Dear Colleagues,

Allen’s information is interesting. One of the frequent objections raised in India against the study of Sanskrit has been that it is a priests’ language. It is not that there is not even an inkling of truth in the perception. For, howsoever we might claim philological interest as the guiding motive for Classical studies, this is true only in case of a few scholars in India. The study of Sanskrit has been sustained mainly by religious interest. Had there been no organization as the one built up by Pandit Nanaji Kale, many researches on ritual, here and in the West, could not have been carried on in the scale they have been.  

Allen’s information confirms that this is true of Latin too. This also explains why in India one finds few problems in finding material for Latin study, but has to do much more labour, often unsuccessful, for Homeric or Classical Greek studies.

Studying Biblical Greek is less of a problem!

Tells of something commonly shared?



--- On Wed, 6/7/11, Thrasher, Allen <athr@LOC.GOV> wrote:

From: Thrasher, Allen <athr@LOC.GOV>
Subject: [INDOLOGY] No incoming Sanskrit students at Andhra University :-(
To: INDOLOGY@liverpool.ac.uk
Date: Wednesday, 6 July, 2011, 1:21 AM

Since we seem to segueing into the history of Latin, I'll offer an interesting tidbit rather off the main subject.  Recently I discovered a tape and had it transferred to CD of my father interviewing my maternal grandmother about her family's history.  She said that as a young girl in the country outside of Charlotte, North Carolina she had attended a proprietorial school run by the local Presbyterian minister.  The minister taught the Latin classes himself but was frequently called away on pastoral duties, with the result the Latin training was spotty.  For college she attended Queen's College (now Queen's University) in Charlotte, but because she didn't have enough Latin she was graduated with a certificate rather than a diploma and got no tassel on her mortarboard.  I gather Queen's was not just a finishing school (or perhaps, rather, finishing schools were more demanding than a lot of colleges nowadays).  She had a semester of Anglo-Saxon.


While I'm at it, I'll mention that the part of West Virginia my father's people came from was settled by white Americans considerably later than various parts further West, because of its rough and dissected terrain. It was more or less frontier conditions well into the 19th century.  A book of county history mentioned that the first ordination of a minister of religion in the county, in the 1830s, was of a Presbyterian minister, who first had to defend a theological thesis in public debate - in Latin.


And then there is the classic old monologue from the review Beyond the Fringe, where Peter Cook explains why he had to become a miner rather than a judge because he didn't have the Latin.  See several versions thereof on YouTube:

< http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNtkLAS_5dU >

< http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofUZNynYXzM&feature=related >

< http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Grg5tULy0tY&feature=related >.


O tempora, o mores.





Allen W. Thrasher, Ph.D.

Senior Reference Librarian and Team Coordinator

South Asia Team

Asian Division

Library of Congress

101 Independence Ave., S.W.

Washington, DC 20540-4810


tel. 202-707-3732

fax 202-707-1724

The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Library of Congress.