The more she began to study Latin when she was in eighth grade, the more fascinated Roxana was to discover. For example, he learned from this subject that the education in the Roman Empire was similar to that of today.
“Finding out about the subject, I discovered many similarities with the current education system, such as the start of school at the age of seven and the existence of three cycles of compulsory education – primary, elementary, higher,” said the student for School 9.
Meet a philosopher instead of a graduation prize
What impressed her most was the fact that, after completing their studies, the Romans made a trip to Greece, which offered them the opportunity to meet the great philosophers of the time. “I imagined what it was like to have a conversation with such a man, I think it’s something extraordinary. And these journeys showed a great openness of the people of antiquity, even compared to today.
In the ninth grade, the Latin teacher’s method of work definitely convinced Roxana of the beauty of the subject. “At the beginning, the teacher made us make comparisons between a series of words in Romanian and their Latin correspondents. It was an interesting exercise for me, and later I found out that it is also found in the Olympics ”.
Thus began a long and difficult road to performance for Roxana, who came to participate in the International Latin Olympics.
Her favorite sayings are Per aspera ad astra (“on difficult paths to the stars”) and Ad augusta per angusta (“on narrow paths to great deeds”) – “because I feel that they define me in the context of my effort imposed for the Olympics ”.
She also believes that “work is always more important than talent. You can have as much talent in a discipline, but only through work can you polish it ”.
In the past, seven or eight hours of Latin and ancient Greek were studied
Before the Second World War, there was a classic profile in the Romanian school. Each student in this profile had a seven- to eight-hour Latin and Ancient Greek weekly schedule. That is, intensive studies of language, translation and classical culture.
After the establishment of communism, Eastern Europeans were placed in the area of Soviet influence. “And once you said you didn’t belong to Latin, where would the Latin teacher infiltrate, first of all, and then the classical profile? It was abolished, and Latin has not been studied at all for 5-10 years “, explains Ioana-Roxana Popa.
After the Revolution, the Latin language seemed to occupy a significant place in the framework plans, being included among the baccalaureate subjects for philologists since 1990. But in 2009, the discipline received a blow: it is completely removed from Bac.
We thus become “the land of a paradox”, a country where culture and origin do not triumph, but are forgotten. The 12th grade history lesson about Romanians’ Romanianness and the small references from the literature lessons remain a commemorative voice for the Romanian student, but not enough.
The study of Latin at present
Today, Latin is taught as a compulsory subject in the seventh grade, when students have one hour a week called “Elements of Latin and Romance culture.” In high school, Latin is also studied only by students from the philology profile, who also give a semester thesis on this subject, and by those from theological seminars.
According to a study conducted by the University of Leipzig, Italy was, in 2014, the country with the highest percentage of high school students studying Latin (40%), followed by Switzerland (16.8%), Belgium (9%) and Germany. 8.7%). Latin is studied in high school and in non-European countries, including the USA, New Zealand and even some African countries (Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal).
The language that is no longer spoken
As it is no longer an official language in any country, Latin does not involve a conversational part. “I never had anyone to communicate with in Latin, even if I liked it. Romanian colleagues from the Olympics do not know how to speak this language, because the competitions do not focus on vocabulary. Instead, if I receive a text in Latin, I manage to understand it and I know how to pronounce the words “, confessed Roxana.
As the Olympic student also explained to us, in the study of this language, the emphasis is on comparative thinking, on discovering the influence that classical culture exerts to this day. That is why Roxana does not accept the labeling of Latin as a “dead language”.
As we know, both the Romanian language and the Romanian people find in the Romanesque world a noble origin, according to those who have explored the past. Chroniclers, poets and historians have understood that knowing our origin is something that builds us spiritually, not just physically.
Roman culture is useful for those who want to pursue a career in justice. Roxana belongs to this category, and, in the natural documentation process for a student in her final year, she discovered that almost all law schools in the country and in Europe include a Romanian law course. “Here it is necessary to understand Cicero, whose processes have been preserved.”
Through in-depth readings, the student discovered that society works according to what it was in the past, in primary or rudimentary form. “In the Roman Empire, too, there was murder, bail, theft, dissatisfaction with inheritance, and iniquities, which Cicero masterfully analyzed. We have a lot to learn from the latter. “
Read the full article in School 9.
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