Noble and Greenough School is a rigorous academic community dedicated to inspiring leadership for the public good. Through mentoring relationships, we motivate students to achieve their highest potential and to lead lives characterized by service to others.

Classical Languages

Curriculum, General Classroom, People, Academics

The Classics, the study of the history and languages of ancient Greece and Rome, have long been the cornerstone of education. The expansion of vocabulary and the study of both simple and complex grammatical structures develop students’ core knowledge of and proficiency with language. As students advance through the curriculum, close examination of seminal texts brings to life the cultural richness of the past and broadens our understanding of the modern world. Moreover, the discipline, logic, and insight necessary to master classical languages reinforce and further the lifelong skill of precise analysis.

Latin I | Full Year
Full Credit
Open to: Classes I, II, III, IV and V
Prerequisites: None

Students learn all the fundamentals of Latin grammar and acquire a basic Latin vocabulary as they move steadily through Book I of the Ecce Romani textbook series. Although the amount of material covered in the class requires a brisk pace, time is set aside for the study of the culture, religion, and everyday life of the Romans.

Latin II | Full Year
Full Credit
Open to: Classes I, II, III, IV
Prerequisites: Class V Latin, Latin I or their equivalents

Latin II focuses on the Ecce Romani series through Book II. Using thematic readings, students encounter advanced grammatical concepts, including participles, indirect discourse, and the uses of the subjunctive. The setting of the readings is first-century Rome. Cultural topics range from the baths and the Colosseum to crime and education.


Latin III | Full Year
Full Credit
Open to: Classes I, II, III, IV
Prerequisites: Latin II

This intensive, literature-based course is aimed at strengthening and furthering students’ understanding of grammar and syntax while also developing their ability to read Latin literature. Students will begin by focusing on the iconic prose stylist, Cicero, including his famous orations against the notorious conspirator, Catiline. In addition, students will read selections in prose and poetry from various other authors.

This course completes the language requirement for graduation.

Latin IV/V-Poetry | Full Year
Full Credit
Open to: Classes I, II, III
Prerequisites: Latin III

Students in this course will continue to strengthen their understanding of grammar and syntax and will further expand their vocabulary as they become more proficient readers of Latin. Offered every other year, the course is devoted entirely to Vergil’s timeless epic, the Aeneid. Here, students will work their way through the most memorable selections of the work, engaging in questions of duty, love, war, and leadership.

Latin IV Honors | Full Year
Full Credit
Open to: Classes I, II, III, IV
Prerequisites: Latin III Honors and permission of the department

In this fast-paced and intensive course, students will continue to hone their reading and translating skills with Latin literature through encounters with Ovid's poetry and Caesar's prose. Both writers model the best that Latin poetry and prose have to offer, and the fascinating Roman history of the late republican and early imperial periods provides a keystone for this course. In addition, students will gain an appreciation of both poetic and rhetorical style. Assignments will include a thorough grammatical review and sight readings, as well as vocabulary and reading quizzes to facilitate students' increasing comfort with the Latin language. This course prepares students for the Advanced Placement (AP) curriculum.

Advanced Placement (AP) Latin V | Full Year
Full Credit
Open to: Classes I, II
Prerequisites: Latin IV H and permission of the Department

This class concentrates on reading the work of two masters of Latin literature, Caesar and Vergil. Emphasis is placed on reading fluency and the appreciation of the writing styles of both authors. Further, the course will cover the significance of Caesar and Vergil in the Late Republic and Augustan Rome. Students will develop the ability to consider both linguistic detail and critical interpretation in class discussion, reading extensively from Caesar’s Gallic Wars, and from Books I, II, IV, and VI of Vergil’s Aeneid. Students in good standing are encouraged to take the Advanced Placement Examination.

History of Ancient Greece: Athens and Sparta - Wisdom, Drama, and War | Fall Only
Full Credit
Open to: Classes I, II

This is the story of two fifth century BCE city-states that emerged as forces in their world of the Mediterranean, developing unique innovations and influencing our own world today. Athens was an intellectual hotbed, creating history, philosophy, drama, new art forms, and democracy. Sparta was its conservative, pragmatic opposite, forming an egalitarian state with a war-machine like no other. Starting with the heroic stands against the Persians and continuing through the tragedy that was the Peloponnesian War, students will investigate how the Athenians and Spartans defined themselves, first against the “other,” then against one another. Examining the art and architecture of this period and reading authors such as Herodotus, Thucydides, and Sophocles in translation, we will wrestle with the questions of their day—questions such as the following: What is true happiness? What is the best form of government? What happens when religion and state come into conflict? These questions still resonate as loudly today as they did 2500 years ago.

History of Ancient Rome: City to Empire - Rise, Riches, and Ruins | Spring Only
Full Credit
Open to: Classes I, II

This course begins by examining the history and legends of early Rome and then charts the growth of this city-state into a Mediterranean Empire. At its height, the Roman Empire mixed sophistication with brutality and had the uncanny capacity to lurch abruptly from civilization and progress to terror, tyranny, and greed. Through close readings of Livy and Suetonius and an examination of the archaeological evidence from Pompeii, we will endeavor to uncover the stories of Romans, from powerful emperors and decadent aristocrats to fierce gladiators, ambitious freedmen, and other everyday citizens. Questions of imperialism, dictatorship, class, private and public life, and the concept of being “Roman” in an increasingly multicultural population will guide our study of this endlessly fascinating and ever–enduring city.

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