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.