Oxford could remove Homer and Virgil from the compulsory Classics syllabus as part of a diversity drive, it has emerged, as reported by The Telegraph.
Homer’s epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey, are considered central works of ancient Greek literature, while Virgil’s Aeneid is one of the most revered poems in Latin literature.
But under plans being considered by the Classics faculty, these papers could be removed from the Mods syllabus altogether in a bid to end the disparity between those who took Latin and Greek A-levels and those who did not.
But Oxford’s talk about kicking Homer and Virgil into the upper echelons of their degree suggests levelling down not up. If these vital poets are kept the private knowledge of private-school pupils in the first years of the degree, and do not form the compulsory part of the degree they fundamentally underpin, they become more, not less, the exclusive privilege of a small cadre of society. The poets are difficult, but the students are bright; the texts are long, but their contents essential.The Spectator, 20 February 2020