Classics

Classics at NHS, by which we mean of course the study of Latin, Greek and Classical Civilization, is taught throughout the school by an enthusiastic group of staff that consists of Sarah Holland, Tom Holland and Kim Mason.

Latin is taught through the medium of the Cambridge Latin Course from Year 7 through to Year 11 and is a popular GCSE choice, with usually in excess of 30 girls per year opting to enjoy the unique educational experience offered by Latin of studying the ancient culture to which we are indebted for most of our deeply held values through the medium of the original language – a true window into the past, or, as we Latinists say, ‘speculum in tempora praeterita’. The department is positioned at the cutting edge of the new technology: our entire course is available on the internet at www.cambridgescp.com , and our students complete most of their work online – excuses about forgetting to take your book home simply won’t wash any more; our annual subscription to the online learning facility available from the Cambridge Schools Classics Project provides us with a cornucopia of stimulating material, including dramatizations in Latin of many of the stories we read. Our students really enjoy their Latin, as we realize every year when about ten of their number opt to continue their studies into ‘A’ level Latin. Every year we celebrate the birthdays of the eminent Latin poets Virgil and Ovid with our notorious ‘Virgilparties’ and ‘Ovid parties’ and the daguerrotype to the right shows some cakes baked by our Upper Sixth Latinists to celebrate Ovid’s birthday, which have two lines of hexameter verse from his poem the Metamorphoses tastefully iced on them. Drama plays an important role in the work of the department: we have a large wardrobe of (vaguely) Roman costumes and every year we spend about a fortnight with our Upper Fourth groups putting on a play in Latin; girls make their own armour out of baco-foil if they are playing Roman soldiers and show unfailing ingenuity in manufacturing props out of the most unlikely materials. The department has a consistently good record of Oxbridge successes and every year several girls win places at a variety of universities to study Classics courses.

Classical Greek to GCSE is offered as an optional extra to Sixth-formers, and we enjoy an encouraging take-up for this challenging course. The chance to read Homer and Herodotus in the original language is a wonderful experience which few schools can offer nowadays. Classical Civilization is a popular A Level choice among a wide variety of students, with usually more than ten students in the ‘AS’ group, who study such diverse topics as Alexander the Great and the role of women in the Odyssey.

Trips to Roman sites in England form a popular extramural concomitant to our studies, including annual visits to the Roman Baths at Aquae Sulis, to Corinium Dobunnorum and to Verulamium.

Departmental motto: FLOREAT•STVDIVM•RERVM•ANTIQVARVM