The importance of translations at universities of ancient languages

Translations of ancient languages have been an integral part of university education for centuries. These languages, such as Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, are the foundation of Western literature, history, philosophy, and religion. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of translations at universities of ancient languages.

First and foremost, translations of ancient languages provide access to primary sources of knowledge. Many important texts that have shaped Western thought and culture were originally written in ancient languages. Without translations, these texts would remain inaccessible to most students and scholars. Translations allow us to read and analyze the works of authors such as Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Virgil, and Augustine, among many others. By studying these texts in translation, we gain insight into the beliefs, values, and intellectual traditions of the ancient world.

Moreover, translations of ancient languages promote linguistic and cultural diversity. Learning a foreign language is not only a practical skill, but it also expands one's worldview and understanding of other cultures. Studying ancient languages can help students develop a deeper appreciation for the linguistic and cultural heritage of Western civilization. Additionally, the study of ancient languages can foster interdisciplinary approaches to learning, as students can connect language and literature with history, philosophy, and religious studies.

Translations of ancient languages, such as Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit, may seem like a purely academic pursuit. However, they have practical applications in modern life as well.

One area where ancient language translations are useful is in law. Many legal terms and phrases have their roots in Latin, and a solid understanding of Latin can be helpful in legal writing and interpretation. For example, the phrase "habeas corpus," which means "you may have the body," is a Latin term that is still used in modern legal systems to refer to the right of a person to challenge their detention in court.

Another area where ancient language translations are useful is in medicine. Many medical terms have their roots in Greek and Latin, and a basic understanding of these languages can be helpful for medical students and professionals. For example, the term "cardiovascular" comes from the Latin words "cardia" (heart) and "vascular" (blood vessels), and refers to the system of the heart and blood vessels.

Translations of ancient languages can also be helpful in the study of literature and philosophy. Many of the great works of literature and philosophy were written in ancient languages, and reading them in the original language can give a deeper understanding of the text. For example, reading Plato's "Republic" in the original Greek can give insight into the nuances of his ideas about justice and the ideal state.

Finally, translations of ancient languages can be helpful in the study of history and archaeology. Many historical documents and inscriptions are written in ancient languages, and understanding these texts can be crucial for understanding the past. For example, the Rosetta Stone, which was written in three different scripts including ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, helped scholars decipher the hieroglyphic script and unlock the secrets of ancient Egyptian civilization.