Latin

Why study Latin?

The study of the Latin language and Roman literature in the original language is at the heart of the unique area of study described as Classics. The value of a classical language as a mental discipline should not be underestimated: it encourages precision, logic and concise expression in a way that few other subjects can replicate. These qualities make classical languages an obvious choice for someone going on to read law or liberal arts, for instance. The influence of Latin on the languages and cultures of Western Europe cannot be overstated, making Latin a wise choice also for students of European languages and history. A report by Professor Shearer West of Oxford University, in the wake of the economic crisis, demonstrating the impact and value of studying humanities over sciences, concluded that employers are looking for candidates with “succinct and persuasive written and verbal communication skills and the capacity for critical analysis and synthesis’. Furthermore, quite aside from its extrinsic value, the joy and enormous satisfaction of reading some of the world’s most influential literature (e.g. Cicero, Virgil and Ovid, to name but three) in the original language is naturally another strong incentive for those who choose Latin A level.

Latin is a rigorous A level; it is necessary to have achieved a good GCSE grade or equivalent previous study in order to cope with its demands. It complements and enhances many other subjects. Latin will not only develop linguistic ability, but also analytical and evaluative skills, highly prized by universities and employers. It will provide a very good foundation for a wide range of university courses and careers.

Monmouth School for Boys and Monmouth School for Girls follow the same specification.

Heads of Department: Mrs L Beech (Girls),  Mr R Whiteman (Boys)

Course content

Board: OCR   A level Syllabus Code: H443

Latin Language
Further reading of Latin authors enables students to develop the skills and confidence to translate unseen passages of Latin verse and prose, as required on paper 1. There is no defined vocabulary list for this paper.

For the second language paper students will either undertake an unseen comprehension passage from the works of Pliny or translate a passage of English into Latin prose.

Latin Prose Literature
Two Latin prose set texts are studied in depth within their literary, social and historical context; the focus is on knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the text. Additional literature in translation is also studied for appreciation of the context.  Prose set texts are selected from the works of Cicero, Tacitus or Seneca. There is a choice of texts.

Latin Verse Literature
Two Latin verse set texts are studied in depth within their literary, social and historical context; the focus is on knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the text. Additional literature in translation is also studied for appreciation of the context.   Verse set texts are selected from the works of Virgil, Ovid, Propertius and Tibullus, while the unseen author is Ovid. There is a choice of texts.

Method of assessment

There are four written examinations as follows:

  1. Unseen Translation 1¾ hours (33% total marks)
  2. Unseen Comprehension or Prose Composition 1¼ hours (17% total marks)
  3. Prose Literature 2 hours ( 25% total marks)
  4. Verse Literature 2 hours ( 25% total marks)