More on the Carlisle exhibition

From the News and Star

By Keir Mudie

A NEW exhibition at Tullie House reveals Carlisle’s rich history through objects from Roman and Viking times.

Interactive exhibits, floor maps and touchable objects help bring to
life the hundreds of excavations that have taken place in the city
during the last 30 years.

Staff at the museum are expecting record numbers of visitors to come and enjoy the exhibition, which opened yesterday.

Keeper of archaeology Tim Padley said: “Archaeology is not just about objects – it is about people.

“I would be very disappointed if visitors left this exhibition without
having got a feeling for the everyday lives of people who lived in
historical times.

“There are all sorts of fascinating objects for people to see and
touch. One of my favourites is an amber ring from Roman times, probably
dating from around 122AD.

“It is an incredible piece. It would have been carved from a huge block of amber and worn as a luxury item.

“It was sold with the claim that it could invoke ‘good dreams’.

“The Romans were a very superstitious people – yet they still managed to conquer most of the known world.

“Another of the objects that we have on display is a blue glass chariot cup.

“This is a souvenir item, bought for someone or by someone who was a
big fan of chariot racing, probably around 72 AD. We can tell this
because later on blue glass went out of fashion – tastes change all the

“Romans were particularly interested in chariot racing, that they followed almost like football is followed today.

“Chariot racing was very political, so different factions were followed
very loyally. This cup would display its owner’s loyalty to a
particular team or racer.

“Each of these objects has a story to tell.

“It would take a space many times the size of Tullie House to tell them all.”

Nearly 600 digs have taken place in Carlisle over the last 30 years –
with large scale finds at Blackfriars Street, The Lanes and Carlisle

Along with the Roman objects there are items from excavations at the Cathedral which unearthed Viking burials.

There are medieval tools, and even costumes to try on.

John French, Tullie House’s marketing assistant, said: “Everyone here is really excited about the exhibition.

“It is aimed at the entire community – there are things here that will appeal to youngsters as well as history experts.”

Useful stuff on the OCR Community site

Agamemnon essay titles, Medea questions, Hippolytus questions, Tacitus test, Themes in the Odyssey (7 pages), introduction to epic (3 pages), notes to Oedipus Tyrannus (24 pages), Odyssey worksheets with answers (36 pages), intro and notes to OT (11 pages) –  these have all been  submitted to the OCR Classics Community pages this week.

Going back in time,  past exam papers (2003 and 2004) have been on the site since last December.

If you aren't a member yet, it would be worth your while to join, at

Just as when you join the ArLT Teachers' section, you will need to wait until you are personally admitted, but after that it all works easily, and you get an email notice of anything new.

Getting the ArLT website organised

Visitors to the For Teachers section of the ArLT website will find, under GCSE Classical Civilisation, a page for each topic in the syllabus, subdivided into sub-topics.

There are links to teaching materials on some of these pages, but by no means all. Anyone who has handouts and/or test papers on their computer that they would be willing to share is invited to help me populate those empty pages with useful stuff.

If you like to email them directly to me at david(at) that would be most welcome. If you have discovered Google Documents you could send your stuff up to Google Docs, click 'Publish' and send me the address of the web page (URL) that you are given. I can then insert a link to your page(s) on the page for the  appropriate part of the syllabus.


Melrose to Newstead history walk

21st centurion boys

HISTORY and the environment combine in today's five-mile walk from Melrose to Newstead.

The Trimontium Trust runs the weekly rambles from April until the end of October, revealing points of interest along the way.

“The walkers think it's wonderful, a relaxing walk with all these views,” said guide and volunteer Donald Gordon.

or fellow leader Ian Brown take hikers from the Roman Heritage Centre
in Melrose past the town's abbey along a path to Newstead where the
party loops around the Trimontium site covering 370 acres. The walkers
take in Leaderfoot Viaduct and see traces of the Roman fort, its
annexes and small amphitheatre, before having tea in the village hall.

said: “The views are superb. The high spot is the Leaderfood viaduct.
It's great fun and if we have a lovely sunny day it's wonderful.

(who haven't done the walk) say there's nothing to see in the fields
but that's why we're there to give the commentary and say 'that's what
this is' – the chat's important.

“There's the fort and
settlements all around it, the wee amphitheatre and the place where the
bridge was. We just point out all these things.

“And there are
always questions. It's not just about the Romans, there's the mediaeval
as well, and the environment. We could do an environment walk. We know
every flower and tree and plant and people do sometimes ask about, for
example, the butterflies.”

Walkers learn why the River Tweed does not flow down the middle of the Melrose valley, but slightly to the north.

said: “The Romans were great water engineers, they had various piles of
wood and this great big wall about 400m long, 8ft tall and 2ft wide.
It's a public right of way and people can walk on the wall, which has
fallen down in various places now.

“We joke with people if they
would like to do it they can practice on the village piano before they
go – but only if they don't have vertigo. We've had a few hairy moments
when husbands have forced wives to go.”

Guide Donald Gordon has
been a member of the volunteer-run Trimontium Trust since 1988 and the
trust has been running its informative walks since 1995.

Donald said: “Trimontium was the capital of the south of Scotland.

Romans came here three times: they could never make up their minds
about Scotland before eventually deciding we weren't worth it and
retiring down to behind Hadrian's Wall.

“Here's this huge natural asset to the Borders and, if it wasn't for us, nobody would bother their backsides about it.”

tea, walkers can choose to return by a number of different routes. The
afternoon walk costs £3 for adults, and dogs are welcome.

Review of Ruthless Romans on stage

From The Scotsman

Horrible Histories: The Ruthless Romans ***
Edinburgh Playhouse

WHEN in Rome, as they say, you might consider taking a guided tour.
But you'll probably not get the one about the “Ruthless Romans” that
Maisie finds when she goes on Vito's Voyages in Italy.

Based on the hugely successful children's book
series that aims to make history more interesting by focusing on the
gorier elements, Horrible Histories sees five actors play out the parts
of characters from Roman times, beginning with the tale of Romulus and
Remus, the founders of the Roman Empire.

Children's theatre is brilliant and it's a great shame that there's
not more of it. Or, for us childless types, a good enough excuse to go
and see it, so a little easy to understand – yet equally entertaining –
education doesn't go amiss. They even manage to incorporate history
into the odd dance number.

A giant back-screen video projection puts you right in the action,
with a musical score that is reminiscent of classic children's BBC
dramas on a Sunday afternoon before Christmas.

The character of Maisie is here as the voice of youth, making it
more fun and getting most of the laughs from the initially reluctant
PlayStation generation.

One fact that sees the mainly school group audience sit up is that
Roman girls got married at the age of 14. Here there are kids putting
their hands up to offer to be Maisie's husband. That's what all these
reality shows are doing to your children – any excuse to get on a

There are plenty more volunteers still when the cast look for
recruits to the Roman army. What's funnier still is how these
would-be-hard men seem less than keen when the lights go up and a
foreboding soldier storms into the audience.

The eventual choice is Calum, who only just pops up from behind the
shield he is given to hold. This must be the first recorded Roman
soldier in a tracksuit.

Speaking of reality shows, there's a very clever pastiche on The
Weakest Link, The Weirdest King, which even manages to include The X
Factor, although this time it's the Execution Factor, where the
audience has to vote between Emperors Tiberius, Caligula and Nero.

A great use of visual, lighting and video effects is made all the
better in the second act as ushers hand out Boggle Vision glasses to

These glasses bring the video screens to life further still, and
even the hardest person will probably flinch as spears and fireballs
appears to fly directly at you in 3D. There are screams and yelps from
the crowd, followed by nervous laughter. Don't be too concerned, these
are the same children that were shouting for a severed head to be
thrown at them ten minutes previously.

One of the most impressive moments of the entire production is when
you see how they've managed to fit the entire Colosseum on the stage of
the Playhouse.

Rome may not have been built in a day, but here you can certainly
learn a lot about it in significantly less time. But, if you'd rather
learn about the Awful Egyptians, there's an alternative show on every
day to suit your tastes.

George Buchanan today's ODNB Life

Those interested in post-Classical Latin may like to read the Life of George Buchanan, who wrote much Latin poetry, in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

This Life will be available for a week. Many UK residents who are members of their local Public Library can use their Library Card number to access the whole of this massive library of biographies at any time.

Teacher training in USA

MONMOUTH – Monmouth College is among only 14 schools in the United
States cited in U.S. News and World Report's 2008 “America's Best
Colleges” issue for offering Latin teacher education.

One of the few academic departments dating to the college's founding in
1853, Monmouth's classics department has continued to thrive in recent
years, despite a downward national trend in the offering of Latin and
Greek at the college level.

Read the rest

Carlisle Tullie House museum show: Carlisle Unearthed

Weird and wonderful

RARE, strange, beautiful and gruesome archaeological finds from digs in
Carlisle city centre are to go on show at Tullie House.

The Carlisle Unearthed exhibition, which opens on Saturday and runs
until January 20, covers nearly 2,000 years of the city’s history –
from the Romans to the Viking and medieval eras.

Among the digs highlighted are those prior to the transformation of The
Lanes into a shopping centre, the Luguvalium Fort excavations outside
Carlisle Castle, the Castle Street digs, excavations in Botcherby, the
Cumberland Infirmary and Marks & Spencer.

Arts and museums manager Hilary Wade said: “Opportunities to undertake
major archaeological excavations in cities are rare: Carlisle is very
lucky to have so much of its hidden history revealed.”

Star objects on display include an intricate glassware Chariot-racing cup displaying famous racers from Rome.

Visitors will see how citizens from across the Roman Empire worshipped
sporting heroes and bought souvenirs to show their support.

An amber ring which showcases the skills of Roman jewellers found
during The Lanes digs will also be on display, as will an intriguing
wooden comb inlaid with bronze carvings was found at the Castle digs.

The exhibition also aims to highlight the need for urban renewal in the late 20th century allowed these treasures to be found.

Latin Love Lessons by Charlotte Higgins

Thanks to Kristian Waite for drawing my attention to this:

How to be a Latin lover

all those modern guides to dating. If you want to find a partner, the
ancient Romans can tell you all you need to know. In an extract from
her new book, Charlotte Higgins explains what we can learn from Ovid's
Ars Amatoria

Read the article in the Guardian, which ends with this:

Extracted from Latin Love Lessons: Put a Little Ovid in Your
Life by Charlotte Higgins, published by Short Books on October 4 at
£12.99. To order a copy for £11.99 with free UK p&p go to or call 0870 836 0875. All English translations are from Peter Green's The Erotic Poems by Ovid (Penguin Classics).

Dr Who meets Romans in series 4

 Doctor Who is looking toga-tastic as the Time Lord hurtles back to the Roman Empire in the fourth series.

The Doctor arrives in Pompeii with his new assistant, Donna, the night
before the famous Mount Vesuvius volcano erupts – but should they warn

You'll have to wait and see, but TV insiders promise the episode is one of The Doctor's most adventurous yet.

Filming has been taking place in Rome in studios that were transformed to recreate the ancient city of Pompeii.

From CBBC Newsround