Pagina:Dialogues of Roman Life.djvu/6

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Haec pagina emendata et bis lecta est

In 1907 the Board of Education issued a circular on the Teaching of Latin in Secondary Schools (Circular 574). It was intended to apply to the great number of schools in which no Greek is taught, but the Latin course extends over about four years, between the ages of twelve and sixteen. One of the aims of the instruction is stated to be, ‘to convey … as much knowledge as can be obtained of the history and life of Rome, especially during the century preceding and the century following the beginning of the Christian era.’ In the books in common use, such as Caesar and Livy, something may be learnt of the history of Rome, but for gaining any knowledge of the social life, private or public, there exists to-day hardly any convenient apparatus. A boy can go through his Latin course without acquiring the faintest notion of how Romans lived in town or country, of the kind of sights that were to be seen in a ramble through Rome or along the Appian Way. Of school life, of games, of dress, of the interior of a Roman house, of a seaside resort, the ordinary boy leaving school knows practically nothing. And yet these are just the things that would naturally interest him. The reason, of course, is that there is extant no convenient account of such matters written by any Roman author in language simple enough for our purposes. It remained, therefore, to make such an account, and this I have attempted to do. This explains the matter of this little volume.

Then as to the form: the reason for putting the information into dialogue shape is the sameinterest. The appeal of conversation must necessarily be more direct, simple, and lively than that of unbroken narra-