Young Roman Catholics who love Latin services

(PRWEB) April 28, 2005 — Vespers? Benediction? Mass … in Latin? Many Catholics have never even heard of these things, much less ever participated in them. But for the Juventutem crowd, such ancient Roman Catholic devotions are a typical part of their ordinary day.

Read the article

Another article on the popularity of Latin:

Latin making a comeback at some Catholic institutions (AP Florida News Published Saturday, April 30, 2005)

Love of learning language transcends all ages

By Valerie Strauss / The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — Every Tuesday, Andy Mayer, 77, leads Hilda Mintzes, 84, and others in a Latin study group. They tackle Ovid's “The Art of Love,” translating line by line — “Your eyes will not be permitted to see her ankles” — and practice language exercises about Caesar.

What Mayer and his students at the Institute for Learning in Retirement here also are doing is smashing stereotypes about language learning and the age at which it is possible to learn. Mintzes loves it: “There is something about the rhythm about Latin that is intellectually stimulating.”

In the field of foreign language learning, the mantra has become “the younger the better,” with suggestions that anybody older than teen actress Lindsay Lohan should forget about learning another language. Some parents think first grade is too late to start.

That's plain wrong, said linguist Robert DeKeyser, and, in fact, some adults can take up a new language …


Latin: A language alive and well

By Valerie Strauss / The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — Latin is considered by many to be a dead language, but not by Marie Davis.

Davis, who teaches Latin to children at Daniels Run Elementary School in Fairfax City, Va., is trying to develop students' skills not just in word recognition but in conversation, too.

Because Latin is not commonly spoken anywhere in the world, lessons usually are about everything except conversation.

Students generally memorize verb endings and adjective and noun declensions; translate classic Roman literature; and learn about Roman history. Some students who have trouble learning to speak modern languages — the hardest element of language learning — sometimes take Latin instead.

But teachers such as Davis say they are trying to revive Latin — and that includes conversing in it. They say they are modeling their effort on how Israelis revived the ancient language of Hebrew.


The background to the recent hand-wringing about Latin

While exploring the Cambridge Latin Course site for help in teaching a keen lad who – the old story – has moved to a school that doesn't teach Latin, I came across the page reporting on when the DVDs are to be expected. It helped me to understand why Will Griffiths talked to the press the way he did. Very many of us are feeling frustrated about the non-appearance of these valuable educational tools, and Will must be the most frustrated of all. Here is part of the page:

CSCP is acutely aware of the problems caused to schools by the delay in the availability of this software and has raised these concerns with the DfES.

Update: Wednesday, 16th February 2005
DfES aim to decide on their preferred solution to the technical issues by Friday 25th February. The E-learning Resources are unlikely to be available before September 2005.

Update: Tuesday 1st March 2005
DfES aim to decide on their preferred solution to the technical issues by Wednesday 9th March. The E-learning Resources are unlikely to be available before September 2005.

Update: Thursday 10th March 2005
Details of DfES's preferred solution now under discussion.

Update: Monday 21st March 2005
DfES states that it is unable to agree work on its preferred solution to the technical problems. No expected delivery date for the software can now be provided. Teachers may wish to contact either the ICT in Schools Division of the DfES (0800 000 2288) or their local MP to enquire about the DfES's plans to deliver the software.

You can meet Will Griffiths at the ARLT Summer School. See my post about this (with its tongue-in-cheek intro). See also the Summer School page.

Some nice reading aloud of Horace

A web site on Horace's villa, recommended by the Cambridge Latin Course, includes pages on a number of Horace poems including O fons Bandusiae.

Each poem is presented on a separate page, with text and parallel English translation, and audio with – and this is the clever bit – the stanza being read appearing at the top of the page in Latin, with or without translation as you choose.

If you start with the above link, you can navigate to any of the other poems through direct links at the foot of the page.

The Daily Telegraph answers question on schools not offering Latin

John Clare's educational agony aunt column today includes this:

Our 14-year-old daughter attends a specialist technology college, not because she's in the least interested in technology but because it's the nearest school. She's currently choosing her GCSE options and the school insists one of them must be a technology subject involving five hours of lessons a fortnight. She really wants to do Latin, which the school doesn't offer. What gives it the right to impose a “compulsory option”? And how can I help her prepare for GCSE Latin?

Your daughter's experience illustrates the absurdity of the Government's policy of turning every secondary school into a specialist institution with the power to distort the education of a substantial proportion of pupils who happen to live in its catchment. For a GCSE Latin syllabus, see the websites of two exam boards that offer it, OCR and AQA: and The Cambridge Latin Course, published by Cambridge University Press, is the most popular; see


It�s sort of Sophocles on steroids – and other Greek plays.

There's a good production of Oedipus in Santa Cruz, apparently.

There are some who think the ancient Greek tragedies are the ultimate in perfect drama, and to those I say, here’s your chance to wallow in that experience. For those of you still unexposed or unconvinced, this is the time to find out what you’re missing.

The Cabrillo College Department of Theater Arts is presenting “Oedipus Rex” at the College Theater, and what a production it is. Even Sophocles would be impressed.

Adapted and directed by Joseph Ribeiro, this is an “Oedipus Rex” that explodes onto the stage with visual splendor and revisits the centuries-old myths with new energy. It’s sort of Sophocles on steroids.


Here's an Electra production:

All Greek to gay director
Michael Russotto takes a break from acting to helm a contemporary version of the ancient classic ‘Electra’ at MetroStage.
Friday, April 22, 2005

“AS A DIRECTOR, I’m looking for passion and big feelings,” says gay director Michael Russotto. “Sophocles’ ‘Electra’ has all that. Electra herself is a diva of pain and grief.”

Based on the ancient Greek legend of the House of Atreus, Sophocles’ “Electra” (written around 410 B.C.) is the story of a tenacious woman hellbent on avenging the murder of her father, King Agamemnon. Unfortunately for Electra, the killers are her mother and stepfather, the present heads of state. There is good news, however: Her lost brother Orestes shows up, equally eager to exact revenge. More.

And there's Lysistrata yet again:

“Lysistrata.'' A new translation of ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes' comedy, set in Athens in the year 2016, with eight new songs by Bay Area composer Joe Ortiz. This production contains graphic sexual language and very graphic misbehavior and is not intended for children. 8 p.m. today, Friday, Saturday; and 2 p.m. Sunday. $12, $10 seniors and students with ID. West Valley College Campus Theatre, 14000 Fruitvale Ave., Saratoga. Call (408) 741-2058 for more information. (That's all on Lysistrata. It came from here.)

"God of War" – another computer game based on the Classical world

God Of War pulls no punches. You'll find yourself ripping people in half, killing innocents and slaying all manner of mythical beasts in a variety of violent ways. It also happens to be one of the freshest and most fun action games to come this way in many years.

You play as Kratos, a Spartan in ancient Greece. He is tormented by awful nightmares and takes his own life. You pick up the game three weeks before his suicide to see why he killed himself, and to learn about his nightmares. Honestly though, the story isn't the driving force in this game. You keep playing because it is amazingly fun, and killing enemies as Kratos is wonderfully satisfying.

The combat is deeper than most action titles, and manages to just remain out and out entertaining. When you grapple an enemy you only have three options, but they never really get old. You can pummel them with Kratos' short swords, impale them and throw them, or jam your hand into their stomach and literally tear them asunder.

God Of War's graphics team deserves special acclaim. The levels are absolutely gorgeous, pushing the aging PS2 without any signs of slowdown, jagged edges, or any of the other hallmarks associated with system pushing games. The transition from cinema to real time is seamless. The characters models all look vivid and real, and the monsters are no exception. Special care went into reinventing Greek mythological monsters so they remain familiar, but look more sinister and evil than usual.
Read more.

(This may be a subscription only article, but I was able to access it freely today)

The game's inventor says:

I have loved the Greek mythology since my dad took me to see Ray Harryhausen's JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS as a kid. After that, I read all I could on the legends of ancient Greece and just fell in love with the amazing fantasy of those stories. I love how they blend the little kid fantasies of monsters and heroes with the adult fantasies of sex, power, and violence. To me, that is a perfect blend for an action/adventure game aimed at adults. As for why others have not mined this amazing subject matter, I don't really know.

Read the interview.

Genealogical chart of Greek mythology

Genealogy is one of the most popular hobbies in the world. The process of searching out the furthest branches of one’s family tree has been greatly facilitated in recent years by the digitization of national censuses and a wealth of Internet sites, yet perhaps the most impressive monument to our age’s particular obsessive compulsion has been Harold and Jon Newman’s A Genealogical Chart of Greek Mythology (2003).

In a task of almost Sisyphean proportions the Newmans spent nearly 40 years linking 3,673 figures from Classical myth into one family tree spanning 20 generations. Drawing on a host of ancient sources – from the familiar, such as Homer, to the obscure, such as Stephanus of Byzantium …

Read the rest here.