Latin flourishing – more evidence

Eastern Wake News

KNIGHTDALE — Latin is not a dead language at Knightdale High School where students create Roman plays and translate Latin roots to master tough English vocabulary.

And the program has spread as fast as the fire that devastated Rome during Nero’s mythical fiddling.

“Many people might not expect an ancient language to have such a hold on a relatively new high school in eastern Wake County,” said Latin teacher Michele DeCamp. “Even I have been amazed at the growing popularity of the new program.”

Started three years ago with 40 students, the Latin progam now has about 100, said DeCamp. She’s seen classes double from three to six classes.

“It’s great if you’re going to learn how to speak lots of languages,” said Jon Hughes, 18, a senior. “It helps you with Spanish, French, Italian, and of course, English.”

Hughes plans to minor in Latin in college.

Latin also translates into mastering difficult vocabulary, Hughes said.

He figured out that nocturnal means night on an English vocabulary test because the Latin root noct also means night.

“It’s really interesting,” said junior Maria Juarez, 17. “We learn about the Roman culture and how they talked.”

Junior Chris Deese, 17, was struck by the fact that gladiators sometimes committed suicide to avoid fighting. “I never knew that,” he said.

Gladiators, who were slaves, were treated like pieces on an Emperor’s game board and could be ordered to fight to the death, Deese said.

A gladiator might escape such a fight if he was a crowd pleaser.

Sophomore Kelli Watkins, 15, enjoyed seeing how modern culture took its cues from the ancient civilization. Romans had apartments, water to drink and bathe with drawn from giant tubs used to collect rainwater and even shopping malls, she said. All this fascination leads to enthusiasm.

During Latin Appreciation Week last week students spread the word.

Latin phrases were posted throughout the school. They painted the school rock with the famous Latin phrase, “veni, vidi, vici”: “I came, I saw, I conquered.”

Students could send their friends “Toga-grams,” Latin messages with translation written on small scrolls.

And information about the Latin culture and language was given each morning in school announcements.

On Friday, students recreated the Ides of March death of Julius Ceasar, an emperor in 100 B.C.

“What better day to do it than Friday the 13th,” said DeCamp before the production in the school’s gym.

Plays like this are what drew Daquon Dunn, 16, into the program.

“You get to perform before an auditorium filled with people,” he said.

In the performance before the death of Julius Ceasar — a re-enactment of a Roman wedding — DeCamp had to turn students away because so many were interested in attending.

“There’s not a lot of flash to it,” said DeCamp. “It’s Roman history and culture.”

The school’s Latin Club is one of the most visible clubs on campus. The school’s Junior Classical League has more members than any other league in the county, DeCamp said.

Latin is taught at 15 of the 22 high schools in Wake County Public Schools.

“The language itself is very complex,” DeCamp said. “There are grammatical forms that students haven’t seen in a while if ever.”

But that hasn’t curbed mastery and excellence. DeCamp said 30 students took the National Latin Exam last week. Students scored well, she said, with 10 students earning national medals of excellence last year, the highest honor.

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When Romans ruled Wigan

Wigan Today

For some reason I can’t copy this article onto the blog, but the link is there.

Adrian Murdoch has a discussion about the matter on Bread and Circuses

Facelift for ancient Roman road

One bit of all-good news. From the BBC

An ancient footpath and bridleway, which is thought to have been a Roman road 2,000 years ago, has reopened following a major facelift.

Brecon Beacons National Park worked with local residents to solve drainage problems and to improve access for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

They worked on the project at Y Gaer bridleway in Brecon for four months.

Lyn Williams, chair of Yscir Community Council, said people were “delighted” the bridleway had reopened.

Lucienne Bennett of the British Horse Society (BHS) was one of the first to try the new route with Velvet the pony.

“I am delighted the community and the national park authority have come together to get this beautiful bridleway reopened.

“As the county access and bridleway officer for the BHS, we try as much as possible to get the horses and their riders as much off the road as possible due to the increase in traffic.

“The good news for us is that the reopening of this bridleway has made it possible to ride a four day circular route taking in the stunning scenery of the national park and mid Wales.”

The Welsh Assembly Government and the Countryside Council for Wales helped fund the improvement works.