Learning Classics is a bit like putting on a magic pair of 3-D glasses. Once you start delving into the language and the culture, you'll start to see it all around you. This blog is a record of the club's journey through the worlds and language of ancient Rome and Greece... and through modern times, too, searching for the influence of classics all around us. You'll also be able to find vocab, home tasks, links and generally enlightening info here, too.

10 January 2015

Lesson 12 - Sick

The Greeks and Romans laid the foundations of modern medicine, so for a few weeks we'll be considering the classical influence on how we think today about the body and mind. 

Body Bingo
To warm up, we played a game of body bingo, using etymological detective work to find the meaning of Greek and Latin body-related words. Lai'larni raised an incisive question about what a cardiac arrest had to do with a police arrest. The answer? Stopping. And (of course!) it's from Latin: 'arrestare' meaning 'to stop' came into our language via our Norman conquerors in 1066. In modern French, it's 'arreter', which also means 'to stop'. 
Cerebral Sherlock
Delightful new English words we met today were 'cerebral' (brainy, from 'cerebrum', Latin for brain) and 'lachrymose' (tearful, related to 'lacrima', Latin for tears). And to answer the question about how to be a ventriloquist - someone who speaks ('loqui-') not from their mouth but their stomach ('venter') - have a look at this step-by-step guide. Fifty points to anyone who can convincingly throw their voice by the end of the term!

Verb formation as a competitive sport
Moving on to language work, we filled in all the remaining gaps in our knowledge of present tense endings. Through the wonders of velcro, we embarked on a thirty-second verb-making challenge (and, heavens, did it ever get competitive!!). In teams of two, we speed-assembled Latin verbs by ripping stems from the infinitives and sticking them next to the right verb ending. Then we did our first story translation, a tale of earache and a visit to the Roman doctor, which showed that the class had completely grasped the idea of looking at verb endings to discover the 'person' doing the action.

Don't annoy this god...
In the remaining few minutes of the session, we talked about our exciting/ambitious group project for this term: to stage some classical drama. In the tradition of Classics Club, we're not shying away from the gruesome and grisly, so we'll be reading highlights of Euripides' Bacchae. This also feeds into our topic work, as Euripides was one of the first ancient playwrights to explore the darkness of human psychology: what happens when people are too controlling, how do individuals exert power, what happens when someone comes round after an act of madness? It's going to be fascinating exploring these themes, which are just as relevant today as they were in Euripides' time thousands of years ago.