In today’s increasingly forward-looking and modern world, it would be easy to ask what the point is of such a backwards-looking subject as Classics. Does the subject still hold relevance, or is it a relic of the past? I strongly believe that this isn’t the case; the ancient world does indeed have relevance today, just as much as ever, and there is still a point to studying it.
More so than any other subject, Classics is wonderfully diverse. Topics can range from Roman politics in Cicero’s republic to Greek tragedy, and in addition there are several more unusual areas of study such as Classical reception (the impact of the ancient world on our own). This variety is something that makes the study of the ancient world fairly unique. Unlike in most subjects, which involve choosing a specialisation to pursue, studying the ancient world allows you instead to choose a period of history spanning over 1000 years and then to gain a far broader understanding of the myriad of different cultures that co-existed within that era.
In studying Classics you can develop a diverse set of skills, such as presenting and engaging in debates, as well as less common ones such as analysing source material. These are transferable, and can be applied to a wide range of situations. Due to its demanding nature, it is well regarded as by employers and marks you out as an individual, rather unsurprisingly; the skills gained through studying an ancient language, as well as the culture surrounding it, makes you pretty unique as a potential employee.
Forget the misconception that Classics is a long dead subject, because it’s not the case. The study of the ancient world is still very much alive and relevant in today’s society, and there are plenty of reasons to do so. There’s also just something special about being able to read what was written over two millennia ago! I shall finish, as any Classicist should do, with a quote from Cicero which nicely sums up the most important reason of all; ‘to know nothing about the past is to forever be a child’.
Thank you for reading, and feel free to give me your opinions below.