When Bill Clausen started teaching Greek I in the fall of 2015, he and Dr. Smith felt that adding a second classical language was the logical next step for our school. Mr. Clausen, who joined Washington Latin in our second year, teaches Latin and humanities courses, and chairs both the Classics Department and the Classical Committee. There are many reasons to study ancient Greek, especially to have a deeper understanding of the themes of truth, goodness and beauty at the heart of our program. Those interested in ancient Greek literature, including mythology, ought to have the opportunity to read some of these texts in the original language. And Ancient Greek is the foundation of many English words.
In December of 2016, Howard Moore, who was the head of classics at multiple schools in the U.K., joined the school and took on the Greek classes. Now Washington Latin offers Greek I, II, and III, with a current junior preparing to be our first Greek IV student next fall. Before teaching at Washington Latin, Mr. Moore taught Latin, Greek, and ancient history in the U.K. and Australia, with classes as large as 28 to 30 students. While there are only nine students enrolled in the three Greek classes at Washington Latin currently, this allows the classes to be particularly intimate and do more intensive language study.
Students read the Athenaze textbook to learn vocabulary and understand aspects of Greek religion, politics, and literature. As students progress through the Greek program, they have the chance to read more challenging texts like Plato’s Apology and Xenophon’s Hiero. As in all Washington Latin classes, students in Greek have also had Socratic seminars on topics like what makes a myth. Several students enrolled in the Greek program have had the chance to continue their studies of classical languages through the Paideia Institute’s programs in Greece and Rome during the summer.
There were many intersections between Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome and peoples in both North and Sub-Saharan Africa. I have been exploring some of these in daily tweets in the last couple of weeks. (You can follow me @WashLatinHOS). We have also had a hallway display about some of the prominent black classicists. A public speaking contest, that we are launching this week, will be named in honor of one of those classicists.