Some lectures and stuff

Rogue Classicism has notices of some UK seminars and lectures that might interest teachers.

There's an Oxford day on June 2nd in honour of Oliver Lyne, consisting of lectures on Latin poetry. Rogue Classicism has the details here.

There is also the termly programme of Durham Seminars. Three of them have already taken place, but there are six to go between now and March 14th.

A similar list of Seminars at Reading. Again, three are over, one is tonight, and several to come.
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A comparison chart of many Latin courses

This comparison chart from a Christian home-schooling site shows some of the range of courses available in the USA.

There are clearly many courses being written, with names like 'Latin's not so tough', 'Latina Christiana', 'Powerglide Children's Latin', and so on. Two familiar names are included, Minimus ('Secular but has
Christian references') and Ecce Romani. Notably absent are Oxford and Cambridge.

The 'Christian or Secular' box reminds me of the first time I read the 'Roma' story in the Cambridge Latin course. I now, many years later, admit that so far from preparing that particular lesson, I came to the story unseen. The words:

Mi Deus, mi Deus, respice me! quare me deseruisti?

with all their strong associations with the most sacred moment in Christian story, took away my power of speech for a moment. 'Lingua sed torpet' and all that.

I have to say that I came across this in the old edition of CLC, where the words come with no preparation to make one think in a Jewish context. They were, to me with my background and beliefs, so much more powerful.

A learned woman is today's ODNB life

Bathsua Makin is today's Life at the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

She knew Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Spanish, French, and German, with some Syriac, and wrote poems in most of these languages.

By the way, if you have a public library membership in the UK, you can very likely access the full ODNB on line using your library membership number. Here in Somerset we also have access to Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians and several other great works of reference.

'Getting Started with Latin' book.

William Linney has emailed ArLT about a book he has written to help home-schoolers learn Latin. He has an extensive website at where you can read sample pages. He has mp3s of the text for download, in Classical pronunciation now, and with ecclesiastical pronunciation coming, for the sake of Roman Catholic parents who prefer it.

The author says he got involved in home schooling and could not find the ideal textbook, so wrote this. He says that mothers have given him positive feedback.

The sample pages show a thorough, fairly traditional approach.

Coming from the USA, the book uses their order of cases, which some in the UK will find a disadvantage.

Among free downloads from the website are a 1902 textbook, 'The first year of Latin', the first four books of the Aeneid in a school edition with vocab and notes (1930), and an interlinear text and translation of Caesar's de Bello Gallico for the 18th century. The need to find texts in the public domain means they are all old, but some may find them useful.

Has anyone recorded the Timewatch programme on Hadrian's Wall?

This email came yesterday from Helen Forte, illustrator of the Minimus books:

I missed the BBC Timewatch programme on Friday, and I gather from Barbara Bell that it was really good (and relevant to all my Minimus teaching). Where do you think I might find a recording, DVD or video? Could you put a plea on the blog for me?

I suggested she got in touch with Wilf O'Neill, who often catches Classical programmes, but …

Wilf O'Neill missed it too! I would be really grateful if you could put out an appeal. It was the Timewatch programme on Friday 26th, about Hadrian's wall.

I'll happily give some Minimus bits and pieces to anyone who can help me out!

Helen Forte

So, anyone able to help?

ArLT founder WHD Rouse on the current controversy

As a work of pietas towards ArLT founder WHD Rouse, I began today to scan his 1925 book, Latin on the Direct Method, for inclusion in the ArLT website.

I found to my great surprise that he speaks powerfully to the present newspaper controversy about standards in Latin teaching.

Do read the first chapter here.

Let me juxtapose just two extracts. The first is from the Financial Times comment piece by Matthew Engel:

I had to learn the fifth declension (and forgot it well before the exam) so why shouldn’t this generation suffer?

And here is Rouse, writing of the direct method which puts idiom, speaking and reading first, and grammar later:

This is what strikes a visitor first and most strongly, that each boy is obviously full of keen attention, ready and eager to take his part. “The labour we delight in physics pain”: it does not cease to be labour, if it becomes a delight, but work willingly done is well done. No less work is done in a morris dance than on the treadmill, but it has a different effect on the human spirit. I suggest to those who urge the moral benefit which a boy is supposed to receive, by doing what he hates to do, whether they are not really covering up the secret, that they are unable to make his work interesting. I wonder whether they apply this gloomy doctrine to themselves.

More revelations from Rouse to come, I have no doubt.

Gauls invade Rome again – for Rugby

If your Latin class includes Rugby enthusiasts, this could be one for the notice board.
Planet Rugby likens the Six Nations Rugby tournament to the Roman games, or various invasions, with references to Brennus and Genseric:

Romans get a rugby reminder
Sunday 28th January 2007

The Italian Rugby Federation has embarked on a campaign of making Romans aware of rugby by sending artists to all quarters of the city to remind the Senate and People of Rome that the Six Nations is at hand.

The opening match of this year's tournament will be played at Stadio Flaminio on Saturday, pitting the Azzurri of Italy against the Bleus of France – the reigning Six Nations champions and the second-ranked team in the world.

The French will come across the Alps like all those invaders of old – from Brennus and Hannibal on to Attila.

Italy will be hoping that it can find a Cincinnatus, Fabius Maximus or Leo the Great to stand up to the invaders, to the aggressive jaw of Fabien Pelous, leader of the raiders. Will Italy coach Pierre Berbizier be able to repel his compatriots, or will Pelous sack Rome as Genseric did?

Those ancient Romans loved sporting entertainment, hence places like the Colosseum, the Circus Maximus and the Baths of Caracalla. Those were the days of panis et circenses.

The Federation hopes that that spirit of entertainment-seeking is still with the modern Roman and is sending its circus to all the main roads and piazzas of Rome and to schools – troupes of entertainers – trampolinists, clowns, sandwich men, musicians – all with the message of 'RUGBY, PASSIONE ITALIANA!' – Rugby, Italian passion.

The performers will be out non-stop from Saturday until just before kick-off next Saturday. The citizens of the Eternal City and its tifosi, its sports fans, will have a cheerful reminder that the Six Nations is starting, and it starts in Rome.

A choirmaster's view of Latin

A piece about Verdi's Requiem in the Boston Globe includes a comment on what it is like to sing in Latin.

In keeping with the amateur group's tradition of tackling sizeable challenges, the 90-minute masterpiece of virtuoso singing and orchestral playing will be sung in Latin. “It's actually a fairly easy language,” said the group's music director, Allen Combs, who will conduct the work.

“The sounds are clean and pure, and sometimes that takes adjustment for our members,” said Combs, who is also a singer and reckons he can perform idiomatically in about 14 languages. “Speakers of American English don't really know what an open 'o' or an open 'a' should sound like.”

ArLT recordings are made by speakers of British English, but we hope that their Latin vowel sounds do not betray too much their country of origin. It's hard, though, not to slip in the odd neutral vowel where Latin has an 'e', for example. Historic records made by promoters of spoken Latin in the early 20th century now sound terribly British. No doubt those who made them thought they were being absolutely accurate. It is almost impossible to achieve 100% accuracy.

I'm sure, however, that the Andover Choral Society did very well yesterday afternoon. I heard Verdi's Requiem live a few years ago, sung by the UWE Chorus. It's an overwhelming experience.

Pliny and Trajan – Father Foster's broadcast

You may know that the Vatican Latinist Reginald Foster does a brief weekly broadcast about things Latin. On January 19th he spoke about Pliny, Tacitus and Trajan, particularly Pliny's letter about dealing with Christians and the Emperor's reply. This, and the archive of broadcasts going back at least to 2005 can be found here.

Purge of ARLT database

Each time a Newsletter goes out to those who have registered on the ARLT website, a large number of emails comes back undelivered.

This time I have gone through the two databases, registrations for the For Teachers section, and requests to be kept informed about ARLT, and removed entries for all those whose newsletter was undeliverable.

If you registered, but have not received the recent Newsletter, do let me know.