Meet some Roman soldiers in Prestatyn on May 6th

Romans invade Prestatyn


Prestatyn will see a step back to the Second Century AD when two Roman soldiers march from the Leisure Centre to the town's historic Roman bathhouse on May 6th. They will lead a group of visitors to meet County Archaeologist Fiona Gale and Museums Officer Susan Dalloe.

Susan will talk about the days when the bath house was found and when it was built, while Fiona will show some of the objects archaeologists found during excavations at the bath house.

Fiona said: “The Soldiers will we hope, bring the whole place alive by talking about what the life of a Roman soldier stationed at Prestatyn would have been like and what exactly they did in the bath house.”

The Roman soldiers will not be Italian. They are drawn from a re-enactment group here in the UK. They are based in Caergwrle.

Read the rest in News Wales

The Telegraph likes Antony and Cleopatra at Stratford

Antony and Cleopatra

Give Nancy Meckler's insultingly silly production of Romeo and Juliet in the main house a miss and start your exploration of the RSCs Complete Works festival with this superb production. Director Gregory Doran has come up with a funny, sexy, yet also deeply affecting account of this great mature love story in which some of the most magnificent poetry Shakespeare ever wrote receives its full value. In the title roles, Harriet Walter and Patrick Stewart really strike sparks off each other, discovering the play's humour as well as its ache of lust and loss. Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon (0870 609 1100).

Read the review.

A Latin-teaching school to close

In discussing how Newlands School was saved from closure, The Times mentioned that Holy Cross Convent School is to close in August. I see that Latin is introduced there in Year 7. To put it all in perspective, The Times gives some figures on independent schools:

  • There are about 2,300 independent schools in England. About 60 schools open each year and a similar number close
  • Of those, 1,200 belong to the Independent Schools Council. Only five or six of its members close each year
  • 1,692 are day schools, 644 boarding schools, 107 Muslim schools, 55 Jewish schools, 36 evangelical Christian schools and 51 are for stage, music or dance

Books that changed the world – Bragg

The Times has a review of and an excerpt from 12 BOOKS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD by Melvyn Bragg
(Hodder, £20; 300pp).

All the books are by Englishmen or Scotsmen, and the first was written in Latin:

Bragg begins his narrative with a celebration of Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica. The case for its inclusion is indisputable. Newton’s great work has had a more profound effect upon the technological or scientific aspects of human life than any other. His theorems of celestial dynamics are still at work in the course of Nasa space exploration.

The Bible, in its Authorised Version guise (King James Version to our American cousins) has its place, obviously, and that is the second book of the twelve partly written in a Classical language. Or almost entirely in Classical languages, if you count Hebrew as Classical. (Part of Daniel is in Aramaic, hence the 'almost entirely'.)

From an unexpected book, The Rule Book of Association Football 1863 by A Group of Former English Public School Men comes this Victorian view of the place of Classics:

Headmasters like Thring and Arnold saw team games, classical learning and no-nonsense Anglicanism as the three pillars of Imperial Wisdom.

It is this chapter, in fact, which is there to read online. Having skimmed it, I feel miffed that Rugby Football does not get equal treatment. But I may be biased; my great grandfather and his two brothers were the ones who brought the Rugby game from Rugby School to Cheltenham College, and so may have paved the way for competitive Rugby, first between schools, and then wider. A plaque in Cheltenham commemorates the fact. See this page.

Another Spurs fan regrets passing of Latin motto

From the unofficial Spurs fan site:

I am a traditionalist and the recent motto change from “Audere-Est-Facere” to “To Dare is To Do” left a rather unsavoury taste in my mouth. However, I do like the ‘old-school’ look of our new club badge and previews of next year’s kit (if that’s what they really are) suggest a return to more traditional designs. Let’s hope that the club make sure that our 100th game in Europe is all white on the night!

A new translation of Cicero speeches from OUP

The latest list from OUP is shorter than usual. The only Classical book under £60 is Cicero, Political Speeches, translated by D.H. Berry; Price: £9.99 (Paperback)

ISBN-10: 0-19-283266-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-19-283266-5
Publication date: 9 March 2006
410 pages, 2 maps, 196mm x 129mm

The speeches translated are:

  • Against Verres (In Verrem I)
  • Against Verres (In Verrem II.5)
  • On the command of Gnaeus Pomeius (De imperio Cn. Pompeii)
  • Against Catiline (In Catilinam I)
  • Against Catiline (In Catilinam II)
  • Against Catiline (In Catilinam III)
  • Against Catiline (In Catilinam IV)
  • For Marcellus (Pro Marcello)
  • Philippic II

The web page giving all the blurb is here.

Classical to Byzantine – Hermitage to Somerset House

The current loan exhibition at Somerset House is of objects from the 6th century BC to the 7th century AD. They come from the Hermitage Museum. All about it here.

More wisdom about knowledge

An extract from a Guardian piece by Tal Ben-Shahar on classes in happiness (they used to be called RE in my day) that has relevance to the theme of IT as servant, not master:

To transform, in contrast, is about changing the form of the container – changing the way students perceive the world and interpret the data that comes in. To help students lead fulfilling lives, information is necessary, but not sufficient.

The late poet, author and Harvard professor Archibald MacLeish commented on the state of the world in the 1960s: “What is wrong is not the great discoveries of science – information is always better than ignorance, no matter what information or what ignorance. What is wrong is the belief behind the information, the belief that information will change the world. It won't.”

Neither will more information save our culture from the rising levels of depression and unhappiness. We need education that is transformative as well – which is exactly what positive psychology offers.

Loadsa photos of Caerleon on Atriades' blog

If anyone is wondering whether to take a school trip to Caerleon and wants to know what's there, Atriades has posted a large number of photos here.

90% of teachers think IT is very important

Since the Circe launch last week, I have made a new category of post, named IT. If justification be needed, here is the report of a survey, issued earlier this month:

More teachers getting to grips with ICT, says report

Alexandra Smith
Wednesday April 5, 2006

Teachers are becoming more confident about using technology in the classroom and are finding it easier to maintain boys' interest, new research reveals.

The technology company Dell today released its second survey on information and communications technology (ICT) in education, based on information provided from 277 UK primary and secondary schools.

The ICT in education survey found that 72% of teachers identified the main reason for using ICT was that it helped them teach more effectively. Some 90% said ICT was very important to their school, a significant increase from last year, when the figure was only 68%,

Read the rest