appreciating the cultural norms of Homeric, Classical and Hellenistic society and applying these to a wealth of Classical Greek literature.

Latin

All pupils study Latin in Lower School and can choose to continue with Latin at Removes, GCSE and at IB and A Level.

Through Haileybury’s strong Latin tradition and the department’s intellectual environment our pupils come to appreciate a cornerstone of the modern Romance languages. By studying the various genres from Epic Poetry to Love Elegy, from History to Rhetoric, Latinists explore the links between Roman literature, politics and social life.

Latin encourages our pupils to analyse methodically and precisely and apply their studies to the rest of the curriculum.

Head of Department

Alasdair McWhirter is Head of Classics and has been at Haileybury since 2011. Before that, he studied for a BA in Classics at Downing College, Cambridge, where he specialised in the writings of Tacitus and Virgil. He is a firm believer in encouraging pupils to push themselves beyond the syllabus, regularly examining a wide range of literary sources in class to broaden his pupils’ understanding.

Teaching Staff

Alasdair's team at Haileybury includes:

Carole Gandon BA PGCE Assistant Head of Lower School; Richard Hunter BA Head of Classical Civilisation; Lucas Ingen-Housz BA MA PGCE; Alexandra Logan BA Junior Enrichment Co-ordinator; Simon Smith BA PGCE Deputy Head (Academic).

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