Teachers' TV Associates now launched.

New from Teachers’ TV

Teachers' TV Associates now launched

From 13 September anyone working in a school in England can sign up online at www.teachers.tv/associates to become a Teachers’ TV Associate.

Teachers’ TV Associates enjoy a range of benefits and opportunities including…

  • Sneak Previews
    Each term selected programmes will be available online in advance of transmission.
  • Get Involved with Programmes
    Vote for a programme idea to go into production or join the news team for the day.
  • Events
    Get invites to special events, apply for audience places at Teachers’ TV filmed programmes and check out the CPD opportunities on offer.
  • Have your Say
    Join online forums, apply for a place at a feedback forum, send in your views and network with other Associates.

In return, Associates will spread the word to their colleagues about the range of useful programmes Teachers’ TV offers and will share ideas about how to make best use of the channel.

To register and to receive an Associates welcome pack go to www.teachers.tv/associates

Herculaneum enthusiasts step this way!

Another link from Explorator that may be useful in teaching Pompeii is this:


It leads to the site of the Friends of Herculaneum Society, and you can print out the first three issues of Herculaneum Archaeology.

Claimed to be the first Roman naval officer image

This is from ANSA.it and was reported by David Meadows in today's Explorator email.

Ravenna site yields first-ever image of imperial officer (ANSA) – Classe, September 20 – The first-ever image of a soldier in the Ancient Roman navy has surfaced at a major imperial naval base at Ravenna .

The armour-clad, weapon-bearing soldier was carved on a funeral stone, or stele, in a waterlogged necropolis at Classe (ancient Classis), the now silted-up Ravenna port area where Rome's Adriatic fleet was stationed .

Previous finds at the site have only shown people in civilian garb .

An inscription on the soldier's funeral slab says he was an officer on a small, fast oar-powered ship ('liburna') used to catch pirates .

Although the stele is small – about one metre (yard) long – the detail of the carving is intricate .

The soldier has the bowl haircut and delicate, child-like features typical of carvings from the 1st-century AD Julio-Claudian era .

He wears anatomically shaped body armour with shoulder strips and a leather-fringed military skirt, above the light but tough military sandals called 'caligae' (from which the notorious emperor Caligula got his name). He is carrying a heavy javelin ('pilum') and has a short stabbing sword called 'gladius' on his decorated belt .

Over his armour there is a band which experts think could be a military decoration .

Part of the inscription is missing. The soldier's name is thought to be Monus Capito. His ship was called 'Aurata' or 'Golden' and the man who put up the stele, probably a fellow soldier, was named Cocneus .

The stele was found in three metres of water by divers helping archaeologists trace a large tunnel from late Imperial times .

The stone had been taken from the burial ground and used to prop up a part of the tunnel that had collapsed .

Experts said the find would have pride of place in a Museum of Archaeology being set up at Classe .

'Classis' in Latin means 'fleet' but was also local shorthand for the fleet's base. Rome had two Mediterranean fleets, one based at Ravenna and the other near Naples. Piracy was a major problem for Roman merchant ships and the navy frequently launched punitive expeditions against raiders from Cilicia, now southern Turkey .

In one of these, Julius Caesar caught and killed pirates who had captured and held him for ransom .

Then Pompey the Great, Caesar's one-time partner and eventual rival, smashed the Cilician pirates in a famous whirlwind campaign .

The Roman navy was an extension of the army and used army fighting methods. Ships rammed and hooked enemy vessels so that soldiers could board and attack .

I hate spamming engines!

Yesterday was a quiet day on the blog. There were fewer than 1000 visitors, which is unusual these days. So I scanned through the list of referrers, to see where the visitors had come from.

Out of 814 visitors, the vast majority were bona fide people using Google to find information of all kinds. Instructions on making and wearing a toga are very popular at present. But 157 visits, no less, were from machines looking for chances to advertise on-line poker, and there were half a dozen hoping to link us to pornography.

That is why I have had to limit comments on the blog to people who register. In addition, I have been flooded with emails from the same mix of unwelcome spammers via the ARLT site, and so we have added a simple password to the form that you can use to contact me. Anyone with the most elementary knowledge of Latin will be able to work out the password, but we hope that spamming machines will not.

A hard day in the recording studio

Five ARLT members gathered yesterday in Loughborough to record Latin and Greek texts set for the current year's A level and GCSE exams.

We came from as far away as Winchester (that was Roger Davies), and met at the parental home of Richard Dawkins, who works for the BBC in London and is a wizard with recording equipment. He is a former pupil of Hilary Walters and Pat Bunting, who, with Rachel Thomas and myself completed the reading team, and generously gives his time and expertise each year so that Classics departments can have high quality recordings to help teachers and students in their preparation for public exams. In addition to the day's hard work with the microphones Richard will spend hours over the next few weeks removing our stumbles and mispronunciations and making seamless final tracks from our best efforts.

The recordings may be downloaded free, or bought for something like cost price, if teachers want the highest quality. When this year's offerings are ready, I shall post the good news here on the blog.

We as an Association are old hands at Latin recordings. We had a go at recording some Greek yesterday, but I personally was not satisfied with my effort with the opening of Euripides' Ion, so I'm not sure whether any Greek will be published.

There are many problems to be tackled when reading Latin aloud, foremost among them the question of elision. Should the elided vowel disappear entirely? Should it make a token appearance, as happens when singers sing in Italian? Or should the elided syllable be spoken in full?

If Latin presents its problems, Greek has its own. How does one pronounce iota subscripts? (We tried to read them as if they were full letters.) Should one emphasise the syllable that carries a written accent, as modern Greeks do? Should one even attempt a tonal accent? (We didn't.) So many things to think about while trying to bring the drama of Vergil or Euripides to life.

We hope you will find the results, when they are ready, both useful and enjoyable.

Biography of a Classicist is today's DNB offering

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, which is available online for a large subscription, publishes one life per day for the public, and makes one week's lives openly available. You can even get the 'Life of the Day' sent to you by email, free.

With that introduction, you may like to read Jane Harrison's life today here.

GCSE results show that the top schools teach Latin

Just as with the A level results, so with the GCSE results as analysed by The Times, the message is that the top schools teach Latin.

93 of the first 100 in the Times list have Classics departments. I give the top 25, of which 24 teach Latin. I have added an L to the 24, after the three columns showing number of candidates, A* percentage, A and A* percentage. The top 25 schools are:

St Paul's Girls' School, London, G  				88  	66.8  	96.5	L
City of London School For Girls, London, G 			86 	69.6 	95.6	L
Wycombe Abbey School, High Wycombe, G 			        86      60.9    95.1    L
North London Collegiate School - The, Edgware, G 		112 	68.7 	94.9	L
Haberdashers' Aske's Sch for Girls, Borehamwood, G 		113 	58.7 	94.7	L
Withington Girls' School, Manchester, G 			81 	65.3 	94.4	L
St Paul's School, London, B 					160 	74.0 	94.3	L
Sevenoaks School, Sevenoaks, M 					132 	52.9 	91.6	L
Channing School, London, G 					55 	46.2 	91.6	L
Westminster School, London, B 					127 	61.3 	91.1	L
Winchester College, Winchester, Boys 				132 	50.9 	90.9	L
Putney High School GDST, London, G [no Latin]			83 	60.1 	90.7
King Edward VI High Sch for Girls, Birmingham, G 		77 	62.4 	90.6	L
Godolphin & Latymer School - The, London, G 			102 	54.4 	90.0	L
Eton College, Windsor, B 					249 	51.8 	89.6	L
King's College School, Wimbledon, London, B 			141 	57.1 	89.6	L
St Swithun's School, Winchester, G 				73 	58.7 	89.4	L
Perse School for Girls, Cambridge, G 				87 	56.9 	89.2	L
St Helen & St Katharine - The School of, Abingdon, G 		81 	56.4 	89.1	L
20 Guildford High School for Girls, Guildford, G 		88 	52.3 	88.7	L
Magdalen College School, Oxford, B 				83 	54.7 	87.3	L
Bancroft's School, Woodford Green, M 				118 	58.2 	87.0	L
The Tiffin Girls' School, Kingston Upon Thames, Sel, Girls 	120 	57.4 	86.8	L
Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School - The, Borehamwood, B 	161 	53.1 	86.3	L
Manchester High School for Girls, Manchester, G 		102 	47.6 	86.2	L

If you really want to see ancient Athens, use Linux

Teetering on the brink of ditching Windows in favour of Linux, I was interested in a report (via Explorator – thanks David Meadows) about a new virtual reality tour of the Agora. I give the technical stuff in case you, gentle reader, can make head or tail of it, and then ease into the practicalities of what you may be able to take your school party to see in Athens.

Foundation of the Hellenic World Uses Silicon Graphics Prism Systems to Design Immersive, Interactive Presentation for New Domed Theater

DUBLIN, Ireland and MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Eurographics Stand 12, Aug. 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Late next year, Foundation of the Hellenic World's (FHW) innovative cultural center/museum, Hellenic Cosmos, will feature an immersive virtual tour of Agora, the heart of ancient Athens. For the development of this stunning virtual reality (VR) presentation in advance of the 2006 opening of a state-of-the-art immersive 128-seat domed theater, the Foundation of the Hellenic World (FHW), a not-for-profit cultural institution in Athens, Greece, selected visualization technology from Silicon Graphics (NYSE: SGI – News). FHW will use the SGI® system to add more animations and much more realistic graphics to the Agora presentation than its previous VR datasets. …

“Our Ancient Olympia tour had 33 virtual buildings and, at about half a gigabyte, was double the size of our previous dataset; it was straining our 7-year-old system. We knew we had to move to a faster machine with bigger texture memory and bigger shared memory for the Ancient Agora, which has 43 buildings, plus we're planning much more interaction,” said Athanasios Gaitatzes, head of the Virtual Reality Department, Foundation of the Hellenic World. “We also wanted to move all our existing productions onto the Linux environment of the Silicon Graphics Prism and see how the new graphics cards that SGI is using will work with our old data, and get some exposure to the new machine's new architecture. We looked at clusters and they are very painstaking to use. The Silicon Graphics Prism system was the only machine that could offer speed, shared memory, and graphics power, along with the compositor, where you can assign quadrants for projection.”

So that's the technical stuff. Now, what's it all about?

Essentially, you are going to be able to take the rabble – I'm sorry, the highly motivated and select group of Classical enthusiasts – to a new kind of super-visitor-centre in Pireos Street, Athens, where there is already an exhibition on the Olympic Games (including Virtual Reality tours of the Temple of Zeus and a walk round the buildings of ancient Olympia) and an exhibition on Greek mathematics, and let them loose in a Virtual Reality tour of the Agora. I must say that this sounds like a really good idea. I myself, after years of teaching Classical Civ A level and after about 8 visits to the Agora, am just beginning to get the hang of the ruins. This exhibition would have given me a flying start.

Mind you, it's not finished yet. Meanwhile, here's a bit about Hellenic Cosmos:

Hellenic Cosmos, the Cultural Centre of FHW, is being built in a 65000 square metre lot, at 254 Pireos Street, where the VIOSOL factory functioned until June 1997. This complex was originally designed before the Second World War by architect Solon Kydoniates, and consists of various self-sufficient industrial buildings. The remodelling of the complex began with a 2000 square metre building.

See their site here.

Three million mosaic pieces make Alexander replica for Pompeii

'Explorator' has arrived, with its weekly cargo of archaeological and other news, including this:


(AGI) – Naples, Italy, Aug 31 – One of the most famous mosaics found in the Pompeii excavations, the one depicting the 'Battle of Alexander', is back, though as a copy, in its place of origin, the 'Casa del Fauno' of the ancient Roman city. The copy is faithful in its form, materials, size and colours to the original, and was made by the Ravenna International Mosaic Study Centre, who used 3 million mosaic pieces and thousands of support panels. The 'clone' will soon return to furnish the pavement of the building.

There's a bit more here.

New move by the Pope concerning the Latin Mass

August 29, 2005

Pope opens talks with Latin Mass renegades

From Richard Owen in Rome

POPE BENEDICT XVI, who reached out to Muslims and Jews last week on his first trip to his native Germany since his election, is preparing to mend an enduring schism within the Roman Catholic Church.
Vatican sources say that the Pope is planning to lift the excommunication of a group of renegade ultra-traditionalists by his predecessor, John Paul II, 17 years ago. …

In an unprecedented move, the Pope is to receive Bishop Bernard Fellay, the Superior General of the Society of St Pius X, for conciliation talks at his summer residence at Castelgandolfo today.

The society (or brotherhood) was set up in 1969 by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, of France, who gathered around him right-wing traditionalists opposed to the reforms of the Second Vatican Council and established a seminary at Ecône in Switzerland.

Archbishop Lefebvre died in 1991 but his breakaway group continues to operate worldwide, with 4 bishops, 460 priests, 7 seminaries and nearly 500 churches, all using the Latin Mass.

Andrea Tornielli, a papal biographer, said that Benedict XVI — formerly the guardian of Vatican tradition as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — was well placed to mend the rift since he had himself shown a preference for the Latin Mass.

Read the whole article.