A Classics Degree for Politics?

Akela

sum
Staff member
While we are on the subject of the London mayor, Boris Johnson, I found another article, speaking of his Classics degree.

One quote particularly got my attention:
Boris Johnson's father Stanley summed it up in a newspaper interview at the weekend, saying: "In the days when Britain ruled more than a quarter of the world, a classical education was considered more than adequate training for the job of handling populations certainly as large and diverse as London's."
I understand that this is the person's-in-question father speaking, but is this... true?

How can it be?

Perhaps what he referred to was that back then a Classics degree would have only been gotten by someone of an illustrious family. Such a person would have received all the necessary practical training in politics from his immediate family.

In this case, a Classics degree would have separated the person from the common folk, while the practical aspect of governing would be gotten elsewhere.

Is this what is meant (between the lines) here?
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
Maro dixit:
tu regere imperio populos, Romane, memento
(hae tibi erunt artes), pacique imponere morem,
parcere subiectis et debellare superbos.
 

Labienus

Civis Illustris
What I believe he means, Akela, is that, in pre-twentieth century Britain at least, studying the Classics could only occur at Oxford and Cambridge. Originally, studying the Classics at these institutions included what we now have as English Literature degrees, Politics degrees, History degrees, and others. They were hugely encompassing and considered the only intellectual degree aside from different core subjects; e.g., mathematics and the sciences.

Now, these different areas are degrees in their own right whereas, up to one hundred years ago, taking an 'English Literature' degree, for instance, would be laughable.

I think he was alluding to this; how indepth the original Classics degree used to be.
 

AZA

New Member
In modern Britain a Classics degree from Oxford (baaaaad) or Cambridge :))) is still considered as a highly valuable degree - I mean I am doing Classics at Cambridge, but have the intention of doing Law after it - and then maybe into politics. Classics as a discipline be considered good allround education, giving you skills in research, argumentation, and at those universities there be a reputation for thinking beyond the obvious.
 

Labienus

Civis Illustris
I just graduated with Classics from Cambridge... and am currently studying law ;)

Classics is still a good degree of course, but not the same as it used to be.
 

AZA

New Member
Labienus dixit:
I just graduate with Classics from Cambridge... and am currently studying law ;) It's a good degree of course, but not the same as it used to be.
Nice - which college?
 

AZA

New Member
Labienus dixit:
St. John's. However, took John Henderson from Kings for my tutor in my final year.

Oh really that's a coincidence, I'm at King's now, so have a fair few Supervisions with John.
 

Labienus

Civis Illustris
I'm a huge fan of him in particular and I love Kings. Especially the 'King's Affair'.

Ahem. Anyway, we should probably stop derailing this thread. ;)
 

AZA

New Member
Labienus dixit:
I'm a huge fan of him in particular and I love Kings. Especially the 'King's Affair'.

Ahem. Anyway, we should probably stop derailing this thread. ;)

Yes lol, I agree that Classics might have lost its lustre so to speak but that is more a comment on the fact that is less well taught in schools today - in the past they would have been fluent in latin and greek by the time they got to Cambridge.
 

tim05000

Member
To be a politician you don't need ANY particular degree, so a nutritionist diploma or a classics degree hold the same value.

I worked briefly in a politician's office and the person who got the permanent job had an enormous ego, supreme confidence, articulate speech and had good social skills. If you have these qualities you can do well as a ruler.
 

Etaoin Shrdlu

μεσσηγυδορποχέστης
Or badly. The skills get you into the position; what you do with them is another matter.

Boris Johnson, who apparently inspired the thread, has gone on to screw up his country irredeemably by miscalculating a game he was playing against Cameron. The duplicitous little shit wasn't even a committed eurosceptic: until the point at which he decided that it was in his interest to throw his hat into the Leave ring, he dithered enough to have had two speeches ready. The one in which he would have argued for Remain praised Cameron for winning concessions from Brussels like Hercules bringing back Eurydice from the dead. So it looks as though all that classical education was rather wasted.
 

Terry S.

Quaestor
Staff member
Is there such a thing as a degree in Manipulatory Psychology?
 

Iohannes Aurum

Technicus Auxiliarius
Hercules did not attempt to bring Eurydice back. That was Orpheus.
 
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