A Latin teaching position, which has been posted by the East Aurora School District since last fall, has yet to be filled.

East Aurora is in New York state, apparently, and they are trying to introduce a Latin program. Good for them:

A Latin teaching position, which has been posted by the East Aurora School District since last fall, has yet to be filled.

East Aurora planned to collaborate with the Clarence Central School District to bring Latin to area students. However, there were simply not enough students in Clarence for this plan to work. In the meantime, School Superintendent James C. Bodziak mentioned at the School Board meeting last week a plan involving distance learning that would bring together students from East Aurora, Springville, and Franklinville, with a teacher from the Franklinville district.

The course would allow eight students from each district to take Latin 1, and the East Aurora School Board hopes the offering will springboard a larger Latin program. Despite the challenge of finding a teacher, the board seems committed to some form of a Latin program.

“We need to keep at it,” said School Board President Daniel Brunson.

From the East Aurora Advertiser

Parishioners seek to save church, keep Latin Mass

Two news items about the Latin Mass in the USA:


By Maria Cramer, Globe Staff | July 25, 2005

As parishioners struggle to save the Holy Trinity Church in the South End from closing, they say they are both fighting the loss of their spiritual home and resisting the possible demise of a tradition found nowhere else in the Archdiocese of Boston — the Latin Mass.

Read the whole article.


Our Lady of the Snows, a former township Grange hall in a past life, now a small intimate Catholic church in Livingston Township, was born from the need of a small group of individuals to join together and again celebrate the traditional Latin Mass which, until the late 1960s, was how all Roman Catholic churches celebrated Mass around the globe.

Read the whole article.

Bring back grammar schools, urge teachers

Press Association
Wednesday July 27, 2005

Teachers demanded that ministers bring back grammar schools today, reigniting the debate over selection in England's education system.

Bright children are being denied the education they deserve by “one-size-fits-all” comprehensive schools, members of the Professional Association of Teachers (PAT) said.

One delegate at the PAT annual conference in Buxton, Derbyshire, accused the prime minister, Tony Blair, of being “dishonest” by refusing to send his own son to the local comprehensive.

Grammars, which select children based on their academic ability at the age of 11, are the “most successful” type of schools the country has ever had, said association member Peter Morris, a teacher from Swansea.

The conference passed Mr Morris's motion calling on the government “to reintroduce grammar schools”.

Read the whole article.


Why I am not writing up the most surprising lecture

Both the most unpromising title of the Summer School and the most innovative and gripping lecture belonged to Professor Jonathan Powell.

The title was: New perspectives on Latin word order.

Er, yes.

The lecture was the fruit of twenty years of work, inspired by a remark overheard in a senior common room in Oxford: “I saw a good yesterday programme on television.”

The results of the twenty years of study were almost as simple as e=mc squared. And I'm blowed if I'm going to spoil Jonathan's achievement, which he explained so simply and clearly, with humorous and illuminating examples, by making an amateurish attempt to pass on his explanations.

It will be great if he himself commits his findings to print in as simple and lively a way as he delivered them last week.

Meanwhile, silence from me! And thanks, Jonathan.

Stephen Harrison on Aeneid 10

These are almost entirely my jottings taken during the lecture. They should really be read in conjunction with the handout which gives many quotations. It is not on line, I'm afraid. Still, these jottings give some flavour of the lively and humorous nature of the lecture.

Stephen Harrison's commentary on Book 10 is likely to be required reading for those teaching the book over the next two years.


Vergil regarded the last books as the more important half of the Aeneid – maior ordo. Why?

It was the traditional view that war is the most important subject:

  • War is important in Roman culture, in the earlier poets Naevius and Ennius.
  • The theme of (civil) war was central to Vergil's own time. Vergil was a young man when Caesar crossed Rubicon, and lived through to the peace brought by Augustus.

Aeneid 7-12 has resonances with recent Roman history. It tells of a Civil War where one of the leaders claimed divine parentage.

But by the middle of book 9 the reader is wanting his money back! There has been little warfare. The reader is in suspense.


(See the extracts about arms cut off, hands lopped.)

Vergil has a number of things in common with Quentin Tarentino, and this is one of them.

“Even my kids would regard this as an acceptable level of violence (boys aged 10 and 12)!”

Someone should make a film of the Aeneid.

Note the importance of gladiators in Roman life. What did the Romans do on a Saturday afternoon? Let's go down to the amphitheatre. A contemporary Roman reader would think of gladiators when reading Aeneid 10. The film Gladiator is good, in showing the horror and butchery that was part of Roman life, and the conditions in which gladiators lived. Gladiatorial shows were a universal cultural fact, like the Simpsons.

Vergil and Homer

If you read the Iliad from cover to cover you find some tedious patches, where A kills B, C kills D. Vergil is concerned to avoid such tedium.

In the opening words of the Aeneid, Arma virumque cano, Vergil claims to imitate the Iliad (arma) and the Odyssey (virum).

Vergil is saying he can 'do Homer' without the length. What matters is quality, not length. His variations on Homer are an implicit literary criticism of Homer.

Aeneas is the Pompey figure! This would be clear to the first audience. It is like a short film where a man stands in a car and is shot from top of tall building – everyone would think of Kennedy's assassination.

Vergil makes Homer more like Greek tragedy, with Turnus the tragic hero.

Aeneid 10.

Quinn divides each book of the Aeneid into 3 parts.

Homer had lots of divine councils; Vergil had only one (criticism again?).

How do you keep up the interest in a list of killings?

  • ii epiphany – of nymph
  • iii all locations, heaven, earth, sea, except underworld.
  • iv focus on an individual for some time. Allows cinematic switch of location, Meanwhile back at the ranch (interea).
  • vi Also concentration on victims, not just heroes. Like Homer, but V does it better!

Some key episodes.

  1. The gods don't come out of the assembly section very well. Some say that the other gods are insincere, Jupiter is different. But he has predicted the war in Book 1. Jupiter plays a double game, keeping family peace with put-upon wife, uppity daughter, apple of eye. Dealing with a household of women!

    The gods are like George Bush, human with finger on the button, powerful but not morally superior.

  2. Vergil came from Mantua, as did Maecenas. Vergil avoids mentioning Maecenas. Vergil is not an expert in Etruscan culture. (Macaulay Lays of Ancient Rome adds an ancestor of Maecenas).

  3. meeting with the nymphs, who were once Aeneas' ships.
  4. death of Pallas. Turnus is not wrong to kill Pallas. Killing the enemy is what you do in war. What was wrong was wearing the belt. Aeneas hangs up spoils on bushes. Remember Turnus as tragic hero, led astray not by vice but by error.
  5. The guys are not actually killed 'on camera'. Human sacrifice is too gross to show on camera. Does he do it or not?
  6. Aegaeon is impious, so Aeneas is impious too? It's the enemy's view, not the narrator's.
  7. Mezentius. Flawed hero. (Dirty Harry standing over the body is very Homeric – Do you feel lucky, punk? Euchos)
  8. Lausus a nice handsome young man, killed by Aeneas. V makes Aeneas do the killing in as acceptable a way as possible. Warns him to flee. Returns the arms to his father.
  9. Mezentius has lost his kingdom because he was a bad ruler. Now he loses his son. C.f. Creon lamanting death of Haemon. Also c.f. Would God I had died for thee! – David laments for worthless Absolom. Vergil always has sympathy for the victim, whoever he is.

Buch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid ending – freeze-frame of their death, is like end of Book 10.


4 Death of Pallas – quote – is there hubris here too? Carpet scenes in Agamemnon and Persae.

Aeneid is not a conspiracy theory poem on the evils of Augustus, but shows that leadership implies being ruthless. Augustus dedicates spoils of Parthia at the time of writing of the Aeneid. He knew the limits.

You can't make omelettes …. In the Aeneid many broken eggs, a pretty impressive omelette!

Gladiators like premier league footballers, very glamorous but not the people you would like to go out to dinner with. Ordinary Romans knew killing only from gladiators. Gladiators were slaves, not real Romans.

Let the Roman stock be tough with Italian … ?? find quotation ?? Mezentius represents toughness.

Mezentius' address to his horse – Raebus, bandylegs. C.f. Achilles' horses talking to him, and Cyclops talking to his favourite ram. Sad that his best friend is a sheep! Mezentius has lost kingdom and son, now has only an animal to talk to. Mez is like the Cyclops, outcast from society, does unspeakable things to bodies.

Is Mezentius a parallel with Antony? Needs convincing about that.

Jenny tidied up

I have worked over my notes on Dr Jenny March's lecture now, so they are worth a second visit! It was an excellent lecture, and I have got more from it by having to expand the notes into complete sentences and arrange them into sections and subsections.