A Greek pre-Parthenon frieze horse, probably.

This head has been bought by the Louvre. I think it's a good piece, and useful for comparison with the Parthenon horses.

Wise words on Tunisia

A simple thing, but until you've found out by experience you don't think about it. What am I talking about? See Hilary's short entry on the Notice Board.

David Swift is providing Something Really Useful

You may already be using David's weekly diary of all the Classical radio and TV programmes available in the UK – if not, you'll find the link on the right of every page of the ARLT site. For some time David ran an excellent website for his Classics department. He is now moving to another school and is generously adapting his departmental site to be a sample site which other Classics teachers can use for ideas and inspiration in making their own sites.

The index page to David's site is here.

If you prefer to visit the departmental site directly, try this.

I haven't checked with David recently, but I'm sure that the site is still 'work in progress', as all lively websites are. It is still well worth a visit now. I have visited many school websites and found the Classics department pages. They vary from the inspiring to the ones where … well, I guess the teacher, faced with the chance of a web presence, threw up his or her hands in despair! A paragraph on why studying Classics is such a brilliant idea, a photo of the school trip to Pompeii, and that's it.

If you are the one who threw up your hands in despair, visit David's offering and take courage and inspiration!

Many American Classics teachers actually set homework assignments on their websites, with links to resources on-line. Some ask for the work to be e-mailed to them. Let the imagination run free. There are so many possibilities.

A Latin European Anthem – supported by Romano Prodi

Peter Roland

European Anthem

The only language for a common European anthem not likely to arouse
rivalry among the different nations is Latin. Moreover, it is a clear
and pleasant-sounding language that may well be regarded as the one
mother tongue of all Europeans.

That is why the text to be sung to the official tune of the European
Anthem (from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony) has been written in Latin,
beginning with the words “Est Europa nunc unita”. The complete text,
as well as an approximate translation into the 20 official EU
languages, can be found at www.hymnus-europae.at.
Romano Prodi expressed the wish that the Latin anthem may become a
second national anthem to all European citizens.

Listen to the Anthem sung (beautifully) by the Wiener Singverein by following the link under 'Attachments' at the end of this post.

The Vienna-based publishing house Doblinger has now published the
sheets of music (European Anthem for a mixed a cappella choir – 1-4
voices; optional piano), which are internationally available in music
stores. They can also be ordered through chor@doblinger.at (order
number 44 781: ISMN M-012-19562-7).

There is also a package containing the sheet of music and a CD of the
European Anthem recorded by the renowned a cappella choir “Wiener
Singverein”. This package can be ordered free of charge by e-mail to

Dr. Peter Roland
Europa-Akademie Dr. Roland
Neubaugasse 43
1070 Wien
Tel ++ (01) 523 14 88

"Hareios Poter Kai he tou Philosophou Lithos"

Apparently the Classicsal Greek version of the first Harry Potter book is due out this month.

The Wall Street Journal gave it a distinctly quizzical, if not downright sarcastic, welcome last Thursday. But at least it's publicity for the book and the language. See what you think.

By the way, Andrew Wilson the translator has a website full of useful stuff. I think I've recommended it before, and I'll do so again now: http://www.classicspage.com/

'Village Voice' on the many Greek plays on in New York

To go by the sheer number of Greek characters traipsing across our stages right now, the ancients have become our truest contemporaries. Though we're still a month away from the release of Oliver Stone's Alexander (starring Colin Farrell in a mini-tunic), New York is already in the grip of a classical revival. The Hellenic Festival (presented by the New York Public Library) has just kicked off a lecture and multi-arts program that celebrates the birthplace of Western culture. From choreographer Jane Comfort, who recently unveiled her Persephone at the Joyce, to performance artist John Kelly, who's reviving his Orpheus-inspired Find My Way Home this winter, everyone's getting into the Athenian act.

With an October lineup that includes three productions of Aristophanes (Lysistrata, Acharnians, and Peace), at least one Euripides (Hecuba), and two works inspired by Sophocles (The Antigone Project and The Gospel at Colonus), Off-Broadway seems to have gone retro in the extreme. Between the threat of terrorism and the war in Iraq, we're all apparently in desperate need of a whopping catharsis—or at least a few old-comedy laughs at the rulers driving us to the brink of catastrophe.

Read the rest of the article

Scotland to axe Higher level exams with fewer than 100 takers

'Minority Highers' facing the axe

From the BBC website.

Almost half of Higher exams face being cut under new plans
Many less popular Highers could disappear in a major shake-up of the exam system, BBC Scotland has learned.

The Scottish Executive and the Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) said they need to rationalise the current exam system with subject cuts a possibility.

Strong educational, cultural or economic cases for courses will have to be made, with geology, cookery, building and politics under threat.

But the executive said it was committed to extending vocational opportunities.

The SQA plan to cull less popular subjects, which it claims cost too much to run, has been approved by ministers.

Gaelic 'safe'

But a Scottish Executive spokesman denied that up to half of all subjects could be under threat.

He said: “It is sensible to keep the catalogue of subjects fresh and the executive is looking to extend the range of vocational opportunities, not reduce them.”

Schools and colleges will receive letters warning them exams are at risk if they attract fewer than 100 candidates a year.

However, ministers have said Gaelic for learners and native speakers is safe. The Gaelic language has been in decline but a bill aimed at protecting it has been put before Holyrood.

The SQA said it was currently developing a policy on low and no-uptake subjects.

'Improvement process'

Spokesman Mike Haggerty said it would seek to balance choice for candidates with the use of public funding in offering that choice.

But he insisted any decisions would involve a process of consultation.

He added: “Any changes to be made will be as part of a process of improvement and will take a number of years to be implemented.”

But he also pointed out that subjects below the 100-candidate low-uptake threshold made up less than 1% of SQA Higher entries in 2003.

Practical courses like Higher professional patisserie and Higher hairdressing are the most likely victims of the rationalisation, which will look at the 79 courses on offer at Higher level.

If the exams haven't found a market for themselves then really the prospects are not good
Seonag Mackinnon
Education correspondent

The news follows last month's announcement by Education Minister Peter Peacock that the Standard Grade could come under threat.

Mr Peacock raised serious questions over its future and proposed a new intermediate exam, which would fall between Standards and Highers.

The idea came on the back of a review of the curriculum which aims to make Scottish education “more attuned” to the needs of children.

BBC Scotland's education correspondent, Seonag Mackinnon, said: “Five years ago the SQA brought in the new Higher Still. It's arguing that it's had five years to bed down and if the exams haven't found a market for themselves then really the prospects are not good.

Appeal system

“What they're about to do is write to schools and colleges with subjects that fall into that bracket and warn them that the subject is under threat and they have the right to appeal against that.

“But I have to say that there is astonishment in many circles that nothing has been known about this plan.”

The Principal of Stevenson College in Edinburgh, Susan Bird, said there was a case for reviewing some courses.

There needs to be a more rational set of criteria that you apply than simply crude numbers and that's the kind of debate that we haven't had so far

She told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme: “When Higher Still came along the intent was good, but in terms of what has actually happened I think students, as part of an employer market, have voted with their feet.

“They've said that if they want to do building or hairdressing then they should really head towards vocational qualifications recognised by those industries.”

However, Brian Boyd, professor of education at the University of Strathclyde, was angry that no widespread consultation had been entered into.

Mr Boyd said: “The argument here is about a slippery slope, if you identify certain subjects as minority subjects, like classical Greek or politics for example, then tomorrow do we identify Latin, do we identify Urdu?

“There needs to be a more rational set of criteria that you apply than simply crude numbers and that's the kind of debate that we haven't had so far.”

Vocational choices

The Reverend Ewan Aitken, education spokesman for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla), said subjects in the curriculum should meet the needs of a modern society and ensure children remain equipped for the world of work.

He said: “It is not about the removal of subjects or ditching things based on numbers, it is about providing education that is relevant.

“We expect the curriculum review to recommend development of the vocational choices which would be underpinned by a framework of qualifications.”

Tory spokesman Lord James Douglas-Hamilton said that the decision should rest with the schools themselves.

Curriculum rationing

“If our head teachers and teachers were put back in charge of the classrooms we could then find out where the demand lies for different subjects and different exams, but for as long as we are stuck with the top-down approach then the kind of problems identified today will not go away,” he said.

Scottish National Party spokeswoman Fiona Hyslop claimed that the proposals would lead to a “gerrymandered curriculum”.

She said: “Rationing the curriculum will prevent flexibility and choice for pupils. This smacks of a shortage of teachers and cost cutting at the SQA rather than a proper curriculum review.”

Ready for Christmas – in Greek

If you are thinking of reading St Luke's account of the birth of Christ with your Greek class at the end of the Christmas term, this vocabulary list will come in handy.

Hungry Frog vocab game

I've just been playing Hungry Frog Latin Vocabulary game and find it fun. You need to visit 'hungry frog options' and choose Latin, or you will find yourself being tested on Spanish. The free on-line version of the game uses a very limited vocabulary. If you thought it would be really helpful to students in learning vocab, it would be worth finding out if the full, paid-for version can be programmed with your own words.

Why in heaven's name are you majoring in Greek?

A lecture by Lynn Sherr given in April 2003 in New Hampshire
contains some good ammo for promoting the study of the Classics, and particularly the Greeks and their language.

Lynn is a TV personality in the USA, not known in the UK I think, so it will be a question of using what she said rather
than saying: 'Look who studied Classics and where it got her.'