Classics/Classical Literature and Civilisation undergraduate open day talk 2018


In this next half hour we’ll be talking
to you about what sort of department we are, the values that bring us together and that
inform our research and our teaching and I’ll talk to you a little about how your degree
will develop if you came here to study what you’ve been doing year by year and why that
will be that little bit special. I’ll end by talking briefly about the sorts of things
that people then go on to do with degrees in Classical Studies from this university
and how you’re not consigning yourself to a life of poverty or trying to sell Classics
door to door if you do what is the benchmark Humanities degree that’s always been I think
also the funnest one. I should also say that while I encourage questions and feel free
to ask at any point, just put a hand up, that’s not to ask permission, that’s just to alert
me that I need to pay you full attention. I’ll welcome questions; I may not be able
to answer all of them today. I am an academic, part of what I’m paid for is to stand at
the front looking splendid. I’m not paid to be an administrative genius, I’m paid
to be other kinds of genius. So if you have questions that I can’t answer, I can refer
you or, if it’s something really procedural then a good first port of call is the university’s
web page on admissions which has all the documents that tell you the official things. OK? So, we are Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology
– CAHA for short because it is a mouthful – and we study the ancient world at Birmingham
from every angle we can and we’re very unusual in that, in having that mix of disciplines
in a single department, sharing the space, being on the same mailing lists, going to
the same meetings, teaching to a large extent many of the same students. We work with a
version of the ancient world that’s very open-ended and that isn’t over yet. We study
its emergence in pre-History before people were doing things like writing stuff down
– that’s when you really need Archaeology the most – right the way through the cultures
of Greece and Rome and the neighbouring senior cultures of Egypt and the Near East through
to the Fall of the Roman Empire, the new Rome in the East, Byzantium, and even beyond. We
take Classics indeed up to the present day with our study of how the ancient world is
continually being remade in the present in the service of various agenda and of how new
evidence keeps turning up to enrich our vision of what the ancient world was like. We come
at it from every angle. It’s always been the case that if you go
in a library you can spot the Classist – and by Classist I mean not just linguistic Classics
but the study also of Classical Literature and Civilisation – by the fact that they’re
the one that has seven or eight books open at the same time and they’re using all of
them. The way that we do Classics here as part of a network of cognate disciplines – Archaeology,
Ancient History, the study of ancient documents and inscriptions and artefacts and art – makes
that environment of multi-disciplinarity out of using many skills at once, all the more
rich because you’re part of a suite of programmes and your colleagues will be not only Classists,
not only your fellow students doing Classics or Classical Literature and Civilisation,
but also students doing Ancient History who you may be seeing in Ancient History lectures,
perhaps some of the more adventurous Archaeologists who fancy picking up an ancient language.
You’ll get to know students whose experience complements and broadens yours. Classics has long been the original and the
defining Humanities discipline. It’s been called Classics since the Romans called it
that and the Greeks were doing it several centuries BC, inventing what we know now as
‘the university’ and ‘the lecture’, way back then. We’ve been doing this subject
then for over 2,000 years and we’d like to think we’ve got reasonably good at it
in the meantime. It’s a subject that has had profound impact. The ways that the ancient
world, especially Greece and Rome but also Egypt and the Near East, continue to shape
our culture through law, through literature, through the stories we tell about it. I’m
sure a few people are here because their interest was first piqued by 300 or Gladiator, and
that’s fine, we can work with that, we enjoy working with that. The Classical languages
continue to challenge us. They inform many of the longer words of our own languages.
One reason for doing Classics, although a trivial one, is that you’ll be a whiz at
Scrabble and always be able to argue back to doctors, but the languages also give a
training in how to work with a complex, rule-bounded system, that has enough gaps in it because
it’s a living language, that you can’t just do the math on it. It teaches a very
flexible set of problem solving skills going forward. The literature of course still continues
to shape our own. I’ve in the last few years supervised very rewarding final year dissertations
on, for instance, the Classics in young adult fiction, on the Classics in Harry Potter which
is full of Latin spells, on the Classics in Philip Pullman’s novels which are shot through
with Virgilian illusions. Classics has been part of the Birmingham project
of the University of Birmingham since the very beginning. It has a long history here.
The first ever conference of the Classical Association of England and Wales was held
here over a hundred years ago and its’ been part of the university’s mission ever since
to keep this amazing subject going strong. When I talk about Classics I am of course
referring to a couple of different things and because we’re using 2,000 year old technology,
that can sometimes be a bit imprecise. We have a degree that is called Classics that
is in UCAS terms, ‘Q800’ and that is very strongly a linguistic degree. If you’re
signing up for that degree and it’s always going to be a minority, then you’ll be coming
in with an A-level in Latin and you’ll study Latin and Greek, both languages, in the original,
in every year of your degree here. This cuts down on the range of some of your choices
because you’ll always be spending time working with the languages in the original but you’ll
have the consolation of working with the languages in the original in small groups of like-minded
people getting to grips with some of the most fascinating texts ever written. The majority
of students who apply to us to do, loosely speaking, classics – classics with a small
‘c’ – will be doing Classical Literature and Civilisation and there we’re working
with texts sought in translation. We do not consider this in any way second best because
translations bring their own sets of challenges and opportunities for the learner and that’s
a degree that perhaps attracts three dozen or so students every year. There is by the
way, I should specify, no cap on the numbers of enrolments for any of our degrees. These
are just the sorts of numbers we tend to get in any one year and if we get more, we just
work harder and sleep less. Classics is available in Joint Honours combinations
with several other subjects. Classics and English has always been a very popular one
for reasons that will be obvious if you’ve read much English Literature and seen how
shot through it is with classical stuff, even to this day. But you don’t get Shakespeare,
you don’t get Milton, without Virgil, without dodgy translations and Plutarc, it’s just
not comprehensible. But also with Philosophy and with Anthropology and every year there
are a few students who are interested in pursuing those individual paths and if you want to
know more about the nitty-gritty of how those combinations can work then there is a Joint
Honours stand in the Bramhall building on the third floor up where the big piano used
to be, and you can make your way there and talk not only to members of staff who are
involved with it but also to students who have experience of how it’s worked for them. What we aim to do in the three years – mostly
three years you’ll be with us at Birmingham – is turn you into someone who doesn’t
really need us anymore. Someone who can go forth and do this stuff or really do pretty
much everything, because if you can do this stuff then most other things, frankly, aren’t
that hard. So we accept that you’ll be coming in for an A-level environment where there
was a right answer. There are twenty things to say about Virgil on that particular essay
and if you say them all you get full marks. We’re not interested in teaching you that
way. In fact while we’re excellent at teaching, we’re not really predominantly interested
in teaching you. We’re interested in helping you learn things and what we want to do over
the three years that you’re with us is help yourself turn into someone who not only finds
their own answer to the question but is able by the end to decide what the questions should
be, and then go away and research it and come up with your own answer that you own. And
that is quite an intoxicating thing to experience on both sides. It’s very rewarding for us
as well. So we will support you. From arrival you will have a personal tutor, that will
usually be your personal academic contact all the way through. So I tend to have, say,
ten or eleven new personal tutees every year and by the end I get to know them really well
and I can write them references and years later I’ll hear back from them and that’s
all just really nice. It gets me where I live But also we’re challenging you and encouraging
you to develop and checking up on your progress and asking you what feedback you’ve had
and how you’re learning and how you’re becoming more independent. We want you to
transition you then to a more active mode of learning in which learning becomes a series
of challenges that you confront, where the evidence gives you a set of problems that
you can work with and find your own answer. There isn’t necessarily a right one because
the study of the ancient world is full of gaps and uncertainties and they really weren’t
that much like us. So your answer could, by the end, be as good as ours. I will give very
high marks to students whose work I fundamentally disagree with because I think it’s wrong
but I can’t be right about everything and in the meantime, they’re clever. So, we want to develop you. We want you to
be, by the start of your second year, a slightly different sort of person than you were at
the start of your first year and certainly a more active learner, someone who’s more
adventurous and more confident, and by the end of your third year, we want you to be
ready to take on the world and we do this by immersing you in this ancient world that
we all love, studying it from as many different angles at the same time as we can and defining
its borders as generously as we can so that gives you room to explore this thrilling,
alien, environment. It’s no accident that many Classicists are also really hardcore
science fiction fans; we love playing in alien universes. So in your first year you’ll arrive at university
probably a bit apprehensive, wondering how it’s all going to work, and you’ll get
a fairly comprehensive grounding in what you need to know about the ancient world of Greece,
Rome and its neighbours in order to then make your own choices confidently and specialise
and develop in the second year. So if you’re coming in to do Classical Literature and Civilisation
you might for instance choose to begin, or indeed continue, an ancient language. There’s
no pressure to do so and if you choose to sign up to do that then it’s quite a time
commitment and that’s reflected in the credit weighting that is given to it within the curriculum,
but you can start, let’s say, Latin or Greek in your first year and by the end of university
you’ll be really quite good at it, you’ll be reading, let’s say, a Greek tragedy in
the original. If you put the time in and do the work, you can do that, your brains are
still soft. I couldn’t. If you’re coming in to do Linguistic Classics,
the Q800 degree, which is always going to be a minority of our students, then you will
be doing Greek and Latin in every year. Typically our Q800 Classics students come in with an
A-level in Latin. We have a module that follows straight on from that and probably with little
or no Greek and we start them on beginner’s Greek or with a follow on module if they’ve
got some, if for instance they’ve been lucky enough to do a GCSE. So that already is some
choice taken away if you do the Linguistics Classics option because you have chosen; you
will always do language. You’ll have a bunch of lectures, obviously in Greek and Latin
Literature. We also insist that our first years do Greek and Roman History because otherwise
you don’t understand the world that is making these texts and it’s no good just saying
‘ohh, truly Virgil was a great poet’. I mean yes, he was, but that’s not much
of a thing to say. It doesn’t leave you any room to develop from there. So you need
to understand what made Virgil actually pretty amazing at the time, given the audience he
had, given the world he was speaking to and the pressures he was under, and you need History
to do that. A lot of this stuff will be delivered through lectures but always in support of
that there will be small group seminars building core skills and every week during your first
year you’ll be meeting for two hours with the leader of your first year project, that
is a small group seminar, in your first term that will be your personal tutor and that
will be on a subject in which they’re a research expert. It doesn’t really matter
what it is; the core activity there is for you to learn how to do the academic thing
– building a bibliography, of arguing from evidence, of taking on board secondary views
but sometimes disputing them, of building arguments that don’t go round and round
in circles. In your second term as Classicists, a I use that term to include both Q800 and
Q820, you’ll be part of a cohort wide group called ‘The Group Research Project’ in
which you divide into new teams, again meeting new people and getting to know them, to work
collaboratively to generate presentations and reports on a topic in Classical Antiquity
that you yourselves have selected and that’s a very well-supported module that turns out
very confident presentations and prepares students very well for a lot of the collaborative
work they’ll be doing in the second year. Already from the first year, although there’s
a certain amount of stuff you must do to define yourself as a Classicist as opposed to an
Archaeologist for instance, there are lots of choice. You can do bits of Art and Archaeology,
you can explore the cultures of Ancient Egypt and the Near East or you could get into Byzantium,
what comes after Rome in Constantinople. They still think they’re Romans but they’re
talking in Greek and worshipping Christ – weird mixture, and then that becomes the Middle
Ages. There’s lots of choice there already. As you move into your second year, as you’re
becoming more confident, you’ll be selecting more of your curriculum for yourself. There
are still certain core elements that define you as a Classicist that say ‘this is what
your degree is’, but you have a lot more scope to explore, perhaps to define yourself
as a Classicist who moonlights as an Egyptologist or Byzantinist or even an Archaeologist if
you really like getting your hands dirty. So in the second year you will still have
core modules. There is one Greek and one Roman core on the literary side to define who you
are and where you’re seeing all your colleagues who by then you’ll probably know quite well.
We tend to get 30-odd, maybe three dozen as I’ve said in a particular year doing the
different kinds of Classics and so by the end of the first year these will be your colleagues.
I should also emphasise, and this is something that’s true for universities generally,
we don’t grade on a curve. You’re not in competition with these people. You can
all get First Class degrees if you work really hard and are bright and so these people are
your best resource. They are your colleagues, they will be by the end a lot of them, firm
friends and those relationships can last a lifetime. So you’ll have your core modules developing
your discipline identity, saying that you’re a Classicist, but you’ll also be choosing
from a wide array of small group seminars that could be in whatever you want, subject
to availability and numbers. We can’t cram too many people into one of those rooms, firstly
because of Fire regs; more importantly because then it stops being interactive and the whole
point of a seminar is to get a bunch of people round a table arguing about the evidence and
figuring out what it means. You could, if you picked up a language in Classical Literature
and Civilisation, continue with that if you wanted. There’d be no pressure to do so,
but if you were you’d be reading texts in prose in the original. You’d still be picking
up bits and pieces of grammar but you’d be able to make your way through a bit of
Demosthenes or a bit of Lucien or a bit of Caesar pretty well by then. Of course if you’re
doing the Linguistics Classics degree, Q800, you would be continuing to read Greek and
Roman texts in the original and again, they would be in smallish groups and often with
quite a choice of what text it is you’ll actually read. One of the core modules in
the second year that’s unique to Birmingham and to our Single Honours programmes in this
department is the study tour. I’m sure many of you will have talked to our students on
the stand already in the Bramhall building and heard a lot about that. I don’t want
to steal their thunder. If you haven’t, go over there and talk to them because they
are our best advertisement, they are amazing. But the study tour sends you to, well, wherever
you and your mates on the course want to go for a couple of weeks, with the university’s
money which largely subsidises it, to conduct research on questions that interest you and
that can be anywhere. We’ve had students for instance do Hadrian’s Wall but they
tend to find that their passionate research interests lie in somewhere warm with nice
food.. it’s funny. And so typically our students will go to Greece or they’ll go
to Italy. They’ll often do a week or so in Rome and then go down by train to Naples
and Vesuvius. Every year I’m one of the reps who tends
to be around in Italy at that time of year and every year I watch the news and dread
the phone call that says Vesuvius is erupting. It hasn’t happened yet. We used to send
students to Egypt; that’s not really deemed safe right now. Turkey, not right now. We
hope we shall go again at some point. But if you’re interests were Egyptian, say,
then you could explore the great museum collections of Europe by, for instance, interrailing.
Go to Munich, go to Berlin, go to Rome, go to Paris, and see the stuff for yourself and
form your own theories. And these groups are mentored but they’re entirely driven by
the students in collaboration. So it’s the students who set the agenda, who figure out
whether the budget is feasible, who conduct a risk assessment, who sort out the insurance
which the university pays for, but the students need to fill in the forms. All that adulting
stuff, of working in a small group for a year and somehow not killing each other, which
is a highly transferable skill. It turns into, you know, grown up life and working for a
living. We have two core Classical Literary modules
in the second year. I’ll talk about those just briefly. The first is new, it’s called
Archaic to Classical. It’s not the most sexy title; that is my fault, I just made
this one up the other year. It’s on the books, it’s not run yet, but it will be
your second year core module for the first time, should you come. That is going to look
at what happens in between Homer. We do some Homer in the first year in Greek Literature.
In between Homer where it’s all warriors and kings and, let’s say, Aeschylus and
Demosthenes, when you’ve got city states and governments and even this weird new thing
called ‘democracy’. What happens in the intervening years? How do you get from Homer
to Greek drama? What’s in the gap? We’ll be looking at, for instance, Hesiod didactic
epic. Unlike Homer who’s all heroic, didactic epic teaches you about what the world is like
and how you’re supposed to live in it. Hesiod had very detailed instructions on how to not
die, how to make your way in the world, but also on why the world is the way it is, on
how the Gods made it so, on how the struggles at a cosmic level turned it into the world
of toil that we inhabit as part of the race of iron . It used to be better
in the Golden Age but we don’t get to go there. We’ll look at Sappho, one of my favourite
Ancient poets, an author known largely these days through fragments recovered from papyrus,
from the Egyptian desert. We have so much more Sappho than we did a century or even
a decade ago. She’s coming back, scrap by scrap, and this is a lyric poet of archaic
Lesbos, singing about love in a way that had never been done before, and taking all that
Homeric stuff about heroism and saying ‘actually, what’s really important is not hundreds
of horses but the person you love’. We’ll look at Pindar who’s spinning public relations
for the new world order of tyrants and local aristocracies, competing against one another
at the first Pan-Hellenic athletic venues, so the big festivals like the Nemean and the
Olympian Games and Pindar is the guy writing the victory songs, running the public relations
campaign. We’ll look at how Elegy, the metre of sex and death and the symposium of drinking
together and saying ‘you’re my best mate’, shades into Iambus, the voice of the outsider,
of the critic, the scold, the guy who says what no-one else is brave enough to mention.
And we’ll see through studying these authors how we move from a world of heroes and war
through to a world of committees, how the Greeks get civilised, how man becomes a political
animal, as Aristotle said, by which he just means humans are this weird species that build
these nests called cities, the polis. On the Roman side we’ll study the age of
Cicero where we’ll drop you into one of the most exciting times in human history,
the dying days of the old Republic of Rome and of course they didn’t know it was the
dying days, they just thought it was a bit busy that year. The focus will be through
Cicero because he practically writes the whole thing. We’re almost entirely dependent on
Cicero for what happened in the late Republic because he never shuts up. But we’ll also
look at, for instance, Catullus who’s bringing in all those weird Greek ideas about love
and kicking back and actually not being a terribly good Roman and getting laid and being
rude and having leisure and all those other things that a good Roman boy isn’t supposed
to do. We’ll look Lucretius. Did you know that we live in a universe made of atoms?
It freaks them out! It’s actually true as well but Lucretius was breaking the news to
a Roman readership that actually the universe did not have a divine plan, that there wasn’t
some supreme God up there, arbitrating justice and punishing the naughty, that when you died
that was it so you might as well. And here’s the clincher, ‘have a nice time’. Shocking
news to career driven Romans of the late Republic. You’re seeing me right now, according to
Lucretius, because of atoms. You’re hearing me right now because of atoms. The universe
is chaos. The Gods, if they’re around, don’t really care. They themselves are off partying,
having a nice time, let’s do that and you can imagine how shocking this was to an aristocracy
reared on duty and competition and ambition. Here are some examples of things we’ve been
running for the second year that are the choices you might make. These are options which are
largely taught through lectures which can be quite interactive and quite fun, but always
have small group seminars in support of them where you get to try out your own ideas in
a more active way. Those are often run by postgraduate teaching assistants who are less
scary than us because they’re less far along the same journey that all of you actually
are embarking on now. So you can see that these optional modules run the gamut of interest
from Ancient Near Eastern civilisation – you can do the language if you want, it’s all
that chicken scratch form stuff, a bit scary – through Egypt, through Greece, through
Rome, to what comes after. Athenian Drama is now there as an option. It used to be a
core but it’s so labour intensive to teach that it was killing the guy doing it, but
Athenian Drama is actually one of the jewels in our crown. That’s a module where we look
at the texts of Athenian tragedy and comedy and indeed satire, not as literature but as
performance texts; the scripts to be worked with practically and figure out how would
you update those for the modern age? How would you actually stage this stuff now in ways
that make sense in a world where the theatre isn’t around, where we don’t believe that
there are lots of Gods up there pulling the strings, where we don’t believe in ancestral
curses, where we don’t expect Zeus to appear in a crane at the end and say ‘oi you, stop
that! You, found a cult’, as happens so often at the end of Euripedes plays. How do
you do that? How do you work with a chorus? We don’t have a theatre where in between
acts a bunch of strapping young men come in and dance about and sing at us and tell us
what we ought to think, usually. How do you deal with that? There are practical workshop
elements that help you figure that out and come up with your own theories. Here are some examples of second year seminars.
Seminars, remember, are very much small groups, active learning, getting together round a
big table, thrashing out what the evidence is trying to tell us. You can see again there’s
a range of stuff from the Ancient Near East, right through Greece, Rome, Egypt, into Byzantium.
There’s a range of approaches – the literary, the historical, the archaeological. Lucian
is one I taught the other year to a bunch of second years who’d never heard of him.
He’s this 2nd Century, funny Syrian Greek author who invents in our terms ‘the chat
show’ and investigative journalism and sitcom and science fiction. Part of the seminar was
inspired by my curiosity which is led by my current active research – I’m writing
the book – on why none of you have heard of him probably. Has anyone heard of Lucian?
No, none of the students who’d signed up had either, they just thought it sounded fun.
We have a big module fair at the end of the year and they get to go around and pick and
ask questions, and they had a great time. But that’s an example of how our research
is actively research-led and I’ll be thanking that bunch of students in the acknowledgements
to the book when that comes out. In your third year you’re completing that
transition to active learning, to being in charge of it, to thinking ha, Nisbett, what
does he know? And if we can produce people who don’t need us anymore and can just go
forth and be bold and do whatever, then we have won. So you have no core elements in
your final year. No modules you must do, except if you’re doing Linguistics Classics, Q800,
you have to keep on doing the Greek and Latin because otherwise it wouldn’t be an old-fashioned
Classics degree. And you must do a dissertation, but the dissertation can be on anything you
want. Provided you can convince an academic that it is an academic topic, you can do anything.
And that’s terrifying but also really liberating. The highest scoring dissertation this year
for instance – which won a prize – was on Ancient Meter, which is terrifying. I second
marked it and I could barely understand it because I can’t do that stuff worth a damn,
but it was clear it was the most astonishing dissertation in years and it got a really
high mark and that student got a really high First as a result and that was a very old
school discipline heavy technical dissertation. The highest scoring dissertation I’ve ever
supervised myself was on representations of the Ancient Roman monuments in the video game
‘Assassins Creed Brotherhood’, for anyone who’s played that. This student got 90%
– God doesn’t get 90 – because it was thorough and it was theorised and she’d
actually done the research on why do they show these monuments in their version of Renaissance
Rome in the way that they do? Is it what it was like in Renaissance Rome? Is it what it
was like in Antiquity? Is it what it’s like now? How did they do the research? Why did
they make the choices to show Roman monuments in that way and to feature them in the game
play in that way? And it was just astonishing and I’m still occasionally nagging her to
publish it. So your dissertation really can be anything that you can argue is academic
and it can be where you bring together, you know, your day job of being a Classicist and
all that geek stuff if you want. You can really bring your own interest to bear. A lot of
people get ideas out of really incredible stuff they’ve found when doing the study
tour, or something that’s really piqued their interest in a second year seminar, or
in a second year module and they get into it that way. Again, you have options you can choose. These
are assessed either by big essays in the first semester or by exams if it’s after Christmas.
Here are some of the options we’ve run recently. This is all stuff that’s run in the last
year or so. Again, I should emphasise we make no guarantees that particular things will
be available three years from now because new people come in, new hires are made, new
ideas develop, new evidence is found. Our research evolves but you can see again we’ve
got a range of stuff here across Greek and Roman Literature, Mythology, the reception
of Classical Antiquity, including within Antiquity, so Egyptian Mysteries, the Gods of Egypt – not
in Egypt but in Greece and Rome. You go to Pompeii, there’s a temple of Isis. What
are they doing worshipping Isis in Pompeii? And this module will let you find out how. Here again are some recent third year seminars.
Not everyone knows that the Ancient World wrote and read and enjoyed novels, but you
can read them here. But you can also see that we’re studying the effects of the Ancient
past on the modern world – Ancient Greece and Modern Culture – on how we carry on
making up the past in the present and why we keep on doing that. Another one to draw
attention, Egyptian Blue, that’s working with a collection of phials. That is blue
paste artefacts from sites in Egypt that we curate on a campus ten minutes down the road
and the students are building museum displays and they’re explaining how they would curate
this material and present it to an audience and how they would use it to tell stories
about the ancient past. So, once you’ve done all this, once you
become this terrifying genius, what will you do next? You’re probably not going to open
a Classics shop. A minority will go on, perhaps, to do a further degree. You could do an MA
or a Master’s by research here or elsewhere. Some people might even go on to do their PhD
which is certainly an education, if only in baring yourself and motivating yourself through
three years of getting really, really, really good at something. But what we aim to do by
the end of those three years is develop people who are capable of rigour but also of flexibility,
of working around the gaps in the evidence, the missing pieces in the puzzle, and who
can approach problems and define approaches for them themselves and troubleshoot their
own work and figure out what works, and those are skills that adapt you to an uncertain
and changing world in which you’re probably not going to have a career where you sign
on at the desk the day after graduation and then 50 years from then they give you a gold
watch and send you home. The world doesn’t work that way anymore. We’re living in very
uncertain times and Classicists are very useful people to have around in uncertain times.
Wind back to the Second World Ward, Classics departments were very quiet because half of
them were at Bletchley Park, cracking the German codes, and the ones that weren’t
were in London working in military intelligence, trying to build patterns out of incomplete
data, trying to construct a theory that explained it all. If aliens ever come, there will be
Classicists on the team. Seriously. People go on to do the sorts of careers you’d expect
to do with a good Humanities degree because this is a very good – some would say the
best – Humanities degree, and so people go into Arts, they go into Law, they go into
Civil Service, they go into NGOs, they go into Theatre or Journalism or Publishing or
the Performing sector. They go and do excellent stuff. Classics just trains you to be good
at things, it gives you skills for living. It means you will never be bored and I think
that is really the best reason for studying it.

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