Latin: A solution to the EU’s language problems?

Speaking of the Classics, I recently discovered to my shock and amazement that in Belgium, students still study Latin in secondary school. My Dutch teacher was talking about the structure of secondary school, and described how there is still a Latin/Classical Greek track, as well as a Latin/Math track that students almost have to take if they plan to go into medicine or any advanced humanities.

Even more shocking, she defended this practice, claiming that it was quite clear based on the kinds of essays and work students do in university which ones had studied Latin. She was troubled when I expressed doubt that there was a causal relationship between the two.

Is this commonplace in Europe? I mean, my high school offered Latin, but only because New Jersey required two years of language and some students had already flunked all three modern languages offered. (And because the Romanian woman who taught French and German figured she could teach Latin too, so they didn’t have to hire anyone.)
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Very Old Europe

New work by Sophocles? Hesiod? Lucian? Euripides? A precursor to the Illiad?

All coming up, thanks to satellitte imaging technology and a century-old trove of manuscripts brought to Britain from Egypt.

In the past four days alone, Oxford’s classicists have used it to make a series of astonishing discoveries, including writing by Sophocles, Euripides, Hesiod and other literary giants of the ancient world, lost for millennia. They even believe they are likely to find lost Christian gospels, the originals of which were written around the time of the earliest books of the New Testament. …

Oxford academics have been working alongside infra-red specialists from Brigham Young University, Utah. Their operation is likely to increase the number of great literary works fully or partially surviving from the ancient Greek world by up to a fifth. It could easily double the surviving body of lesser work – the pulp fiction and sitcoms of the day.

Exciting time to be a classicist, no?

Sales Pitch

Anti-Japanese riots continued in a number of Chinese cities. Despite a meeting of the two countries’ foreign ministers, little sign of abatement. Given that the country where the rioting is happening is a one-party socialist state with nationalist leanings, there’s bound to be official connivance at some level.

Why is selling the PRC weapons a good idea again?

Ciao Silvio?

As always with Italian parliamentary maneuvering, it’s a bit opaque, but two minor parties appear to have left the Berlusconi government. At least one wants the prime minister to stay, but with a different cabinet. The intentions of the other were not immediately clear. Early elections are not out of the question, ending Berlusconi’s quest to be the first postwar Italian prime minister to serve a full term.

Garton-Ash on Ukraine

There’s a long article on Ukraine by two Tims, Garton Ash and Synder, in the New York Review of Books.

Regular readers of this site and Garton Ash’s Guardian column may not find anything revelatory, though I found this rather startling:

…the very large sums poured into Yanukovych’s campaign by Russian sources, which have been estimated in the Russian press to amount to some $300 million

but anyway it’s an interesting summary of events leading up to the election, and what the implications might be.

The Adams Family

I’m crossposting something I originally wrote for my own blog because I realized it’s probably of far more interest to Fistful readers than to my own.

In March I wrote in Slate about Gerry Adams and the IRA, and the theory advanced by Ed Moloney (author of the excellent A Secret History of the IRA) that the Northern Bank bank robbery in December was part of Adams’ covert strategy to force the IRA to accept peace. If that theory is true, and I’m convinced by it more and more every day, then we’re now seeing the plan unfold.
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