How can I get better at classics

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RedVelvet16
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I am 15 (about to enter Y11) and I am wondering if anyone has an tips or advice on learning more about classics as I want to study that at university. I'm currently taking Latin GCSE.
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artful_lounger
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Learn the languages, practice translating often, read the texts in the original language, think about them and form opinions and analyses of them?

If you're interested in classics why not study that at uni?
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RedVelvet16
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Learn the languages, practice translating often, read the texts in the original language, think about them and form opinions and analyses of them?

If you're interested in classics why not study that at uni?
Sorry -- I meant 'want' (I just changed it in the Q)

Thanks for the reply!
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Sabertooth
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A friend of mine went to Greek summer school as his school didn't offer Greek.

https://www.greeksummerschool.org/
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by RedVelvet16)
Sorry -- I meant 'want' (I just changed it in the Q)

Thanks for the reply!
Ah I see! In that case - take the languages as far as you can in school for sure. Definitely start exploring the texts, including in the original language if possible. There is a (old now, but apparently still good) book called "Latin Via Ovid" which serves as a language textbook but the exercises are based on excerpts from Ovid, which lets you start to get a taste of translating "real" Latin quite early on (a lot of other textbooks for learning the languages will use heavily adapted versions of key texts or just made up little stories and sentences which can get a bit boring), so that might be worth exploring. A friend of mine very highly recommended it to me.

Since classics is language based and you have to learn a lot of it via grammar, becoming more familiar with formal grammar helps a lot. This site:
http://wpwt.soton.ac.uk/notes/grammar.htm might have some helpful topics (although if you're already learning Latin you might be familiar with some or even much of it). Also make sure to keep on top of your language work - try and do some grammar drills every week if not every day, even if it's just writing out and reciting a declension or conjugation. It all helps solidify it in your mind as you practice it more and more - likewise try and work on translations as much as possible, ideally without using dictionaries (or referring to your notes and grammar tables) initially.

As above, look into summer school options; JACT is probably the best known of these. They do have some limited funding availability I think for students who might not otherwise be able to attend them. See if you can visit museums and galleries with classical sections whenever you get the chance - becoming familiar with the material culture is also important! Also explore texts in translation if the originals are beyond your language skills just now - you can access pretty much all major classical texts online free on Perseus (although some of the translations are a bit old-fashioned, they do the job!).

There are also a wealth of secondary sources which might be helpful and interesting to explore, depending on your interests. I've heard Mary Beard's SPQR recommended very often, for example. Additionally although it's maybe a bit early for it in GCSE, when you get to A-level it's worth beginning to explore the explicitly academic/critical literature to understand how people analyse classical texts academically, and some related papers on various theoretical frameworks that might be used. But for now just explore whatever is interesting to you in the realm of classics - you can start reading the theory later!
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sosubiyaa
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(Original post by RedVelvet16)
I am 15 (about to enter Y11) and I am wondering if anyone has an tips or advice on learning more about classics as I want to study that at university. I'm currently taking Latin GCSE.
check out the ‘lingua latina per se illustrata’ series, it’ll help with your Latin comprehension skills
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Mulefa
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Can definitely recommend Artful_lounger's suggestion of SPQR by Mary Beard - a wonderfully written history of the Roman Empire (and her classical documentaries are always a joy to watch, they're repeated occasionally on BBC4).

I'm also going into year 11 - but doing Greek instead of Latin for GCSE. Seeing as the courses are very similar, I'm wondering how you're finding the language and set texts?
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RedVelvet16
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(Original post by Sabertooth)
A friend of mine went to Greek summer school as his school didn't offer Greek.

https://www.greeksummerschool.org/
Thank you -- hopefully I can attend next summer!
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RedVelvet16
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Ah I see! In that case - take the languages as far as you can in school for sure. Definitely start exploring the texts, including in the original language if possible. There is a (old now, but apparently still good) book called "Latin Via Ovid" which serves as a language textbook but the exercises are based on excerpts from Ovid, which lets you start to get a taste of translating "real" Latin quite early on (a lot of other textbooks for learning the languages will use heavily adapted versions of key texts or just made up little stories and sentences which can get a bit boring), so that might be worth exploring. A friend of mine very highly recommended it to me.

Since classics is language based and you have to learn a lot of it via grammar, becoming more familiar with formal grammar helps a lot. This site:
http://wpwt.soton.ac.uk/notes/grammar.htm might have some helpful topics (although if you're already learning Latin you might be familiar with some or even much of it). Also make sure to keep on top of your language work - try and do some grammar drills every week if not every day, even if it's just writing out and reciting a declension or conjugation. It all helps solidify it in your mind as you practice it more and more - likewise try and work on translations as much as possible, ideally without using dictionaries (or referring to your notes and grammar tables) initially.

As above, look into summer school options; JACT is probably the best known of these. They do have some limited funding availability I think for students who might not otherwise be able to attend them. See if you can visit museums and galleries with classical sections whenever you get the chance - becoming familiar with the material culture is also important! Also explore texts in translation if the originals are beyond your language skills just now - you can access pretty much all major classical texts online free on Perseus (although some of the translations are a bit old-fashioned, they do the job!).

There are also a wealth of secondary sources which might be helpful and interesting to explore, depending on your interests. I've heard Mary Beard's SPQR recommended very often, for example. Additionally although it's maybe a bit early for it in GCSE, when you get to A-level it's worth beginning to explore the explicitly academic/critical literature to understand how people analyse classical texts academically, and some related papers on various theoretical frameworks that might be used. But for now just explore whatever is interesting to you in the realm of classics - you can start reading the theory later!
Thank you sooo much! That's really really helpful!!
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RedVelvet16
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(Original post by Mulefa)
Can definitely recommend Artful_lounger's suggestion of SPQR by Mary Beard - a wonderfully written history of the Roman Empire (and her classical documentaries are always a joy to watch, they're repeated occasionally on BBC4).

I'm also going into year 11 - but doing Greek instead of Latin for GCSE. Seeing as the courses are very similar, I'm wondering how you're finding the language and set texts?
I think Latin at GCSE is reasonably ok! Though at A-level it's probably going to get much harder. For the set texts, we've only really looked at one so at the moment I'm just trying to memorise the text.
How are you finding Greek? It must be harder because you don't use the English alphabet.
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RedVelvet16
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(Original post by sosubiyaa)
check out the ‘lingua latina per se illustrata’ series, it’ll help with your Latin comprehension skills
Definitely will, thank you!
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Angiogram1
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Did GCSE classics and loved it. If you look for OCR gcse classics textbooks there is a really good one that is the standard text. Not cheap. There are different versions depending on which syllabus route chosen. Might be a bit more technical than you want. For a level it really looks at a lot of the literature sources in detail, which may or may not be your thing. Also I think If you look on Oxford uni website they have a section about classics sample lectures etc
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Trinculo
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If you're in London, drop in to the Hellenic Book Service in Kentish Town. They have everything, and I mean everything that is considered a teaching / learning aid.
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RedVelvet16
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(Original post by Angiogram1)
Did GCSE classics and loved it. If you look for OCR gcse classics textbooks there is a really good one that is the standard text. Not cheap. There are different versions depending on which syllabus route chosen. Might be a bit more technical than you want. For a level it really looks at a lot of the literature sources in detail, which may or may not be your thing. Also I think If you look on Oxford uni website they have a section about classics sample lectures etc
Thank you! Will do!
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RedVelvet16
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(Original post by Trinculo)
If you're in London, drop in to the Hellenic Book Service in Kentish Town. They have everything, and I mean everything that is considered a teaching / learning aid.
Ooo yes, that sounds interesting!
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Mulefa
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(Original post by RedVelvet16)
I think Latin at GCSE is reasonably ok! Though at A-level it's probably going to get much harder. For the set texts, we've only really looked at one so at the moment I'm just trying to memorise the text.
How are you finding Greek? It must be harder because you don't use the English alphabet.
Greek language has been great - it's just sooo many endings to memorise and then all the irregulars! Don't think that'll get any easier at A-level, though... Same here, we've only finished the prose one which was decent; the verse text is part of the Illiad, I'm really looking forward to that (though not to having to memorise the translation)! Everyone thinks the alphabet will be hard but after a month it became second nature, I'm actually more worried about writing the letter a like alpha in all my other GCSEs!
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RedVelvet16
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(Original post by Mulefa)
Greek language has been great - it's just sooo many endings to memorise and then all the irregulars! Don't think that'll get any easier at A-level, though... Same here, we've only finished the prose one which was decent; the verse text is part of the Illiad, I'm really looking forward to that (though not to having to memorise the translation)! Everyone thinks the alphabet will be hard but after a month it became second nature, I'm actually more worried about writing the letter a like alpha in all my other GCSEs!
aha we have loads of ending too! tbh I only bother with the main verbs that are irregular (to go and to be etc) and I'm getting 8s and 9s so I'll just stick with that -- but I don't know if that'll work with Greek. I'm looking forward to learning a bit of the language over the holidays though!

Do you think you'd want to study classics (Latin and Greek) at university too?
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Mulefa
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(Original post by RedVelvet16)
aha we have loads of ending too! tbh I only bother with the main verbs that are irregular (to go and to be etc) and I'm getting 8s and 9s so I'll just stick with that -- but I don't know if that'll work with Greek. I'm looking forward to learning a bit of the language over the holidays though!

Do you think you'd want to study classics (Latin and Greek) at university too?
Our teacher last year made us say all the noun endings as quickly as possible then write our name & time on a leaderboard on the window for everyone else to see - definitely got me learning them!! Ooh, I might steal that strategy, thanks (it also helps that Greek doesn't have the ablative, so slightly fewer to learn). Enjoy!

To be honest, I don't really have any idea for A-levels at the moment, let alone uni. Doing joint English and Classics looks interesting (or just one or the other), but I don't know whether doing only Greek would harm my offer, seeing as most people will have done neither or only Latin :confused:.
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RedVelvet16
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(Original post by Mulefa)
Our teacher last year made us say all the noun endings as quickly as possible then write our name & time on a leaderboard on the window for everyone else to see - definitely got me learning them!! Ooh, I might steal that strategy, thanks (it also helps that Greek doesn't have the ablative, so slightly fewer to learn). Enjoy!

Tbh, I don't really have any idea for A-levels at the moment, let alone uni. Doing joint English and Classics looks interesting (or just one or the other), but I don't know whether doing only Greek would harm my offer, seeing as most people will have done neither or only Latin :confused:.
Honestly I think you'll be fine -- people taking Latin would just take a course in Greek and vice versa presumably! I know Oxford and a few other top unis do that! But I'm still deciding between Classics and science which is a reallyyy tough decision

Anyways good luck with Greek! Let me know if you have an q's about Latin and I'll be happy to answer
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paulyboy4
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(Original post by RedVelvet16)
Sorry -- I meant 'want' (I just changed it in the Q)

Thanks for the reply!
Practise is spelt practise when used as a verb
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