ARLT INSET in Cambridge

The annual INSET Day (Refresher Day) will be held on Saturday 7th March at Cherry Hinton Hall, Cambridge, home of the Cambridge International School, beginning at 10.30am. The director is Russell Lord, and the course secretary is Tracey Headland.

The cost, including lunch and all refreshments, is just £25.

There will be one keynote address, and the rest of the day will be taken up with discussion groups on topics that are relevant to practising teachers. Follow the link below for an application form, and for an invitation to introduce a group discussion on a topic you feel is important.

See the details here.

Yorkshire Museum refurbishment

The Press

YORK’S oldest museum is to get a £2 million makeover.

When it reopens on August 1 next year, following a nine-month refurb, visitors to the Yorkshire Museum will be able to walk in the footsteps of dinosaurs, “swim” with the Loch Ness Monster, and come face to face with “real” Romans.

Virtually the whole interior of the Grade I listed Georgian museum will be stripped out. Natural light will be able to flood through the ceiling skylights, modern interior walls will be removed to create a more open feel, and there will be views from inside the museum of St Mary’s Abbey just outside.

The centrepiece of the new-look museum will be the central hall. Visitors will come face to face with a 2,000-year-old life-size Roman statue of the god Mars as they enter. In the centre of the floor will be a huge map of the Roman Empire, that they can sit around and even walk across.

Most of the rest of the museum will be divided up into three permanent galleries. These will be:

* Extinct: A Way Of Life. Visitors will be able to walk in the footsteps of dinosaurs, fossilised in stone and set into the floor. Against the walls will hang giant fossils of extinct marine reptiles from the Yorkshire coast – including a giant ichthyosaur and a plesiosaur, generally thought to be the “model” for the Loch Ness Monster. The gallery will tell the story of extinction – from the death of the dinosaurs to the threat to species endangered today.

* Eboracum: Face To Face With The Romans. The exhibition will focus on telling the story of real people who lived in York in Roman times – including that of a standard bearer of the lost Ninth legion. The museum has his tombstone, complete with a picture of the young Roman and biographical details.

* York: The Power And The Glory. The museum’s basement will be completely opened up for the third major gallery. Windows looking out over St Mary’s Abbey will be uncovered, and will be fronted with stained glass, that will flood the gallery with coloured light. The gallery will tell the story of York in medieval times, from the Anglian period, when the city was capital of Northumbria, through Viking times to late medieval York. The Yorkshire Museums Trust, which runs the city’s museums, has already secured £1.4 million of funding for the project – half of it from City of York Council, and the remainder through funding applications.

Curator of archaeology Andrew Morrison said he was “quietly confident” the museum would be able to secure the rest.

Janet Barnes, the York Museums Trust’s chief executive, said the refurbishment would create a museum in which to “proudly show off York’s treasures”.

“The Yorkshire Museum is home to a thousand stories which can be told through some of the most significant archaeological finds and scientific collections in Europe,” she said.

“It is the aim of York Museums Trust to give such objects and stories their deserved place.”

Work is scheduled to start in November. The museum will be closed until it reopens to the public on August 1 – Yorkshire Day – in 2010.

Mr Morrison and the museum’s head of learning, Amy Parkinson, will be at the building in Museum Gardens from 1pm to 3pm on Saturday and Sunday – Residents First weekend – to answer questions.

* Inside the new Yorkshire Museum: see tomorrow’s Press for more details of the £2 million makeover.

‘Learning me your language’ conference

I have been sent a notice and programme for a 2-day conference at Yale, March 20-21.

Bob Lister is among the speakers.

The theme is teaching Latin and Greek as second languages, first in antiquity, secondly in the middle ages, and finally today.

The idea of crossing the Atlantic for a short visit reminds me of an experience that my brother had 20 or 30 years ago.

He had gone to the States for a longish residential conference, leaving his wife at home in Sheffield. He was, I think, the only European at the conference, and when the final evening’s dinner was drawing near, the others realised that he would be the only person there without a spouse, and secretly had a whip-round to raise the fare for Elizabeth to fly over for the evening. The famed American generosity in action, and the American attitude of ‘Why not do it?’.

She, however, thought like an Englishwoman, and declined the generous offer.

But perhaps a trip across the pond for 2 days is not out of the question!

CICERO competition 2009

News from Anne Dicks:

Cicero 2009This year’s European CICERO competition will take place on Saturday March 21st at Cranleigh School in Surrey, with the usual glittering array of prizes. There is an advertising flyer and an entry form to download on the UK page of the competition’s website

Golden Sponge Stick Award – the results

The Bath Royal High School competition for Roman-based fiction s now been judged.

See the full report here.

Primary school Roman Day report

Littlehampton Gazette (with picture)

Published Date: 26 January 2009
A FUN-FILLED day as roaming Romans was experienced by youngsters at West Park First and Middle School.
Pupils in years two and three at the school in Marlborough Road, Goring, spent the day learning what life would have been like in the Roman army.

They made their own shields, designed mosaics, acted out the Roman invasion and enjoyed a Roman feast.

There was also a guest appearance by an emperor, also known as Peter Neale, the head teacher, and an expert on Roman life gave a talk.

Rebecca Wren, first school leader, said: “The children’s costumes were wonderful and the day was a fantastic success.”

‘Latinum’ and ‘Schola’ websites flourishing

Evan Millner has clearly found a winning formula with his podcast version of an existing Latin course. The figures he reports make you wonder how many commuters with their mp3 players are not listening to their favourite pop singers but are actually absorbing the ablative absolute on their way home from work.

Anyway, congratulations to Evan on what he has done and is continuing to do for Latin.

More cheering news:

Latinum ( a simple google search for ‘latinum’ or ‘latin podcast’ will find it at the top of the list ) is approaching its second anniversary. The entire Adler course is almost all online – all 97 lessons of it, offering several hundred hours of structured Latin tuition.

In addition, Latinum offers a growing selection of Latin readings, and a huge vocabulary learning resource, neo-Latin colloquia, and resources specifically targetted at GCSE.

Over 3 300 000 ( 3 million three hundred thousand) individual audio episodes have been downloaded from Latinum so far, rather a lot of Latin.

Schola on has its first anniversary at the end of the month, with over 780 members. People join every day. Schola now has a real time chatroom, which gets busy every day, with people forming friendships with others who have only Latin as a shared language of communication.
Schola also offers blog posts, a forum, Latin videos, and a huge photolexicon with over 3 500 labelled images.

Evan Millner.

Nice big photo of Etruscan gold diadem

Here’s the link. It’s from Art Daily, and the diadem is part of an Etruscan exhibition touring the USA.

Centurion at the Colosseum – a cautionary tale

A warning for anyone taking a school party to visit the Colosseum, from the Glasgow Herald

A funny thing happened on the way to the Colosseum. My 11-year-old son and I are on a guys’ long weekend in Rome. It’s just the two of us, getting away from all the make-up, girly soap operas, reality TV and raspberry-scented bath aroma at home.

As an antidote, we settle on grisly history and ice-cream. So we book one of those Ryanair penny flights – excluding airport tax – and here we are, happily taking in the sights on the Via Cavour in the Eternal City when we are set upon by a centurion with a plastic helmet and a glint in his eye.

Perhaps the centurion notices me watching him as he leans on a railing amid the splendour of the Via dei Fori Imperiali, smoking an early-morning cigarette and talking to Caesar in a bedsheet toga. Now he throws down his cigarette, picks up a wooden sword and pounces upon us.

“Yo,” he exclaims like a New York mugger, except this guy is wearing a pleated red mini-skirt and cape. Suddenly, the centurion is in our faces. He slips his toilet-brush helmet on to my son’s head and presses the sword to his throat.

“Photo, photo,” he cries.

My son looks distinctly uneasy. I pull out my camera and snap two pictures, and he lets the boy go.

In one continuous motion, the centurion slips the toilet-brush off my son’s head and plonks it on mine. Impressive, but I’m not in the mood. We want to get to the Colosseum, and I feel stupid standing in the heart of Imperial Rome wearing a toilet brush.

If we weren’t being mugged, I might mention to my son that the Via dei Fori Imperiali was built on the orders of the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini in the 1930s to link the Colosseum and the Forum with Piazza Venezia.

“No, grazie,” I tell the centurion, removing the helmet.

“Fine,” he says, holding out his hand. “Per favore, 45.” By my reckoning, that’s an exorbitant £35. The glint in the centurion’s eye now turns to menace. I offer him 5 and he hurls an unpublishable stream of vitriol at me. There’s nothing to do but run.

My son and I head swiftly toward the Colosseum. When I turn, I see the centurion waving his sword in anger. “I knew this would be a big adventure,” my son says.

I knew Rome was the perfect getaway for a father and son. It’s hard to go wrong with gladiators, lions, imperial legions, pizza and ice-cream. Some 300 yards later, the Colosseum rises before us with a singular heft. The place throngs with tourists and more centurions with toilet-brush helmets offering guided tours.

“Don’t worry. We’ll get a real guide,” I say. And, to distract him, I add: “They’ve had 2000 years to fix this place up, and look at it.”

Mick Jagger and Latin

Sunday Telegraph

Sir Mick Jagger’s interest in Latin is generally thought to be confined to his choice of women – who have included Bianca Jagger, a Nicaraguan; Luciana Morad, a Brazilian; and Vanessa Neumann, from Venezuela. The 65-year-old Rolling Stones singer has now revealed a fascination for Latin, the ancient language.

Sir Mick was looking around Latymer Upper School recently with Gabriel, his 11-year son by Jerry Hall, when he was shown into a classroom where a Latin lesson was taking place. The singer looked at the words on the board and found to his delight that he could understand them.

“He was thrilled that he could read it all,” says my man at the school, at which Gabriel may start in September, subject to passing an exam.

The fees for the west London school, which has been fully co-educational since 2004, are £13,470 a year. Sadly for Sir Mick, who is known to keep a close eye on the purse strings, Gabriel is unlikely to qualify for a means-tested scholarship.

Last year, Mandrake disclosed that Alan Rickman, who played Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films, was paying for a bursary at his alma mater. The actor followed in the footsteps of Hugh Grant and Mel Smith, his fellow Old Latymerians, who already fund bursaries.