Middle School
MS Curriculum


The Classics Department challenges students to read and critically engage with works of Latin and Ancient Greek in the original languages, to immerse themselves in the cultures of Greece, Rome, and the ancient Mediterranean (including myth, literature, history, and art), and to explore interdisciplinary connections between the ancient and modern worlds.
iuncti iuvamus

At Hackley our Latin motto iuncti iuvamus – “United we help one another” – drives our approach to Classics within and beyond the classroom.  We purposefully teach ancient languages in a way that emphasizes collaboration and intellectual community. Technological tools are often used to support learning collaboratively, from Quizlet and Gimkit to tools for advanced lexical analysis and research. The department also provides opportunities for students to connect with the broader Classics community beyond the Hilltop, e.g. by engaging in nationally recognized academic contests, by inviting visiting speakers to campus and more.  

Core Skills

Since Latin and Greek significantly shaped English and other widely spoken modern languages, students develop essential skills in language, close reading, and critical analysis through their study of Classics. In our entry-level Latin courses, students immediately begin to see their vocabulary increase (both English and Latin) as they explore word origins, prefixes, and suffixes. In our intermediate and advanced courses, students not only develop proficiency and speed in comprehending unadapted ancient texts, but also the ability to analyze them critically. As students study art and artifacts from the ancient world or participate in our very own archaeological dig site on campus, they also learn how to evaluate different kinds of evidence.  

Tradition and Innovation

Classics has a long and distinguished tradition at Hackley. Our first head of school, Theodore C. Williams published translations of Tibullus’ Elegies and Vergil’s Aeneid. Even as we have innovated over the years, we continue to support a large and thriving community of Classics students today. Many of our students choose to continue their studies well beyond the school’s language requirement, whether by studying Greek in their junior or senior year, designing an independent study with a faculty member on a topic which interests them, engaging in our student-run Classics club, or continuing to study Classics after Hackley. 

Classics Courses

List of 3 items.

  • Latin 6

    The Middle School Latin curriculum uses the Oxford Latin Course series. Students are introduced to the character Quintus Horatius Flaccus, the poet Horace as a young boy, whose life they will follow throughout the Oxford series. In this way, the history of the Late Republic and Early Empire is presented.

    Students in the first year are introduced to the concepts of inflection, declension, conjugation and dictionary entry, as well as other grammatical constructions. The skill of translation is practiced from Latin into English and from English into Latin. The present tense, the first three declensions and noun/adjective agreement are presented. Students follow Quintus’ early experiences in school, including his introduction to the stories of Homer’s Iliad and Vergil’s Aeneid and to major figures of early Roman history.
  • Latin 7

    A continuation of the previous year, this course traces the life of Quintus as he studies in Rome and eventually Athens, where he encounters the art, architecture and philosophy of Ancient Greece. Students experience the assassination of Julius Caesar and the ensuing civil war through the eyes of Quintus and his friends. Students learn the imperfect, perfect and future tenses, the passive voice, the present participle, the fourth and fifth declensions, comparison of adjectives and adverbs and the relative pronoun. Grammatical constructions are introduced in the reading passages before they are formally drilled in the grammar section, offering students the chance to use intuition in translation.
  • Latin 8

    Latin 8 corresponds to the Upper School Latin II course. Students learn the subjunctive mood and grammatical constructions that employ the subjunctive, such as result clauses, indirect questions and conditions. The ablative absolute, indirect statement and deponent verbs are also introduced. Quintus serves in the army (on the side of Brutus) returns to Italy and ultimately finds his way back to Rome, where he discovers his talent for poetry.

    As Quintus becomes a part of the inner circle of the Emperor Augustus, students begin to read his poetry in its original form, to which they will return in Latin III and IV.