Two classical languages are offered by the languages department at SBHS: Latin and Classical Greek.
these languages have been at the core of academic curriculum since the
school's inception. Latin and Classical Greek are acknowledged as
presenting rigorous and demanding intellectual engagement with the
emphasis on the pursuit of scholarship and academic excellence.
principal thrust of each of the languages is on reading and translating
text, initially simplified and basic. As students master the
fundamentals of the language, they progress to reading original texts
written (many for recitation) by great classical literary masters.
the junior school students begin reading Latin from the very start
using the Cambridge Latin course. The reading consists of stories
associated with the reconstruction of life at Pompeii, the Italian city
destroyed in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD as recorded
through the observations of a young Italian boy, Quintus. The stories
are interesting and informative, not only teaching students the
fundamentals of Latin but also introducing students to many, varied
aspects of Roman culture and civilisation.
In years 8 to 10
students continue reading material at an even more challenging level.
Accompanying the reading the students now become engaged in a more
formal approach to understanding and development of linguistic skills
by undertaking a course in Prose Composition, translating from English
to Latin. This focuses attention on the constructs of English and
assists in understanding and improving more fully their own English
literacy as well as providing the facility for learning languages in
later life, particularly the Romance languages, profoundly influenced
by Latin. Students are also engaged in developing skills in translating
passages of Latin not previously sighted which is generally known as
Classical Greek in the junior school
partners Latin in that the two languages function as inflected
languages where changes in the spelling of the word endings are major
contributors in the communication of meaning. Greek is a subject making
particularly rigorous and challenging demands on the intellectual
capacities of young minds and teaches mental precision, logic and
analytical skills. The approach is a more traditional and formal
acquisition of knowledge and skills. Generally a study of Greek should
be accompanied by the study of Latin as both languages reinforce each
In the senior years the emphasis is on reading a
selection of original Latin and Greek authors for study at some depth.
In year 11 students are exposed to a variety of ancient authors of
prose and verse. Skills in Prose Composition and Unseen Translation are
In year 12 prescribed authors, one prose and
one verse are studied in depth in preparation for the higher school
certificate. These texts involve ancient interests in history,
philosophy and oratory in lyric, elegaic, satiric and epic themes.
courses offer further expansion in exposure to Latin and Classical
Greek authors. Prose composition and Unseen Translation are attempted
at an advanced level.