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From Seneca to Aristotle, and Julius Caesar to Virgil, Latin was the common language of most of philosophers, dramaturges and poets. Even though linguists consider Latin to be an extinct language, it is still very much alive since hundreds of thousands of people still learn it all around the world.
You are studying the classics? Learning a Romance language? You are interested in Roman mythology or History? Taking Latin classes is one of the best ways to crack all the mysteries of the Roman era.
The Humanist movement which started after the Renaissance and reached Great Britain around the 15th century, was built on the rediscovery of some Latin writers such as Quintilian or Plaute.
Even though common English replaced Latin in literature from the 15th century, it remains the language used in most scientific texts until the late 18th century. The famous Sir Isaac Newton wrote most of his texts in Latin, Arithmetica Universalis, De mundi systemate, Scala graduum Caloris. Calorum Descriptiones & signa.
British libraries are filled with Latin texts. London was known at the time as Londinium was an ethnically diverse city with inhabitants from across the Roman Empire, including those with backgrounds from Britannia, continental Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa all tied by the use of Latin as a common language.
Major finds from Roman London, including mosaics, wall fragments, and old buildings were formerly housed in the London and Guildhall Museums. These merged after 1965 into the present Museum of London near the Barbican Centre. Museum of London Docklands, a separate section dealing with the history of London's ports, opened on the Isle of Dogs in 2003. Other finds from Roman London continue to be held by the British Museum.
Much of the surviving wall is medieval, but Roman-era stretches are visible near Tower Hill Station, in a hotel courtyard at 8–10 Coopers Row, and in St Alphege Gardens off Wood Street. A section of the river wall is visible inside the Tower. Parts of the amphitheatre are on display at the Guildhall Art Gallery. The southwestern tower of the Roman fort northwest of town can still be seen at Noble Street. Occasionally, Roman sites are incorporated into the foundations of new buildings for future study, but these are not generally available to the public.
This rich Roman history is an integral part of London and learning Latin in the British capital city is not so far fetched.
Roam through London’s many museums and you will see thousands of paintings, sculptures and drawings inspired by Roman mythology and history.
Of course you could dive deep into Latin texts from the British Library, such as the historical Magna Carta or Doomsday Book, but to read either you will need a solid knowledge of the Latin language.
Learning Latin vocabulary, grammar and declensions, is not that easy and it will take you time and you will also probably need some help too. But since 70% of all English words have either been borrowed from Latin or French (a offshoot of the Latin language) you will recognise many English words and will realise how both languages are tied up.
The roots of the words we use every day have always been intresting to decipher our origins. It is also how linguists study the evolution of languages through history.
Julius Casearm after conquering Gawl (currently known as France) crossed the channel with his legions and started the Roman colonisation of Great Britain in 55BCE. When the Roman eventually came back to Great Britain, in 43CE, Claudius, Emperor at the time, forcibly conquered most of South East England and later forced their way to Wales and as North as Scotland.
With them, they brought the language of the Empire: Latin.
For the better part of the next 4 centuries, the Roman Empire ruled over this distant province with more or less success. What is for sure if that during these 400 years, Roman-built many infrastructures to consolidate their power on the island.
Some of these buildings can still be seen today in some part of London despite the succession of invasions that the city faced after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
Even if your school does not offer Latin classes, many other institutions through London will give you the opportunity to dive into one of the founding languages of Western civilisation.
You could learn Latin at the City Lit and join their absolute beginners' program taught at the British Museum.
This four-week course, presented in partnership between the British Museum and City Lit, uses British Museum artefacts such as Latin inscriptions on Roman architectural remnants, to provide a foundation in the antique language of Latin
This course is about learning the basics of Latin and apply them to artefacts and engravings held at the British Museum and you will learn the pillars of Latin grammar.
The course will merge classroom work with visits each week to the galleries. The classroom-based activities will follow the classical approach but will aim at a high level of student interplay with pair and group work. Learners are expected to participate in the exercises and to do homework every week.
You could also join the prestigious King’s College London and start their Latin Intensive Beginners’ Module.
This beginner-level intensive program gives you the chance to reach a point where you are able to translate basic English into Latin and to read very short and simple texts in Latin.
It replaces one semester of Beginners and Intermediate Latin and is ideal if you wish to study for a Masters or Doctoral degree thus acquiring an essential skill for future research. It is also appropriate if you are an undergraduate student who would not otherwise have the chance to learn Latin from scratch, a mature student and for anyone with an interest in the Roman world.
You could also take one of the Open University class.
Their free Latin course, called “Getting started on classical Latin”, has been developed in response to calls from learners who had had no contact with Latin before and who felt they would like to spend a little time preparing for the kind of studying that learning a classical language involves. The course will give you a taste of what is involved in the very early stages of learning Latin and will offer you the possibility to put in some early practice.
Or why not take one of the famous University College London summer class. The London Classics Summer School offers you 8 days of intensive teaching in Greek or Latin, at all levels.
All classes are language based. Some courses concentrate mainly on reading texts, while others offer a mixture of grammar and translation practice. The precise content of each class is defined by individual teachers, depending on the needs of the class.
Depending on your level, and your chosen language, the aims of the course are to:
This short course is fitting for learners with no prior knowledge of the languages, pre-GCSE level learners, GCSE and A-level students, university students (UCL and elsewhere), mature learners who wish to expand their linguistic knowledge.
At the end of the course and depending on your original level, you'll be able to understand the grammar and syntax of Latin, read texts in the original language (adapted or unadapted, depending on level), gain a better awareness of the inner workings of Latin and use this to approach real texts.
Learning a language is not for everyone, neither is teaching a language. Learning Latin is not an option in many British schools anymore and even if you leave in London, you will probably have to go out of your way to start learning the Latin language.
However thanks to Superprof you won’t have to look for long. Our platform has thousands of tutors teaching everything from maths and biology to learning the drums or the guitar. Hundreds of our registered tutor also teach Latin.
You might be looking to prepare for your GCSEs or Latin A-levels, or looking for some help to study your university classics courses, in any case, our tutors will be able to help.
At least 68 tutors listed on Superprof teach Latin in or around London and many more are willing to give online lessons through Skype or FaceTime.
Many of them are Cambridge and Oxford graduates who studied the Classics in Latin and Greek and have a real passion for the Antiquity culture and civilisations.
Choose your tutor according to your level and needs, budget and expectation. Know that if you only want an introductory course to Latin you will not need a university lecturer to help you with that.
If you are looking to get some help with your GCSEs revision, an undergraduate tutor will probably enough for you.
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