Classical tragedy

August 16, 2002

Queen's University of Belfast has decided to end Greek, Latin and classical studies' teaching on the grounds of low enrolment after a breathtakingly short two weeks of consultations. This, the only department targeted for closure, scored 23 out of 24 in the teaching quality assessment and does research judged of national importance.

The plan to support ancient history and Byzantine studies, while ending the teaching of the languages and literatures that formed those societies - and our own - lacks intellectual coherence. The study of classics has proved resilient and popular. Queen's is the only place in Northern Ireland where this increasingly popular and fundamental subject can be studied. We ask, therefore, for this hasty decision to be reconsidered.

Richard Janko
University of London

Alan Bowman
Roman Society

Christopher Carey
RAE panel in classics

Gillian Clark
Council of University Classical Departments

Robert Fowler
Classical Association

Jasper Griffin and Fergus Millar
University of Oxford

George Huxley
Trinity College Dublin

Christopher Rowe and Robin Osborne
Hellenic Society

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