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KNOXVILLE — Anyone who thinks Latin is for the Romans and they’re all dead should visit the University of Tennessee-Knoxville Nov. 9.

That’s when 550 students of the language will gather for the annual Latin Day activities sponsored by the UT classics department.

“This is the largest Latin Day we’ve ever had,” said Dr. Susan Martin, head of the department. “We’ll have students from 18 middle and high schools from Nashville eastward.”

Students will tour the McClung Museum’s Roman glass exhibit which includes more than 200 glass items illustrating the use of glass in Roman society.

The day also includes presentations on Roman meals, the Latin and Greek roots of English words, the persecution of Christians in ancient Rome and how to prepare for the UT-Knoxville Latin placement exam.

Martin said there is no shortage of Latin students and the region’s public schools are having an increasingly hard time finding people to teach the language.

“The most pressing issue currently is training teachers to meet the shortage,” she said. “Latin Day is our biggest recruiting tool and outreach to students who might one day teach it.”

The classics department also teaches ancient Greek and Greek and Roman mythology. The department has been offering Latin Day activities for 18 years.