More than 50% of English-language vocabulary comes from Latin; Italian, French, Spanish, and Portugese have evolved directly out of Latin; learning Latin grammar is great training for the mind and gives one a glimpse into the deeper structures of Western languages. Latin literature is a founding stone of Western civilization as well as a different and fascinating world in its own right.
Consider this phrase, a famous four words from the ancient Roman historian Tacitus:
Solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant.
Even without any knowledge of Latin, we can guess some of the meaning. “Solitudinem”? Solitary, solitude. “Faciunt”? Fact, factual. “Pacem?” Peace. “Appellant?” Appeal. A final translation reads:
They make a blankness, and call this peace.
Four Latin words have turned into a much more verbose eight words in English. Nevertheless, the striking power of the original can be glimpsed, and the wisdom. Tacitus is criticizing the actions of the Roman army, which proceeds by destroying everything, and calls the result “peace.” How little things have changed in two thousand years, after all.
In Gaia Latin, depending on the level and interest of the students, we offer beginning courses in Latin grammar, as well as selections from the best that classical Latin has to offer, including the speeches of Cicero, perhaps the greatest lawyer in history; the war commentaries of Julius Caesar (from whom the month of July gets its name); the ever-young poetry of Catullus and Horace; and the reflections on life and wisdom writings of Seneca and Marcus Aurelius.