Sunday, March 13, 2016

And They Studied Latin! Joshua Chamberlain

As a Latin teacher, I want my students to both grow in knowledge and also feel proud to be a part of the ongoing Classical experience. And so, I'm beginning a series of blog posts highlighting famous people who significantly studied Latin and/or Greek.

The obvious place to start is with a Latin scholar who, arguably, saved our Union in the Civil War.

Joshua Chamberlain changed the fortunes of war by his daring and heroic defense of Little Round Top, at the Battle of Gettysburg. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his gallantry there.

But before he fought there, he was a scholar of languages, fluent in Classical Greek, Latin, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Arabic, Hebrew, and Syriac.  

Personally, my undergraduate studies were in Classical Greek and Latin. My PhD was in Biblical Hebrew and Arabic. I formally studied Syriac, I was required to pass a reading knowledge test in French and German. I'm self taught and reasonably proficient in Spanish.  

All that said, I'm certain Joshua Chamberlain knew all those languages better than I. Except maybe Arabic. I mean, I did spend four years working Arabic language as a top secret agent for the National Security Agency. I don't know where or how he learned it and what his abilities really were. I maybe edge him out in that language alone...

And so, Latin students, remember that you are a member of a solemn and special society. And you are not alone...   

If you're interested in Latin or ancient history, or even just an entertaining read, check out the time-travel thriller In Saecula Saeculorum. Click to learn more.

You'll travel back to ancient Rome on a harrowing mission to save the modern world. It's the adventure of four lifetimes.



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