On ancient tombs and learning Latin
Also, Mary Beard is writing about "Is Latin too hard?"
As a language itself, it's definitely not. I mean, anybody in the ancient world could learn Latin. But it's also true that we deal with "higher" literature. Personally, I just think it's a trade-off of focusing on lit rather than conversation. Coming up with the right words quickly to hold a conversation is a pretty difficult skill as well. And that is the focus of most modern languages. We skip that or don't worry about it as much in Latin, which is why we have time to focus on reading and interpreting literature.
More of my thoughts are in the comments to that post, though.
Although what I didn't say--and probably should have said--is that we've been teaching school children (boys, mostly) Latin for centuries. Some were naturally the brighter ones, and some weren't as able with languages. But they could learn the language and its literature (despite not being native speakers, for the most part, after the Roman Empire). There is really no good reason why any student today can't learn the language and literature of Latin if given the opportunity.
It really is strange that in this age of education for everyone we should be lowering standards. I thought the idea was to show that, regardless of class, the rest of us are just as capable as the "elite." As a whole, the wealthy "elite" aren't any more intellectually capable than anyone else. So why aren't we expecting the same standards in education as we used to expect of children of the elite??