A Classical Education: The Stuff You Wish You'd Been Taught At School Paperback – 4 Apr 2013
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See if you can tell your Tantalus from your Tacitus! (The Daily Telegraph)
This book aims to fill you in on the stuff you wish you'd been taught at school (The Times)
An invaluable overview of the principles and discoveries of the Ancients, providing all those classical facts that modern schooling leaves out... and many more (Lancashire Evening Post)
A cutely old-fashioned volume covered in Roman centurions' helmets (Yorkshire Post)
This book will jog the memory just enough, reviving tales of heroic deeds and ungodly behaviour, without getting bogged down in dull technicalities (The Field)
If you wished you'd paid more attention at school, then this is the book for you. Fascinating! (The Good Book Guide)
From the Author
Why `a classical education'? Who cares? Those were the questions I had to answer when I sat down to write this book. And what I came up with was this.
The Greeks and the Romans certainly didn't invent civilisation - the Chinese, the Babylonians, the Egyptians were all there long before them - but they did have an amazing influence on Western civilisation at we now know it. What we call classical architecture - the buildings in many of our city centres that look solid and reliable - derives from the Greeks. The principles of a logical argument were laid down by Aristotle; the science we learn in school was helped along by Archimedes leaping out of the bath-tub. Even if we have never studied classical mythology, we talk about the Midas touch or a Herculean task. We've heard of Homer, Sophocles and Cicero without actually having read their stuff; we remember that Hannibal crossed the Alps with elephants although we are a bit vague on who Hannibal was; and we know that Julius Caesar was supposed to beware the Ides of March even if we haven't a clue when the Ides were.
Let's not forget the language, either. About half of modern English derives from Latin, and much of that originally came from Greek. This means that knowing a bit of Latin will greatly enrich your vocabulary. Lots of our day-to-day, ordinary words come from Anglo-Saxon, but the fancier ones tend to be from Latin. So yes, of course, you can describe somebody as loud, but every now and then - just for the fun of it - you might want to say that they were vociferous.
And `just for the fun of it' is really what this book is about. The classics are all around us, and this book aims to fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge about them - with, I hope, a few laughs along the way. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Product description
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on 2 June 2017
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Working as a tour guide and interested in stories behind what rich men collected on their Grand Tours in 18th Century. A colleague, to whom I recommended this, has already thanked me effusively for the suggestion.
on 23 September 2017
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I already had some knowledge of both ancient Greece and Rome. Studied Latin for 2 years long ago. Yet learned quite a bit of new things. Will use the bibliography to read more on certain topics.
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Most recent customer reviews
This was great disappointment. I was hoping for and expecting a coherent account of the major elements of a classical education, as the title implied.Read more
Taggart writes with strong subject knowledge and a unique witty style to keep the reader intrigued. The book successfully delivers a snapshot of classical history in a humorous...Read more
This book is a hoot, I wish I had had it available for reference when I was studying with the Open University.Read more
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