Unlike my parents and grandparents, I never had the option of studying Latin while in high school.
Mind you, the decidedly uninspired worth ethic I demonstrated in my teens perhaps ensured that I wouldn’t have taken Latin had it been offered, but the fact that California’s public school system was well in the crapper by the time I was enrolled in high school in 1980 made it a non issue.
Indeed, the Language of the Caesars was considered passé by the lightweights who had taken control of the Golden State’s education system beginning in the 1960s.
Instead, I squeaked my way through a couple of years of French – which in no way prepared me for the two years of college French that was required for me to graduate.
Years later I regret not having studied at least a smattering of Latin at some point in my schooling.
To be able to read Cicero, Cato or Tacitus in the original would have given me the chance to view their world through a wholly different lens, rather than one distorted, even unintentionally, by translation.
Fortunately, after a decline of several decades the study of Latin is increasing in popularity once again. Perhaps, common sense is returning to a segment of the education community, and the greatness of literary giants of past millennia are again being recognized on a wider basis.
Latin may not be for everybody but as Cicero once stated, “Cultivation to the mind is as necessary as food to the body.”
(Above: Cartoon from The New Yorker and likely the only time the words “mani” or “pedi” will ever appear in this blog.)