Joan Newey – a true stalwart of ARLT

Joan Newey 1924 – 2014

We were very sad to hear of the death on December 21 of Joan, a longstanding and valued friend of the ARLT for over 66 years. She was one of the last of that amazing band of teachers who did so much to promote the cause  of  classics in the second half of the 20th century.

Joan’s life had had links with the Association, directly or indirectly, from a young age.

Joan at Charterhouse, Centenery Summer School 2011

As a schoolgirl in Manchester she first heard, from her brother’s friends at Manchester Grammar School, of William Eagling , a respected member of staff there , eventually to become the last surviving pupil of the Perse School to have been taught by Dr Rouse, our founder. After her degree at UCL, she trained at the London Institute of Education where she and Charles Craddock, a fellow student, were much influenced by Francis Kinchin Smith’s infectious enthusiasm for the latest teaching methods , which brought both of them into contact with the ARLT.

By 1948 Joan was attending  Summer Schools , soon becoming Secretary and later Vice President and President , roles which she fulfilled conscientiously and with distinction. In the early 1950s comment was made in Latin Teaching  on her excellent demonstration lesson at a Weekend Course . To  have undertaken  such a successful demonstration before the august ( and critical!) Arelates  of that era indicates the high calibre of Joan’s  teaching  and her own  confidence.

Unexpected circumstances left the ARLT without a Director for Chichester in 1978. Although teaching full-time, Joan, typically gracious,  stepped in at the last moment and directed an excellent Summer School. She even enjoyed the banter from the floor — in Latin, of course –  from her old friend, Charles Craddock during her Oratio Valedictoria!

Joan was one of the earliest pioneers of the CLC – no mean feat after teaching Latin traditionally for over two decades. She taught the course so  vividly, however, that when Stage 12 was reached she would take a box of tissues into the lesson because her pupils were moved to tears by the poignant destruction of Pompeii. Throughout her retirement she remained eager to familiarise herself with the many innovations in education -A/S  exams , coursework, online  Latin inter alia.  When pleasing comments were made about her continuing presence at Summer Schools, she used to say, “ I come to encourage you young people”.  And how true that was.

Joan was  delighted to achieve her ambition – often  mentioned  by  her in preceding years –  to be well enough to attend the 2011 Summer School at Charterhouse where, at the Centenary Dinner, she delivered an eloquent and amusing speech , reminiscing on ARLT history.

Joan and Peter also managed to make the 2013 Summer School at Roehampton.  Three points  are memorable : Joan’s presence on the expedition to the British Museum to se the Pompeii exhibition ; her public expression of heartfelt thanks for the care given to them by course participants: the fact that she and Peter were among the last to leave the Entertainment!

Warmth, wit, kindness , a zest for life and interest in the concerns of other people  were among Joan’s characteristics.  A few examples illustrate one or more of these. In her first teaching post at  Bromley High School, Joan gave much help, including an introduction to the ARLT, to Margaret Drury, then a student teacher at the school, thus forging a lifelong friendship which Margaret greatly appreciated . Asked to introduce a guest speaker in the more formal days of 1985 when  one almost required the rhetorical skill of Cicero to do so, as I stood in front of the audience, within the sea of faces, I spotted Joan’s radiant smile of encouragement instantly dispelling any nervousness. After the funeral of Arthur Munday at which Joan had read  an Ode of Horace, Charles Peckett thanked her, adding, “Well done, Joan – and not a wrong quantity to be heard “.  “I should think not, “she quipped, “  after all the years  I’ve sat  at your feet. “

Joan’s funeral was very well  attended and included a good representation from the ARLT. One highlight was the reading by Roger Davies of  Horace : Odes 1.24.

Tribute must also be paid to Peter for his unfailing support in attending  numerous  Summer Schools with Joan , where his own erudition, wit and friendliness were hugely appreciated. We offer our sympathy to him and to Alison and James and their families.

Lynda Goss

‘Unique’ Roman tombstone found in Cirencester

From the BBC website:

“A “unique” Roman headstone is the first of its kind unearthed in the UK, experts believe.

The tombstone was found near skeletal remains thought to belong to the person named on its inscription, making the discovery unique.

Archaeologists behind the dig in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, said they believed it marked the grave of a 27-year-old woman called Bodica.

The bodies of three children were also found in the “family burial plot”.

Neil Holbrook, of Cotswold Archaeology, translated the Roman inscription on the tombstone, which reads: “To the spirit of the departed Bodica [or Bodicaca], wife, lived for 27 years.”

Mr Holbrook said: “The unique aspect is that you can put a name to the person who lies beneath the tombstone.””


“What’s weird is that the inscription only fills half of the panel, so there’s a space left below it.

“You can see horizontal marking-out lines, so I guess what they were going to do was come back later when her husband died and add his name to the inscription,” Mr Holbrook added.

Read the full story and watch footage of the moment the headstone was turned over here:

Red Seat Numbers Found on Rome’s Colosseum

From Discovery News:

Traces of red painted numbers have been found on the arches of Rome’s Colosseum during the ongoing $33 million restoration work aimed at repairing damage suffered by the 2,000-year-old monument since the Middle Ages.

Similar to today’s stadium seating systems, the numbers — written according to the system used in ancient Rome, using letters of the Latin alphabet such as X, L, V, I — stood on the entrance gate arches, allowing an easier access to the seats.


Traces of red color in the Roman number X (10). Credit: Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma.

First carved in the travertine stones, the numbers were then painted in red, so that people could easily see them from a distance.

There were 76 public numbered entrances, plus four special un-numbered gates. Two were reserved to the emperor, senators, magistrates, wealthy patricians, and the Vestal Virgins, priestesses responsible for maintaining the sacred fire within the Temple of Vesta. A gate was used for the dead — gladiators and wild beasts — while another was used by gladiators parading prior to the beginning of the combats…….

Read the rest of the report and watch the video here:

Rome’s military women have been hiding in plain sight


What lovely, long hair you have (Image: Beth Greene)

Check out this report from NewScientist about the growing evidence for women being in greater prominence in military contexts than previously thought.  For one who has excavated at Vindolanda, the evidence coming out of this Northern Frontier fort is particularly interesting.

“TALK about hiding in plain sight. Women are thought to have had no official role in Roman army activities. But now a monument that’s been sitting in the centre of Rome for almost 2000 years is adding to the evidence that soldiers ignored a ban on marriage, and that the wives or daughters of commanders might have taken part in triumphal ceremonies.

Archaeologist Elizabeth Greene told the 8-11 January annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in New Orleans about six females depicted on the iconic Trajan’s column in Rome, Italy, a triumphal monument to a military victory………..”

Read the full article here:

ARLT Refresher Day March 2015 at The Grammar School at Leeds

Saturday 7th March 2015, 10.00am – 4.00pm

At The Grammar School at Leeds, Harrogate Road, Leeds LS17 8GS

How to find GSAL
Programme and booking form
Option groups

Check the ARLT website

Dr Danielle Frisby, University of Manchester, on animals in epic

Professor Malcolm Heath, University of Leeds on Sophocles’ Antigone

3 Option sessions,  wide range of teaching topics
Hellenic Bookservice

Cost £30, includes refreshments and lunch
Director: Helen Morrison

Solstice Sun Aligned With Rome’s Hardknott Castle

According to Archaeology, a publication of the Archaeological Institute of America, the ruins of a Roman fort in England have been analyzed by Amelia Carolina Sparavigna of the Polytechnic University of Turin. One of the strongholds built by Emperor Hadrian to guard the Roman frontier, the fort sits near Hardknott Pass and offers a view of the Eskdale Valley. Cumbria-Roman-fortLive Science reports that Sparavigna used online software and satellite imagery to calculate the angles at which the solstice sun rises and sets at the fort. She found that during the summer solstice,….

read the story here

Ancient Rome podcast by Melbourne’s La Trobe University tops UK iTunes chart

itunesA podcast about ancient Rome produced by La Trobe University has topped the iTunes collections in England and hit number two in Australia.

The series called Emperors of Rome stayed at number one for a week and had more than 40,000 downloads.

ABC Melbourne carried the story :


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