Roman Festival in York – ‘forum or against them’

From The Press

By Richard Harris »

ROMAN legions and Barbarian hordes will be back in York later this month when the city’s Roman Festival returns.

The event takes place over the weekend of October 25 and 26 and will be staged in the Museum Gardens, where a Roman encampment will be set up.

Co-organiser Keith Mulhearn said the free event, which will be open from 11am to 5pm on both days, will have dozens of different things for people to see.

He said: “There’ll be gladiators doing battle, Barbarians, Romans, a potter, weaver, wood turner and belly dancers.

“Things will be kicked off on the Saturday with a march around the city centre starting at Bootham Bar at 11.30am.”

He said all the Romans based in the gardens at the living history camp would be cooking, washing and sleeping there for the duration of the weekend.

This year there will be a night–time event at the camp for which there will be an entry charge, but which will include Roman food and drink.

Another attraction which is new to this year’s festival is the inclusion of a Roman bus tour around the city.

York-based bus company York Pullman will be offering people an opportunity of two tours for the price of one.

Visitors and residents will be able to buy a ticket for the standard trip around the city, but will also be able to use it for one of the specially-decorated Roman theme buses.

Apart from the bus looking the part, the guide will also be dressed in Roman garb and will be pointing out significant sites which are linked with the Roman occupation.

Keith said: “We have always tried to make the Roman festival fun and appealing to everyone.

“It’s all about providing information in an interesting way and I can think of no better way to learn about York’s Roman past than taking a ride around the city on an open top bus, whatever the weather.”

Tom James, who is the managing director of York Pullman, said: “York Pullman are proud to be part of this Roman Festival and look forward to providing top-quality, value-for-money tours for our visitors.”

Test on Cicero in Catilinam now on website

Thanks to Hilary Walters for a 30 minute new AS style test on in Catilinam 1 which is on the ArLT website.

To access this you will need to be registered for the ‘For Teachers’ section (find For Teachers in the left hand menu and follow instructions).

Cicero First Catiline – an edition with lots of help

A card through the door today from Bolchazy-Carducci sent me to their website to investigate their book and DVD on the First Catilinarian.

Sample pages of the book are here.

It gives running vocab and syntax notes (“a skillful mix of hints, explanations, and brief translations of impossibly difficult clauses.”)

The edition, first published in 1997, is designed for intermediate students, and the reviewer (Dale Grote, University of North Carolina) said he used it with second year Latinists.

Perhaps this edition would be good particularly for independent learners, as i does give a great deal of help.

The DVD has, according to the description, five hours of video lectures which “illustrate how to translate every sentence of Cicero’s In Catilinam I without actually translating the sentence.” They use an interactive white-board to analyse ever sentence of the speech.

The website says:

  • Live lectures using computerized whiteboard technology analyzing every sentence of the speech
    » parts of sentences highlighted in color
    » arrows linking adjectives to the nouns they modify
    » speech bubbles that identify the part of speech or use of certain words
    » example sentences that appear between the lines of the text when a grammatical concept is presented using an English sentence
  • Word lists divided by frequency and parts of speech for study and review
  • Line-by-line concordance

Again, this looks ideal for independent learners.

Evan Millner sets up ‘Foedus Latinum’

Subject: Foedus Latinum

Pater Foster’s announcement a couple of years ago, heralding  the death
of Latin as a spoken living language within the Church – a place that
had nurtured the language and kept it alive for millennia after the
fall of the Roman Empire – galvanised me – it was one of the things
that motivated me to set up Latinum. An extinct language is a great
loss to the world – millions are spend protecting iconic species, such
as the white rhino – but the loss of a language – as a living organism
– especially such a noble and valuable language as Latin, would be a
terrible loss indeed. Latinum, and your participation in using the
Latinum course, puts you in a very special place – as a language
eco-warrior, to use a current expression favoured by the British Press.

Now let us take this analogy a step further – an organism needs a
habitat, an ecosystem. Languages, as organisms, no less so than ones of
flesh and blood. If you persevere with the Latinum course, the time
will come when, perhaps somewhat to your astonishment – you will be
able to open your mouth, and speak in Latin – maybe not so well, but
certainly well enough to have managed to get along quite well in the
ancient Roman Empire. This ability to speak will be accompanied by a
new-found reading fluency – making reading Latin into a joy, and not a
chore. You’ll stand a chance of getting through the entire corpus of
Roman literature in your lifetime, and have time over to read works of
mediaeval and Renaissance Latin literature to boot – something you’d
not have a hope of being able to do without advanced fluency.

But, I am straying from my point – the need for a habitat. When you
find you are able to speak, human nature will kick in, and you’ll want
to find others to speak with. This is all very well if you’re in
London. What if you’re in Peking, or Singapore, or one of the cities in
Australia where there are large concentrations of users of the Latinum
course? How will you find others to get together with to share a beer
with and a few stumbling words of Latin?

I have set up a series of websites, under the banner of Foedus Latinum.
The Foedus Latinum – of ‘Latin League’ – was the original loose group
of city states on the plain of latinum, that eventually lead to the
Roman State. The name also translates as “Alliance Latine”, and indeed,
In doing this, I was directly inspired by the history of the Alliance
Francaise, which nowadays provides a habitat for French in cities
across the globe. Each branch of the A F is independent, and functions
like a little club. The organisation took decades to establish, groups
in each city growing slowly from very humble, and small beginnings. One
has to start somewhere.

There are not enough Latin speakers to set up such a robust
organisation – but what is needed – if Latin is to survive to the end
of this Century and beyond – is something similar – a place where you
can find others living near to you, who are interested in Latin, others
who are using the Latinum lessons, and who will, after two to three
years, be able to speak the language, and who will, as is only natural,
want to seek out others to try to speak it with.

The Foedus Latinum is a series of websites, each of them a social
website, where you can sign in, and make a small homepage. The sites
are in a variety of languages – so that you can find people in your
area, and contact them in your own language. MY expectation is that it
will take about ten years to populate the Foedus Latinum sites. At
present, if you look at the site for your area of the world, it will
probably still be empty. Do join. If there is no sub-group for your
city or country in the site, then feel free to make one. I have set up
a few in each group, so that you can see what is intended.

My hope is that, in the long term, some of these online clusters will
meet off-line, and form groups like the small (and growing) group
organised by Keith Rogers, that meets in London once a month – and
other groups like it worldwide. There are already some active groups in
existence, under the banner of the Circulus Latinus, so if you are in a
city where one of the few active Circulus Latinus groups is meeting,
you could pop along to one of those – however, these groups, at
present, are as rare as hen’s teeth, and have not been growing or
spreading. The Foedus Latinum is not intended to overtake the existing
structure – but to supplement it – using social networking sites to
create a seeding environment, that will help strengthen the existing
groups, and provide, in the very long term, a seeding ground for new

So, if you’re in Iran, or the Gulf States, or somewhere in the Orient,
or indeed, anywhere in the world, take a look at the main Foedus
Latinum webpage – and find you own country’s group, and sign in. If you
do this, you’ll be doing your bit to help create an environment, a
habitat, for Latin once again to live in. Latin is an endangered
species – there is no doubt about this – but the cause is by no means

The goal here, is to remove it from the endangered list.

So, apart from making the effort, and exhorting you to study regularly,
I also exhort you to click on the link to the Foedus Latinum page on
the main Latinum webpage , on the sidebar – and sign in to the Foedus.

You can find the link to the Foedus Latinum homepage on Latinum’s main page on the sidebar.