Teaching Suggestions

The following are suggestions of how Classical passages, including those in the Anthology, can be used in teaching.

Please do tell us about further ways to link existing Anthology passages to teaching topics, and please send us further passages that can be used in this way. Contact Jane Mason .


Literature Tasters

Passages from forthcoming set texts can be used to whet the appetites of students considering GCSE or A level. The following example is from the OCR GCSE Latin Verse set text for 2015 onwards. Caroline Lawrence’s introduction is great and the verse translation is fascinating compared with the prosaic version it will be necessary to produce in class:



If reading a watered-down version of a story in class, why not give them a taste of the real thing! For example, the following passage links well with Chapter 5 of John Taylor’s Greek to GCSE Book 1, where the story of the Cyclops is told. Moreover, the grammar links nicely too:



Wider reading, especially Oxbridge preparation – use the Anthology to introduce students to a wider range of authors, then get them to choose a passage of their own to send us.


Cultural ideas and themes – if you have produced a collection of passages from different authors that illustrate ancient attitudes and ideas about a particular topic (such as slavery or attitudes to women), please consider sharing it via the Anthology!


Enriching Set Text Study

You can use the Anthology with older students to give them a taste of further writings by their set text authors.

Here is Cicero on humour, contributed by Mary Beard:


And this passage from Tacitus nicely complements the current A2 set text, as it gives another example of a man standing up to a tyrant.



Follow up references to other authors. Classical authors constantly echo, re-work or even parody earlier writers. It is fascinating to compare them, especially if studying one of the writers as a set text.

For example, Catullus’ famous ‘odi et amo’ poem is echoed by Ovid:



Links to literature in other languages

Classical poems have inspired writers ever since and a taste of this helps students to realise the value of Classics – it is not dead at all, but very much alive and feeding our thought today.

For example, the short description of the Lotus Eaters in Odyssey IX has inspired writers ever since:



Language Links

Some passages contain lots of examples of a particular grammatical or syntactical feature and so can be used to enliven the teaching of that topic.

For example, Catullus’ ‘Thousand Kisses’ poem contains lots of jussive subjunctives.



Latin and Greek tags that quote a few words from a longer poem are surprisingly common and it is most satisfying to read the original.

For example the inscription above the Pump Room at Bath is the first three words of a Pindaric Ode that begins ‘Water is best…’



Church Latin and Bible stories are often fairly simple grammatically and so suitable for beginners. Moreover, as the reader is often familiar with the English version, it is easy to guess.

The Lord’s Prayer is a good example, as are the passages from the Gospels telling the Christmas story – it is fun to compare the original Greek with the Vulgate version and a couple of English versions. A good way to end the Christmas term perhaps!

The Anthology needs passages from the Bible, Latin prayers, Latin carols – please send us yours or links to other sites that provide these passages already.


Very short quotations suitable for beginners – these need to be chosen carefully but can really help to keep pupils inspired while they are putting in the groundwork to learn the basic grammar.

If you have a few of these that you use in your teaching, please share them with us and we can collect them all on a page together.

Possibilities include:

School mottoes and graces, single lines from poetry, single sentences from the Bible etc.

On the KS3 Greek Resources page of http://www.theclassicslibrary.com/ you can find a collection of this sort with very simple Greek passages that accompany each chapter of John Taylor’s Greek to GCSE Book 1.