10 / CHRONICLESnVIEWSnTHE LATIN INVASIONS OF ENGLISHnby E. Christian Kopffn”When all is said and done, soniething sticks innthe Barbarians.”n—Rudyard KiplingnWe need a practical education, an education that willnbe valid in the unforeseen and unforeseeable future.nThere are many possible forms, but all must includenmathematics and Latin. Of the 100 most commonly usednwords in English, only 10 or so come from Latin. Of allnEnglish words, however—over a million in the latestndictionaries—more than half are of Latin origin and thosenof Greek origin take up most of what remains. For a jobnwhere you need to use only the most commonly usednwords, Latin is unnecessary. Those who are planning onncareers in law, medicine, or the other professions will find itnuseful.nHow did such a situation, at first sight a rather unnaturalnone, come about? It is a story of some interest, one I like toncall the Latin Invasions of English. The island of England,nnnyou see, was Britain and spoke Latin long before it evernheard the voices of the Germanic ancestors of modernnEnglish. Julius Caesar tried to invade Britain twice in then50’s of the last century B.C. The account in his Commentariesnis so brilliant that one hardly notices that twoninvasions followed by two retreats represent defeat, notnvictory. It was a 100 years before another Roman tried tonconquer Britain, and then it was the Emperor Claudius.nClaudius was not an impressive figure. He limped when henwalked, he drooled when he talked, and, worst of all, henwas an ancient historian, author of a history of thenEtruscans. Despite the temporary support of the PraetoriannGuard, his administration seemed doomed. Then he had angreat idea.nOne reason to study ancient history is to learn lessons forntoday. If you, reader, are ever a president or prime ministernwhose popularity is sinking in the polls, do what Claudiusndid: invade and conquer a small island. Claudius did notnknow of the Falklands or Grenada, but he had heard ofnBritain from the books of his ancestor Julius Caesar. Thencampaign was brilliantly orchestrated. The king whosenname survives in our literature as Shakespeare’s Cymbelinenhad just died, and his sons were fighting over the succession.nThe Romans took advantage of the situation to land innBritain and win some skirmishes. Claudius showed up inntime to take credit for the major victory and returned tonRome as conquering hero, held a triumph, and named hisnson Britannicus. He never had to fear lack of popularitynagain.nRoman Britain was a province, but a wealthy and happynone. Roman villas spread throughout the land and old citiesnprospered while new ones, such as Londinium, sprang up.nThe future emperor Constantine, who was to begin to leadnthe Roman Empire to Christianity, spent much of hisnyouth there.nThe Roman Empire, however, eventually fell on hardndays. Constantine’s reforms were to lead to a long life fornpart of the Empire, until 1453 in the East, but some limbsnhad to be chopped away to save the body. One of thosenlimbs was Britain. In the early fifth century A.D., Romanntroops were withdrawn. In a generation German tribesnE. Christian Kopff is professor of classics at the Universitynof Colorado (on leave in Rome) and an editor of ClassicalnJournal.n