Latin was the language of Cicero and Vergil, Augustine and Abelard, Petrarch and Erasmus. From its early beginnings with the foundation of Rome up through the Renaissance, people spoke, thought and wrote in Latin from northern Europe to the Middle East. The root of modern Romance languages, its influence continues in the languages we speak today—in fact, 60 percent of English words derive from Latin.
The study of Latin opens a window onto some greatest works of literature, philosophy, history, rhetoric, math, science and theology ever written, and offers a special insight into the minds that produced them: an ability to enter into unmediated conversation with Caesar or Boethius or Newton. Latin allows us to understand the language and culture of a different world, and thus our own.
The discipline and analytical skills acquired in the study of Latin, as well as the knowledge of the roots of words, help students to excel on tests such as the GRE, LSAT, and MCAT. And students of Latin and the Classics have been successful in a variety of fields, such as:
- Ted Turner, founder of CNN and TBS
- Toni Morrison, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993
- James Baker, former Secretary of State
- J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter novels
- Teller, of Penn & Teller
The Classics Department at Carthage offers a minor in Latin. Students can also work with Classics Department faculty to design a major in Latin or the classical languages.