Francis Holland School Classics Department launches a resources site

Steven Jenkin of Francis Holland School has contacted us to tell about his website. It is all to the good to have another place to share teaching resources, to add to OCR's Classics Community and ARLT's own Teachers' Section.

I’ve designed a website, where Classics teachers around the country, or internationally, can upload resources of their own, to share with others. The site is organised by subject and key stage, and should be simple to navigate. From all I can discover, there’s no other site that does this, or at least does this comprehensively for all classical subjects (irrespective of examining board) at every key stage from 2 to 5. I am considering including key stage 1, if we think there would be sufficient interest. I have also included pages on classical associations and on specifications, which will expand and be updated very regularly, to help people access the information they might need, should it be specification-specific.

The simplest thing would be for you to visit the site:

You’ll find that my department (at Francis Holland School, NW1) have already started uploading documents. I am currently contacting colleagues and other classical associations to call on people to view the site and share their resources. I will also be writing to Aisha Khan and Bob Lister to encourage their PGCE students to take full advantage.

You’ll notice that the url of the classics library is part of my department site, in which you might also be interested:

I hope this all seems clear and helpful. Potentially, I think this could be an extremely beneficial resource for classicists: it’s true that its usefulness is determined by the regularity of uploads.

Steve Jenkin

Latin linguists bring title to Madeira – good publicity for Latin

Perhaps we need inter-school competitions as well as the CICERO competition, so that schools that do well can spread the word in their local papers. Notice that ther teacher in this winning school talked Latin from lesson one.
Cincinnati Community Press and Recorder

Latin linguists bring title to Madeira


MADEIRA – Latin is alive and well at Madeira High School, and now they have the trophy to prove it.

Fifty-five members of the Latin Club traveled to Columbus in early March to compete in – and win – the 58th annual Ohio Junior Classical League State Convention.

It was the team's first victory in 17 trips to the state competition, which this year attracted about 700 students.

When the second-place winner was announced, the Madeira students knew they had finally done it and erupted into spontaneous cheers.

“I've never heard a sound that loud,” said student Tori Neuman.

Teams at the state convention are tested on a battery of Latin knowledge, including language skills and history.

Students are also rated on theme-based creative endeavors such as an audio/visual display and a skit.

This year's theme was “Humanius est deridere vitam quam deplorare” – a Latin aphorism by Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger meaning, “It is better to laugh at life than to cry about it.”

Though Latin is a “dead” language and not often used except in academia and in religion, that hasn't swayed these students from passionately pursuing their studies.

David Kunkel pointed out that many of the words we use and much of Western civilization are based on Latin Roman civilization.

“I think it's interesting to see the culture and seeing how things our society is based on were started back then,” he said.

Students credit the passion and joy their teacher Kay Fluharty has for the language as among the reasons they are successful and continue their studies.

Many of her students have been with her for five years.

Said Karen Bullock, “From day one in eighth grade, she comes in and starts speaking Latin.”

“We thought, 'What are you talking about?'”

Fluharty says she is serious about Latin, but gives the credit to the students who, after all, spend untold hours working at non-required competitions.

“I'm so proud of them,” Fluharty said.

“Are you kidding?”

Mary Beard is to debate about Socrates

From her blog
Preparations are now apace for our TLS debate in Oxford tomorrow: would you accept a dinner invitation with Socrates? Beard, in case you didn’t already know/guess, is on the NO THANKS side (along with fellow sceptic Tom Holland). Those thinking that they would reply with a YES PLEASE are Oliver Taplin and MM McCabe.

I am already, I must confess, resigned to defeat. For a start I have never been known to win in debates like this (not enough punchy, simple , populist rhetoric??). I managed to lose when I was standing up for the Parthenon in a head to head with the Alhambra, championed by Robert Irwin. His pitch was that the Alhambra was very very beautiful indeed. Mine was that the Parthenon not only stood for the whole of western culture, having been pagan temple, church and mosque – but that it also affected us more qua ruin, than any complete building ever could. True – but not a winner in the rhetorical cut and thrust.

Then last year I managed to lose in the Greeks versus Romans debate at Cheltenham. I lost so badly in fact that the Greeks registered more votes at the end of the session than they did at the beginning. In other words my inventions actually lost the Romans some of the votes they already had. The problem is that Hellenophiles find it so easy to stand up and bang on about well springs/originary moments of Western culture: QED. (It is what I should have done when speaking for the Parthenon….)

So what am I going to say about Socrates?

Not sure yet (I write carefully, in case the opposition take a peek).

There’s obviously the points about the lack of women, the aggressive homosociality, the dreadful food and ghastly wine. Easy hits. Anyone with an eye to food would choose dinner with Trimalchio before dinner with Socrates. Then of course there is the dire political legacy…”Our” Socrates wasn’t a nice cuddly Western liberal.
Read the rest

Classical Association conference report by Philip Howard

From The Times

All roads still lead to Rome, and from Rome. A paper given to the Classical Association conference in Liverpool by Professor Alessandro Barchiesi of Verona and Siena Universities discusses how Romans invented the notion of comprising the whole world in their single city.

Rome conquered Alexandria in 30BC. It was the only time that a single power dominated the entire Mediterranean basin. In one sense this was just another Roman conquest. But Alexandria is a special place: the cosmopolis for all races, countries, colours and creeds. Cultivated Romans saw their conquest as a seismic shift from Republic to Empire.

For Alexandria influenced (and still influences) our poetry and urban architecture. Because of “wicked” Cleopatra, Romans perceived Alexandria as fascinating, but also dangerous. The city defied safe old Roman categories such as “Barbarian” and “Greek”. It was too modern for the Archaio-Con Romans – an artificial colonial capital that was also the gateway to a much older and more alien culture.

Some poets (Virgil) express triumph, but also shock and revulsion at the annexation of Egypt. Others (Propertius and Horace) praise Augustus with Alexandrian panegyrics, but with a sense of difficulty and reluctance. But the one who seems to be enthusiastic about Rome as the new Alexandria (Ovid) advocates a politically incorrect Rome: Rome as a multicultural cosmopolis of sexual and other disreputable and un-Roman excitements.

Read the rest.

Obituary of Robert Fagles

From the Washington Post

Robert Fagles, 74, a Princeton University professor whose translations of the three great epics of the classical world — “The Iliad,” “The Odyssey” and “The Aeneid” — have been recognized as enduring literary works in their own right, died March 26 of prostate cancer at his home in Princeton, N.J.

Dr. Fagles was one of the few scholars to translate all three epic poems, which are considered the fountainhead of Western literature. His translations, written in clear, simple English that retained the dignity of the Greek and Latin originals, became unexpected bestsellers.

Read the rest, with photo.

Many other papers have obituaries of Robert Fagles, e.g.
New York Times, and from his own university, Princeton, The Daily Princetonian.

Poulton's Roman past discovered

From the Blackpool Gazette

WORKMEN digging new sewers have unearthed part of Poulton's Roman past.

The remains of a Roman roundhouse, thought to date back to the second century, were discovered as United Utilities were working on a new pipeline project, on grazing land near Garstang Road East.

The amazing find was unearthed five weeks ago as work on a £10m sewer improvement scheme began. As is the case with any large scheme, an archaeologist was present on-site in case anything of historic interest appeared. Within hours of the workmen moving in, it became clear that a significant discovery had been made.

Alison Plummer, from the Lancaster office of Oxford Archaeology, which works with United Utilities, said: “As the topsoil was stripped away, we realised we were looking at something very exciting and rare.

“Finds like this are very rare in Lancashire, and especially rare in this area, there are only two other Roman roundhouses that we know of in the county – one outside Lancaster and one near Lathom.

“Our team of 10 archaeologists are now working at the football pitch-sized site, painstakingly uncovering and documenting what remains of the Romano-British roundhouse which is around 10m diameter.”

A small amount of black burnished ware pottery, thought to date from around the second century, has been found which has helped experts date the roundhouse.

The remains of the house, which the team believe would have been a dwelling house, include an outside drainage gulley, holes for the timber support posts, some cobbles and a storage pit.

The archaeological team believe they have also discovered signs of a further roundhouse a few metres away, suggesting this could have been the site of an early settlement.

Local people are invited to see the site for themselves tomorrow as part of an open day before the site is covered over once more.

Poulton-based archaeologist Pascal Eloy said: “This is such an important find and it really re-writes Poulton's history.

“Previously there was a big gap in history in this area, so it is really exciting to have this link with the Romans here.”

The site will be open between 11am and 3pm for members of the public to see the discoveries.

The team is appealing to people to keep away at other times in case the site is disturbed.

Archaeologists will be on-site for the next two weeks documenting every detail of their finds and taking photographs which will eventually form the basis of an information archive.

Castleford Roman Festival

From Pontefract and Castleford Express

Roman festival

By Staff Copy

TOWNSFOLK can celebrate the changing of the seasons at Castleford's first-ever Roman spring festival.

On Saturday April 12, Roman legionnaires, costumed craftworkers and a themed market will take over the town’s Carlton Street for the historical spectacular.

The festival takes place from 10am to 4pm and is part of the Time Travellers project, organised by Wakefield Council and sponsored by Yorkshire Renaissance.

Gloucester reenactments

From the Birmingham Mail.

DR Who may be materialising in Gloucester this summer, but visitors won't need a Tardis to travel back in time during April.

Over one weekend more than 90 displays and activities a day will see Romans back on the historic streets of Gloucester along with medieval knights, Vikings, Victorian sailors and World War II military vehicles.

While Gloucester hosts a Dr Who convention in June celebrating the hit BBC TV time traveller series, hundreds of re-enactors will transform the city for the Through The Ages Live festival on April 19-20.

History and heritage are second nature to one of England's top cathedral cities, but the festival will bring Gloucester's past to life.

Saturday will see a grand parade from the Cathedral to the historic docks featuring St George on horseback while other special guests include Henry VIII and his wives. Roman encampments will appear once again on the streets along with medieval knights while English civil war scenes will be re-created and Victorian classrooms set-up.

At the Historic docks, replica Roman, Viking and 18th Century boats will also be on display, complete with Nelsonian and Victorian sailors.

Main events will be centred around the cathedral and the docks although the action takes place throughout the city centre. But the weekend will not be just about watching: there will also be have-a-go sessions including medieval circus skills and archery.

For full details visit www.

From Anne Dicks on this year's CICERO Latin competition

I thought you would like to know that preparations for the second European 6th Form CICERO competition (to be held at Malvern St James on April 18th) are well under way. We are delighted with the number of entrants, some of whom will be travelling quite a distance to get to us. You can see details on the multi-lingual website I have created for the competition .

This year we have France, Italy, Spain and Andorra joining us and I have been liaising with my European colleagues to finalise the questions : a translation from Latin and questions on the myth of Hercules. Anyone who doubts the value of learning Latin should take note that it actually provides a valid reason for young people across Europe to interact with each other as well as exercising their brains!

The one sad thing about this year's competition is that it proved absolutely impossible for all countries to agree on the same date, so it is taking place at two different times : Saturday 29th March for France and Italy and Friday 18th April for Spain, Andorra and the UK (this will be the main video-conferencing date). The good news is that I am travelling out to Lodi, just outside Milan, for the Italian competition which will be taking place in a prestigious building – the public Library. It will be great to meet Alessandra and Annalisa who are the Italian organisers, and I will send you some photos as soon as I can. I will ask Patrick to send photos of the competition in Paris and Jean-Luc to send some from Strasbourg.

We are really grateful for support from Boris Johnson, Lindsey Davis, Tony Robinson, Ashley Carter, Barbara Bell, Guy de la Bedoyere and Sir Anthony Cleaver as well as many Classical organisations (and it is still not too late to enter the competition: students might be interested to know that there are substantial cash prizes to be won as well as a beautiful silver trophy).

I will be in touch!
from Anne

Anne Dicks

Pyrrha's Roman Pages

CICERO Latin competition

A wealth of Summer Schools

I have been updating our Classical Calendar with Summer Schools and other Classical events. June begins to get busy. August is well peppered with dates. July is as crowded as can be.

In pride of place among these Summer Schools is the grand-daddy of them all, the ever fresh ARLT Summer School. I say the grand-daddy of them all, because this Summer School will soon be coming up to its centenary. There's been discussion about whether to count from the very first Summer School held by Rouse, or from the foundation of the ARLT a little later. Watch this space.

To see the Summer Schools for pupils/students in a list rather than on a calendar, try the JACT site.

I notice that the eight-week intensive course in Cork University is advertised as good for teachers whose schools are intending to introduce, or re-introduce Latin or Greek into the timetable. That's something that might be more widely advertised.