Listen to the talks, watch the powerpoint, all on your laptop

The Digital Classicist has been presenting papers in Malet Street during the summer, and I am at the moment listening to a talk about the Catalogue of Ships from Iliad 2, illustrated by PowerPoint.

The topics, all on the use of computers in the study of the Classics, may not appeal to everyone, but if you do have an interest, these talks are an excellent resource. Most are in mp3 format, with an abstract and either PPt or pdf.

Rich Scots attracted the Romans

From The Times

Mike Wade

archaeological dig in North East Scotland has laid bare the quality of
the opposition the Romans faced at the very fringes of their empire.

discovery of a tiny piece of a horse’s harness at a site at Birnie near
Elgin shows the tribe that lived there had wealth and prestige enough
to warrant the attention of the would-be invaders from the south.

harness, which was found along with a dagger and sheath, was almost
certainly part of a fixing from a chariot, “the Ferrari of the Iron
Age”, according to Fraser Hunter, the leader of the dig.

people were well connected and wealthy. It is no surprise that the
Romans should choose to do business with them. It was almost certainly
a means of keeping the boundaries of their empire intact,” he said.

Between the first and third
centuries AD, the Romans attempted twice to conquer Scotland, but in
the intervening years they tried to keep Scots at bay with bribes. Some
tribes were sweetened to fight others who were not so favoured – a
classic case of divide and rule, a policy beloved of dictators ever

Dr Hunter, curator of Iron Age of Roman Collections at
the National Museums of Scotland, said it was plain that the Birnie
group was favoured by Roman patronage because of the influence it
wielded in the area.

“This was essentially a big powerful
family group. There would have been others living in the area, but this
would have been one of the most important. The range of finds is
spectacular,” he said.

The site, which lies on farmland, first
came to the attention of archaeologists in 2000 after the discovery of
two hoards of Roman coins there. Since then two ancient roundhouses
have been found, with a third likely to be uncovered on Monday. Dr
Hunter said that aerial photography had shown that 15 roundhouses, each
with a diameter of about 16 metres, had been built on the site. Other
discoveries include a gold torc, glass beads and quernstones for
grinding corn. There is also evidence of smelting, casting and of a
blacksmith on the site.

It is probable that the rich farming
countryside close by accounted for the wealth of the settlement, which
is likely to have remained inhabited for at least 1,000 years from
800BC. “It’s not a coincidence that this part of Speyside would
eventually become so famous for its barley and its whisky. This was and
is good land for growing crops,” Dr Hunter said.

Some of the
finds offered new insights into the lives of the inhabitants. The
dagger and sword were both found in the roofs of houses, suggesting
they might have been left as gifts to the gods when the houses were
abandoned. Likewise, broken quernstones had been found that had
probably been deliberately destroyed.

One building had been
badly damaged in a fire. Dr Hunter speculated that a house might be
burnt if it had become associated with bad luck.

The Moray
Forth represented the limits of the Roman invasion of Scotland. When
the bribes of silver coins proved insufficient to quell powerful groups
like those at Birnie, the Emperor Septimius Severus led his troops
north in the third century. “There was no climactic battle, but he
certainly got to Aberdeen and possibly as far as the Moray Firth. But
areas there were never settled; the Romans just campaigned right
through,” Dr Hunter said.

More Bank Holiday Roman soldiery

From the Bridlington Free Press

Romans of the Comitatus Group filled the grounds of Sewerby Hall with
battle cries and galloping hoofs over the bank holiday weekend.
services officer Graeme Harvey said: “Considering the poor weather we
had a cracking weekend. More than 4,000 visitors enjoyed the events.

due to the saturated ground, the East Yorkshire Thoroughbred Car Rally
had to be moved to Sewerby Fields, however more than 300 classic
vehicles made their annual pilgrimage to the coast and they had a
fantastic day.

“The Romans put on a brilliant show.”

The full article contains 95 words and appears in Bridlington Free Press newspaper.
Page 1 of 1

Lists of ‘soft’ A levels

The Times has an article on what subjects to avoid if you are trying to impress certain top universities. Whether it is tactful for Classics teachers to have these lists on their notice boards, or during Year 9 parents’ evenings, you will have to decide.

I reproduce only the first para and the LSE and Cambridge lists. Refer to the original article for other wise advice.
With GCSE results out tomorrow, teenagers across the country will be
deciding what to study next. But beware, some A levels are not good
bets for some universities, as the Good University Guide’s John O’Leary explains..

See below for the lists of “soft” subjects to beware of at A level.

London School of Economics list

• Accounting
• Art and Design
• Business Studies
• Communication Studies
• Design and Technology
• Drama/Theatre Studies*
• Home Economics
• Information and Communication Technology
• Law
• Media Studies
• Music Technology
• Sports Studies
• Travel and Tourism

Cambridge list

A levels

• Accounting
• Art and Design
• Business Studies
• Communication Studies
• Dance
• Design and Technology
• Drama/Theatre Studies
• Film Studies
• Health and Social Care
• Home Economics
• Information and Communication Technology
• Leisure Studies
• Media Studies
• Music Technology
• Performance Studies
• Performing Arts
• Photography
• Physical Education
• Sports Studies
• Travel and Tourism


• Business and Management
• Design and Technology
• Information Technology in a Global Society
• Theatre Arts
• Visual Arts

Studies and Critical Thinking A levels will only be considered as
fourth A level subjects and not as part of a conditional offer.