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Emily Gowers

Emily Gowers study of food in Latin literature, The Loaded Table, won the 1994 Premio Langhe Ceretto.

Fetishes

Emily Gowers, 8 June 1995

Latin has always suffered from being in the shadow of its more glamorous Greek cousin. It is rarely allowed to stay up late for Dionysiac frenzies, sympotic sensuality or the frenetic cut and thrust of argument; instead, it has languished in the schoolroom, surrounded in popular mythology by a stuffy atmosphere of grammar, empire and conservative values. At one time its place in the curriculum was secure, but there was always a feeling that Latin literature was only a pale imitation of the original Greek. Over the course of a century, however, classics as a whole has lost ground; the decline of Latin has accelerated rapidly in the last generation, and Greek has disappeared from schools almost completely. Latinists today are grateful for a position even at the margins of education, and are obliged to spend increasing amounts of time justifying their existence and making their subject look more appealing.

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