Latin and Greek Texts: What Are We Reading in Schools and Universities?

Research post authored and posted by Emily Franzini. School and university curricula love Homer. This is a fact. You don’t need to be a student of Classics to know who Homer was and what he wrote. Even Hollywood is familiar with his Iliad and Odyssey. What we’re interested in finding out, however, is who else and what else we are reading during our Latin and Ancient Greek lessons, and furthermore, if every country studies the same texts. To this end, we picked a sample of six countries, each boasting a relatively high number of students taking these subjects at various levels of proficiency. These are the USA, the UK, Germany, Croatia, Italy and Austria. For each we visited their Ministry of Education websites, secondary school examination board websites and many university Classics departmental pages. We emailed and waited. At last, we were able to compile a list of the top most read authors for each of these countries. Though fully aware that the information we gathered is only part of the puzzle, we also chose to make one list of the top three authors of Latin, and top three of Greek across all countries considered. Here is what we found: in first and second place for Greek, was, of course, the beloved Homer – his epic poems narrating the events of the Trojan War and the return of Odysseus to Ithaca being favourites among readers; in third place we have the Histories by Herodotus – considered by many the founding work of history. For Latin the first place is awarded to Vergil’s Aeneid recounting the adventures of Aeneas following the war of Troy; second place goes to Catullus’ Poems about his...

Different Cultures, Different Perceptions: HELP ME BY COMPLETING THIS SURVEY!

People from different cultures have different ideas about one single event, or even a historical figure in the ancient world. This may have an influence on how people interact while they are learning a historical language collaboratively. I am trying to understand if this hypothesis is true. HELP ME by completing this survey. Just click on the following link to participate in this study and I will be forever grateful!...

Thank you for your feedback!

Authored and posted by Emily Franzini. The Historical Languages eLearning Project would like to extend a warm thank you to all of you who came to the Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften to learn and play with Ancient Geek. Your feedback was invaluable and has helped us bring our research and development to the next level!                ...

Long Night of Science / Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften!!

Authored and posted by Emily Franzini. Tonight (27th July) from 6pm to 12am in the main building of the University of Leipzig our very own Historical eLearning Project team will be showcasing Ancient Geek, a user-friendly web application providing localized support to learners of Ancient Greek. The project started in September 2013 and is now already at the point of offering a fully functional platform enriched with history snippets, gamified exercises, aligned text, parse trees, all designed with the sole purpose of teaching an ancient language, not through traditional grammars, but through direct contact with the text and active participation. So far, the text at the user’s disposal is a section of The History of the Peloponnesian War by the ancient Greek historian Thucydides, whose literal translation is made available in English, Croatian and Farsi. The project’s working name is Historical Languages eLearning Project and is part of the wider Open Philology Project led by Prof. Gregory Crane, Humboldt Professor of DigitalHumanities at the University of Leipzig and funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the European Social Fund and the Sächsische AufbauBank. Ancient Geek was born and blossomed in the capable hands of three Research Associates at the University of Leipzig — Monica Lent, Emily Franzini and Maria Moritz — with the help of Maryam Foradi, professional translator, and their leaders Professor Gregory Crane, Dr. Thomas Köntges. Join us!  ...

Update! Total number of secondary level students studying Latin and Ancient Greek in the world

Authored and posted by Emily Franzini. Here is an updated version of the blogpost that I published last March [link: here] in which I gave a brief account of my experience in trying to quantify the total number of students studying the Latin and Ancient Greek languages across the world. I am extremely grateful to all the Classicists and non-Classicists out there who pointed me in the right direction, and thanks to whom I have now identified the numbers for four more areas in the world: the Flanders (in Belgium), Switzerland, France and New Zealand. Here are some considerations. Switzerland filled me with joy, coming in second with 16.8% of its students studying Latin, after Italy (40%). The Flanders too strives to breed young Latinists, with 9% of its students studying the language, 0.3% more than Germany. There are 501,100 students of Latin in France, which I thought incredibly impressive considering Latin is by no means compulsory in schools. I had no idea what to expect for New Zealand, but this is what I found: there are 1,501 students of Latin and none of Greek. Switzerland and the Flanders tie in second place with 1.2% of students studying Greek in each country – Italy remains first with 13.6%. France is in fifth place after Croatia with 34,000 students of Greek. I’m still desperately trying to find accurate results for Spain, Greece and Egypt, so any further help would be greatly appreciated. When researching South Africa, I discovered that local Classics professors estimate no more than 100 Latin and 50 Greek students, but, for this, I have yet to find...

CALL FOR COLLABORATION: Could you help us quantify the total number of students studying Latin and Ancient Greek in the world?

Authored and posted by Emily Franzini. So, I recently set out on a mission – thinking it would be relatively easy – to quantify the total number of people currently studying Latin and Ancient Greek at secondary and higher level education. I started with Europe, though fancying a bit of a data challenge, I soon expanded my research to the whole world. Well, it has been no easy task. That’s why it is not finished yet, and I still need all the help I can get. As the Humboldt Chair of Digital Humanities at the University of Leipzig, my team is interested in knowing how many of our Classics peers there are out there and how many would benefit from some of the eLearning tools we are currently developing. I thought it would be a simple question of looking up the national education statistics in each country, and voilà, I’d discover how many still study what was not so long ago considered, at least in the case of Latin, the universal academic language. How naïve! Apparently, national statistics centres have very little interest in knowing which subjects their young ones are studying. So, I began with emails: emails to the various ministries of education, emails to the Classics  associations, emails to university professors, university departments and Classics forums. For now, I will focus on secondary school enrolments for two reasons. First, secondary school enrolments seem to account for the largest numbers of students. Second, higher education enrolments are often much more decentralised and more difficult to identify. Italy gave me the greatest satisfaction – it is after all, the cradle of...