Oxford Should Keep Homer and Virgil on the Syllabus

Achilles Removing Patroclus’ Body From the Battle, c. 1547, by Léon Davent. (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
A proposal to drop the epic poets is an indicator of a civilization that is losing its way.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T he Oxford Student, the largest student newspaper of the nearly thousand-year-old teaching institution, reported in mid-February that the classics faculty has recommended that Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid be removed from the literae humaniores, an undergraduate program in ancient literature, history, and philosophy. The program has been criticized because of the difference in scores between male and female students, as well as because of differences in how much previous training its students have had in classical languages. This is an absurd standard. What will be taught if equality of grades between the sexes becomes the standard of choosing course material?

Seth Cropsey is a senior fellow at Hudson Institute and director of Hudson’s Center for American Seapower. He served as a naval officer and as deputy undersecretary of the Navy in the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations.

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