the observer Sat 13 September 2008
Ave! Every year, the A-Level and GCSE results season brings with it the usual newspaper conjectures about standards, and the decline of Latin - the decline of declensions - is usually good for a carping letter or two. While Harry Mount's engaging little Latin primer isn't likely to be much help to those for whom hic, haec, hoc is the result of a night in the pub, it will succeed in reminding the 'Latin lovers' of its subtitle just how elegant and versatile the language is. Cannily bringing in the usual jokey Latinist suspects, from Willans and Searle's Molesworth to John Cleese's irate centurion-cum-schoolmaster in The Life of Brian, Mount makes a good case for knowing a little Latin. After all - as Ovid would tell you - 'Rident stolidi verba Latina!'