When I announced in October 2014 that I was starting a Latin group, I did not expect more than five or six members to sign up. In the event eleven names were on the list, a full group straight away.
The text book I chose was the Cambridge Latin Course Book 1. It tells the story of a real family that lived in Pompeii during the first century AD, at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. We follow their daily life: dinner with friends, business in the Forum, visits to the theatre, until the fatal night of the volcano eruption. The last chapter is poignantly entitled “finis”.
Some of our members have been to Pompeii; others visited the Pompeii exhibition in London a few years ago. We have seen the plaster casts of the family members, including the dog! We have seen their house, wall paintings, clothes, jewellery. Our Latin course is therefore not just about language, history and culture, but about real people.
But obviously the language comes first during our meetings. We can now greet each other in Latin, ask each other simple questions, say where we are in the house or garden. We read the stories and answer oral questions based on the text. We also do written exercises practising new points of grammar.
It is in fact amazing how far we have come in the course of only twelve meetings. And even more amazing that the group remains full despite the inevitable accusatives, ablatives, datives and of course amo, amas, amat. Latin a dead language? It is very much alive in Ashtead U3A!
For more information please contact us through Latin