Welcome to the audio tour through our historic town Otterndorf. 9th grade students from the local school Gymnasium Otterndorf have translated and recorded the English version of the tour for you.
Discismus linguam Latinam: amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant...
Latin, which was the old Romans’ language, connected Western Europe for many centuries because the clergy and all scholars wrote their papers in Latin and used it to communicate. This way, Western Europe formed a linguistic area in which a scholar from Norway could easily communicate with his colleagues from France or Italy and official documents drawn up in Hamburg could be read in Paris or Rome. Every Western European country could communicate without complications which made Latin a cultural technique and a fundament for further educational.
A Roman document from 1445 verifies a Latin school here in Otterndorf but the school probably existed years before the document was dated. This leads to the conclusion that the town´s people were prospering in the 15th century, even well enough to ensure the opportunity to study later on for the next generations and therefore bring wealth to their town.
The Latin school was located in this large half-timbered house until 1891. The house´s first floor was built in 1614, the second floor in 1826 due to the fact that the space for the school wasn´t big enough any more. Some people even say that this addition to the house was also a way to save taxes, as the property tax depended on the floor space of the houses.
Johann Heinrich Voß was one of the most important people for this school while he was its principal from 1778 till 1782. He brought popularity to it too since he was and still is a famous poet. He is particularly known for his German translations of Greek epics and Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. The town of Otterndorf even built a museum in his old house that is located in the street named after him in his honors.