By C. Hagerman
Read Online or Download Britain's Imperial Muse: The Classics, Imperialism, and the Indian Empire, 1784-1914 PDF
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Extra info for Britain's Imperial Muse: The Classics, Imperialism, and the Indian Empire, 1784-1914
Their honest expectations with respect to their audience’s classical knowledge deserve respect. 159 This is not to say that everyone who had a classical education acquired a deep and thorough understanding of or love for Greek and Latin, much less classical antiquity. Classical education had a wide range of outcomes, which depended on a host of personal, institutional, and historical factors. 161 But the centrality of classical discourse to elite culture, not to mention the fallacy of conflating classical education with the grammar-grind, should highlight the problem with such a lopsided conclusion.
144 Questions from the ‘Greats’ (classical honours) school at Oxford highlight the importance of the historical element: ‘Describe the relations of Rome with Numidia at different periods of History’. e. the non-linguistic portion of an exam. ’ If Bristed is to be trusted the tutors themselves had mastered this historical and cultural material during the course of their studies, and took seriously their responsibility to convey it to students. 146 Significantly, from the perspective of the Indian Empire, the examination papers set at Haileybury and later for the ICS open competition are equally telling when it comes to the historical and cultural dimension of allegedly grammar-based classical education.
I think it is safe to say that most of those just named would agree that the understandings of classical antiquity manifest in classical discourse emerged from a complex and variable interaction of ancient evidence, existing scholarship, personal experiences, and personal inclinations. All but the most naive of 19th-century commentators on antiquity had to make choices. They chose whether to accept, reject, or qualify the statements of ancient authors. They weighed the relative merits of inconsistent or biased ancient testimony and of equally inconsistent and biased modern authorities.