The text of
Roman Britain, by Edward Conybeare (1903) with map, is at About.com.
An extensive review of Ad Infinitum in the LA Times includes this paragraph:
Ostler completed a doctorate in linguistics under Noam Chomsky at MIT.
He now heads a foundation that encourages the persistence of small
languages and is the author of a well-regarded work for lay readers,
“Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World.” In “Ad
Infinitum,” he has produced a book that's often informative and
fascinating, sometimes wearyingly discursive and, occasionally, just
The reviewer complains that Ostler treats Latin as a dead language when to his son it is all very lively. Which Latin course are they using, do you suppose?:
He's a freshman at a large and well-regarded school for boys. As a
native Angeleno, he grew up speaking both English and Spanish, and I
was interested and a little surprised that he and so many of his
classmates elected Latin as their foreign language. I was still more
surprised by how far Latin instruction has come from the days when it
all began with a Cassell's dictionary and a copy of Caesar's “Gallic
Wars” — Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres.
Today's beginning Latinist gets a thoroughly modern, handsomely
illustrated textbook built around the lives of teenage Romans living in
adjacent country villas. Students translate incidents from their
protagonists' daily lives and study vocabulary and grammar lists drawn
from each chapter's main anecdote — sort of a classical soap opera.
It's all very up-to-date and thoroughly engaging, which probably is why
my son and many of his classmates devote a couple of after-school hours
each week to their high school's Latin club and recently spent a
Saturday hosting similar groups for a day's worth of Latinate
I recount this bit of homey personal experience only because the
spontaneity and vibrancy with which my son and his friends are pursuing
their Latin stands in such contrast to the elegiac tone of Nicholas
Ostler's “Ad Infinitum: A Biography of Latin.”
This, from Orange County Weekly, caught my eye me at first by its peddling of false/misleading stereotypes about the Romans. But then I thought that it might even be an effective way of bringing people to the exhibition. What do you think?
‘Imperial Rome: Discovering the Ancient Civilization’
So, yeah, we know all about the vomitoriums, boy orgies and lion feedings, but what have the ancient Romans done for us lately?
Muzeo in Anaheim is exhibiting more than 450 Imperial Roman artifacts,
offering a glimpse into that era’s culture, religion and people. The
exhibit is broken down into four categories—private life, religion,
public life, and Rome and the empire—with each section showcasing the
jewelry, clothing, bronze artifacts, coins and portraits that represent
life in the Roman Empire.
It may (or may not) be as
interesting as orgies and incest and arson, but the Muzeo in Anaheim is
the only place on the West Coast—and one of three locations in the
entire U.S.—displaying these treasures.
The exhibit runs
through Jan. 7; after that, all the goodies will be returned to museums
in Italy. And then all we’ll be left with is the orgies and incest and
“Imperial Rome: Discovering the Ancient Civilization” at the Muzeo in Anaheim, 241 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim (714) 956-8933; www.muzeo.org/home.php. Open daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Through Jan. 7. $9.95-$12.95.
The full text of the 1883 book Roman Life in the Days of Cicero, by Alfred J. Church is available at About.com
Here is the opening of chapter 1, A Roman Boy:
in token that he was a true son of the house, was to furnish him with a
first name out of the scanty list (just seventeen) to which his choice
was limited. This naming was done on the eighth day after birth, and was
accompanied with some religious ceremonies, and with a feast to which
kinsfolk were invited. Thus named he was enrolled in some family or
state register. The next care was to protect him from the malignant
influence of the evil eye by hanging round his neck a gilded bulla, a
round plate of metal. (The bulla was of leather if he was not of
gentle birth.) This he wore till he assumed the dress of manhood.
The pictures are not included.
A blog called Tourist in Romania draws attention to a Roman city there:
one of the largest and best-preserved archaeological sites in all of
Romania. Despite its extent of about 150 acres within the walls (about
the same size as ancient Pompeii and Ostia), archaeologists have only
determined key moments in the historical development of the city and to
date less than 5% of the site has been excavated.”
Text from : http://www.porolissum.org/Overview.htm
I visit this objective this year (2007) in august. I highly suggest a visit to this place.
Something else to include with a school trip to Fishbourne, perhaps.
From the Worthing Herald
Getting ready to dig deep to find Roman history
new archaeological dig around the edge of Chichester's Roman baths –
currently buried beneath a temporary car park in Tower Street – is
The work will take place in a narrow strip of land about a metre wide.
comes in advance of construction work on the district council’s
ambitious £6.6m three-storey Roman baths museum, which will expose the
second-century remains beneath the building for permanent display.
The baths were excavated by the late Alec Down, then Chichester’s director of excavations, during the 1970s.
all the area was thoroughly explored and recorded by the experts, apart
from the strip around the border of the site, on the periphery of Mr
Down’s extensive dig.
Archaeologists believe remains in the narrow area could include small sections of Roman sewers.
Trial trenches will be dug in this restricted area, and on the baths site itself.
“The great majority of this site was thoroughly excavated when the baths were exposed,” said one archaeologist.
is always the possibility something exciting may be found in the
borders – this is the case with any dig – but it is highly unlikely it
would be anything so remarkable that plans had to be changed.”
museum building was being designed to protect the Roman baths, and if
there was an unexpected new discovery of some sort, this could be
protected as well.
Under the new scheme, the baths will be visible from outside the museum building through a long window fronting on Tower Street.
It is expected to become a major new attraction for visitors and people living in the Chichester district.
Tom Cotton (whose on-line translations of English classics I commended yesterday) has found a German-language version DVD very good, and in answer to my query has tracked down the English-language version, which is on sale from J-Progs at http://www.j-progs.com/AncRome.html
It's “the ancient city of
Rome in 3D imagery, along with virtual reality reconstructions of some
of its most important buildings, which one can walk or fly through with
360-degree panoramic vision.”
A website devoted to Latin versions of English classics is properly up and running now, and worth a visit.
It is called Phaselus, and is run by Tom Cotton.
There are Latin versions of The Wind in the Willows, A Christmas Carol,
The Prisoner of Zenda and Animal Farm
Here as an example is Dickens' discussion of the phrase 'dead as a doornail'.Senex Marleius sicut clavus ostialis vita caruit.
permortuus videatur. Nisi in similitudine est consilium maiorum, egomet
capularem ex omnibus sordidarum artium clavum mortissimum credere
possim; at ne pereat Patria, scribens sententiam non mutare possum.
Licet igitur mihi vehementer iterare Marleium sicut clavum ostialem
vitae expertem fuisse.
Any teacher wanting a suitable text for the last lesson of this term for the Sixth Form could do worse than to use part of this translation. How about the converted Scrooge's encounter with the urchin on Christmas Day? I'm a sucker for Dickens' final chapters – they always bring tears to my eyes. So try this:
priusquam non auditum clangorem dare coeperunt ut laetari moraretur.
Ding, ding, dong, ding, dong! Dong, dong, ding dong, ding! Ita
Ad fenestram procurrit apertum, et fenestra aperta caput
transmisit. Deerat nebula, deerat caligo; exhilaratus tempestatem vidit
claram serenam lucidam algidam; algida fuit quo plus ipsum sanguen
saltare vellet; diem aureum vidit, caelum splendidum; auras dulces
naribus captavit; ut caelum digito attingeret!
Puer opportune vestitus in cohortem penetraverat, forsitan ut
circumspiceret, et hoc viso, Scrugius “Quo die sumus?” rogavit.
Puer multum confusus 'Ehe?' respondit.
Scrugius 'Quo die sumus,' repetivit, 'mi dulcissime puer?'
Puer 'Hodie,' inquit, 'hodie FESTUM NATIVITATIS CHRISTI colimus.'
Scrugius in animo 'Festum Nativitatis,' inquit. 'Non praetermisi.
Una nocte Umbrae omnia perfecerunt. Quod volunt possunt. Sane, sane,
omnia possunt. Iam audi,' puero produxit, 'mi dulcissime!'
'Etiam adsum et audio,' respondit puer.
'Nonne tabernam gallinarii noris,' rogavit Scrugius, 'anguli alterius viae?'
Puer 'Iam certe,' respondit.
'Puer es argutus!' dixit Scrugius. 'Puer praestans! Scisne illam
gallinam mexicanam palmariam esse venditam? Parvam palmariam in animo
non habeo: per contrarium — illam permagnam?
'Illa quam me magna?' rogavit puer.
'Iam puer est iucundus,' inquit Scruius, 'ut colloqui placet. Ita vero, mi gratissime!'
'Adhuc pendet,' respondit puer.
'Iam vero,' inquit Scrugius. 'Vade emptum.'
From my inbox:
In 'The Guardian' for 31/10/7, there was a little article by Leo Benedictus (what a lovely Latin name!) about 10-year-old Arpan Sharma, who speaks eleven languages. Unfortunately, Latin is not listed, although not all eleven are.
There is, however, a very interesting comment by Kersti Börjars, professor of linguistics at Manchester University: “If you're going to speak [a language] properly, you have to learn it before a certain age, that's for sure … There is a critical age, and we dispute a little about where this
comes, but it's probably around four, five, six, seven.”
Within the government initiative to teach languages at junior school, the Latin language should have a place. Does it, outside the justly commended 'Minimus'?