Start your own classroom museum?

If you have browsed my personal website, www.parsonsd.co.uk, you will have seen that I am keen on using Roman artifacts, genuine if possible, but repro if necessary, to help bring the ancient world to life in lessons.

So I was interested to find that a Roman glass jug has just been sold on e-bay for just $9.90.


This makes the point that starting your own museum need not be too expensive. Greek decorated pottery may be out of our league, but items from Roman daily life could be affordable. Even coins, if you don't insist on fine quality.

Incidentally, the ARLT has collections of such objects for loan. They are best picked up at Summer School or Refresher Day, to avoid the postage to you on the bulky protective housing, though you do have to send them back. See Resources for Classics.

Incidentally, today brought news of a Dudley Museum's award for presenting an exhibition in the Romans on a small budget (Dudley News):

At the Renaissance West Midlands Awards on Thursday April 3, The Red House Glass Cone in Wordsley won best exhibition for a small budget' for its Romans exhibition.

It can be done.

Appian Way being vandalised by the rich

From the International Herald Tribune

In ancient times the Appian Way, which links Rome to the southern city of Brindisi, was known as the regina viarum, the queen of the roads. But these days its crown appears to be tarnished by chronic traffic congestion, vandalism and, some of its guardians grumble, illegal development.

“Look at this!” bristled Rita Paris, the Italian state archaeological official responsible for the Appian Way, peering through a weathered bamboo screen lining the road while bumpily maneuvering her car through a patch of uneven ancient stones. “You can bet that it was once a canopy that was walled in and transformed into a home.”

A bit farther on she fumed about a plant nursery that had become a restaurant, without planning permission, a cistern that had morphed into a swimming pool, and the new villas tacked on to ancient monuments. Several are rented out for wedding receptions or society balls, which makes for a steady stream of traffic – and occasionally, “fireworks,” Paris said with a shudder.

Read the rest, with picture

Roman attitudes to disability – a good article from a wheelchair

Teachers who are aware of the need to discuss moral and social questions in the context of the ancient world will do well to read and perhaps print out this piece from the New Statesman Extracts follow, but you will want the whole article.

View from my wheelchair – Victoria Brignell on life as a disabled person.

Victoria Brignell works as a radio producer with the BBC. After reading classics at Downing College, Cambridge, she undertook journalism training at Cardiff University. She lives in West London and is 30 years old and is a tetraplegic wheelchair-user.

Since I was a child I’ve been fascinated by the ancient world. Indeed, spurred on by two evangelical Latin teachers, I decided to read Classics at university – and proceeded to spend numerous happy and fulfilling hours translating the rude and sexually explicit parts of Latin poetry. (I can say with total confidence that you’ll never hear Catullus’s poem 41 read out on Radio 4’s Poetry Please).

Many aspects of ancient Rome are familiar to us. Think of the Romans and we conjure up images of mosaics, baths, aqueducts, the Coliseum and Pompeii. But what do we know about disability in the Roman Empire? What role did disabled peopleplay in Roman society? What were Roman attitudes towards disability?

The whole article is a hard look at the less than attractive way that disabled people were treated, from a lover of the Classics. Do read it here.

By the way, the three comments already posted on the New Statesman site are all enthusiastic, e.g.

What a fantastic article and the first time I've heard a good argument for learning Latin!