Shrewsbury School

'Why I love Classics'

Thursday 1 November 2018

Dr John Taylor - a 'legend' in the world of Classics - made a very welcome and eagerly anticipated return visit to Shrewsbury on 30th October to deliver the first of this term's Classical Society lectures.

Dr John Taylor has helped teachers at Shrewsbury to guide hundreds – if not thousands – of Salopians studying Latin, Greek or both, as the author of a number of Classical textbooks, many of whose titles include ‘......to GCSE’ or ‘....Beyond GCSE’. Head of Classics at Tonbridge School for many years (under the headmastership, among others, of our current Chairman of Governors Tim Haynes), he has migrated north, nearer his roots, and now lectures at the University of Manchester.

So the crackle of anticipation among pupils whom he has metaphorically led by the hand through the grammatical labyrinth, to tackle the Gordian Knot of the Ablative Absolute and to sink their teeth into the Genitive Sandwich (tough, not tasty) was tangible on Tuesday night as he delivered a lecture on ‘Why I Love Classics’ – a tour through his top ten ‘hits’, as it were, of the Classical World, and the reason why he is still in love with his subject.

Delivered in his customary fast-paced and amusing manner, Dr Taylor shared with the audience his passion for the sheer breadth and variety to be found in the ancient world. Classics, we heard, was different enough to be interesting and similar enough to be relevant, and that today in the UK, more people than ever are studying it.

Among other highlights, Dr Taylor took us through the reportage style of the news of Roman defeat at Lake Trasimene at the hands of Hannibal, delivered like a newspaper headline; the linguistic connections in Indo European languages discovered by one of the brothers Grimm (of fairytale fame); and the ripping yarns to be found in Herodotus – heard the one about master thieves, grand theft from the king, and a decapitated brother? Turn to book 2 of The Histories for more...

Many thanks to Dr Taylor for taking time out of his busy schedule to deliver such a punchy, passionate and thought-provoking talk.

Paul Fitzgerald
Head of Classics

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