A year ago Joel Splosky asked, Are pointers and recursion the Latin and Greek of Computer Science?
I don't think so. Bragging time: I could read Latin and Ancient Greek at the college level in high school. And my bragging becomes relevant: I think Smalltalk and Lisp (respectively) are the Latin and Ancient Greek of programming.
(The real reason for the bragging isn't to build my ego. It's to give me an excuse for skipping paragraphs and paragraphs of detail. I'm tired from driving to from northern New Mexico to Los Angeles in less than 24 hours, so I want to say just trust me on this.)
If you learn Latin, every European language with the exceptions of German and Icelandic will become much easier to learn -- yes, even English -- and your understanding of these languages will be much, much deeper. If you learn Ancient Greek, your head will explode, and you will never recover.
If you learn Smalltalk, every object-oriented language becomes easier to learn, and your understanding of these languages will deepen. If you learn Lisp, your head will explode, and you will never recover.
Quod erot demonstrandum. (Which was the thing to be shown.)