Classics and Politics

In an amusing article, What can Boris learn from the classics?, Finlo Rohrer writes for BBC News that classical education can give great insights into politics and the psychology of political leadership. The article is less about Boris Johnson, London’s new mayor, than about the role of classics in contemporary education.

Being a Classist by education myself, I could not agree more with Rohrer. All I ever needed to know I learned in Greek and Latin 101.


3 Responses

  1. I am not a philologist, but I’ve had an informal classical education by way of reading extensively in the best translations for many years now. I would like to see the classical education curriculum come back in America, but there’s not much of a chance. Classical education in America still thrives in private Christian schools but not public ones. Funny that so many Americans admire the Founding Fathers of this country and yet most Americans don’t know just what really made the founders so unique. Most, especially Thomas Jefferson, received a Classical education. Jefferson once commented that his education in Greek and Latin was a “sublime luxury.” He wished to retire from public office where he could read Tacitus and Livy all day.

    I like your blog.

  2. Thanks, Jeff.

    Reading Tacitus and Livy all day – luxury! My interests lean more toward the Greek than the Latin side, but nonetheless, the pleasure of reading the classics seems to be largely lost in the modern education system as you say.

    However, with all the recent emphasis on holistic, interdisciplinary education, and the realization that quantitative methods are not always sufficient to address various asymmetries and uncertainties in the future we’re facing, I have faith that we might just see a revival in the humanities as they were once taught.

    Best regards,


  3. A Latin professor at the University of Maryland told me the other day that his Latin/Classics MA program has actually grown substantially over the past 8 years. Hail to Russell Crowe and “Gladiator.”

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