Adam Hart-Davis backs circus bid

A TOP BBC science and history presenter explains today why Colchester’s Roman circus must be saved in the national interest.

Adam Hart-Davis says circuses were like “football, the cinema and pop concerts” rolled into one in Roman times.

The Oxford University graduate, who made the documentary What the Romans Did for Us, is a patron of the Save Colchester’s Roman Circus campaign.

read the whole story in the Daily Gazette:



Tellus provides a meeting ground for contemporary poetry which interacts with any aspect of ancient civilisations, revitalising those lost worlds for a 21st century audience. The first issue of this new magazine boasts some big names, such as Andrew Motion and Michael Longley, alongside some excellent up and coming writers. To give a brief taster of the variety Tellus offers, the first issue will take us from an ancient Sardinian warrior statue, to the great flood sent by the Babylonian god Enlil, to Catullus’ girlfriend, who finally gets a chance to give her opinion on their famously rocky relationship. Tellus is by no means a magazine purely for classical experts; no knowledge of ancient languages is required, and all poems are given a brief contextualisation, with links to classical texts and other resources to take interests further. For more information please visit or contact the editor at The first issue, to appear in March 2010, is entirely free. If you would like to order a copy for yourself, or for general access in a school (recommended for years 11-13), library or university department, please email your address to

ARLT INSET for Teachers: March 2010

Full details of this INSET day are now available on the ARLT website here.

Book by Friday February 12th to avoid disappointment!

in rebus

If you are not familiar with “in rebus“, you might profitably spend a while browsing this site. The motto generator is fun, if rather limited in scope. If you are “dating a Latinist” and need a Latin quote for your love letter, then look no further. There are mnemonic rhymes for gender and number, legal maxims alphabetically arranged, medical terms, derivations, translation assistants, links to dictionaries online and very much more.  Regrettably, Google ads abound and you will have to pick your way round the occasional ads for dating sites et cetera.

From the home page:

“The majority of texts and materials on this site have something to do with the Latin language, including its perception and use in popular culture (quotes, tattoos, mottos, engravings, inscriptions etc). Among the highlights are a free Latin Dictionary Assistant (a Windows interface for W. Whitaker’s “Latin Words”), Latin Word of the Day, a Latin Motto Generator, Latin quotes & phrases , Antique engraved rings, and Legal Latin phrases, quotes & writs. These resources are meant to be enjoyed by  people seriously interested in the Latin language as well as anyone simply dabbling for whatever reason in the idiom of Ancient Rome and Medieval Europe.”

Chelmsford 123

Juliette Harrisson has alerted me to the long awaited and much anticipated appearance of Chelmsford on Youtube. Chelmsford?!

 ” Chelmsford 123 was a sitcom that ran for two series in the 1980s. ………”   

Well, I have shown the first episode of it to my Latin classes over the last 25 years, to the exent that my VHS video cassette is close to disintegration through overuse (there is no DVD available). I have never tired of watching it myself, still find it funny, can recite it pretty much verbatim and will always find a ploy to introduce it into a lesson. (Maybe that says more about me than the programme)

My favourite opening, delivered with as as much gravitas as the situation demands goes something like this: “rare footage of Virgil reciting Aeneid Book 6  to the emperor has just been discovered …….. , (proving, incidentally and conclusively that video technology is much older than first thought)”

It doesn’t matters that it isn’t Virgil and cannot possibly be Augustus. By the time they realise that – if they ever do – they are locked in to a world of  poetry recitals, orgies, provincial administration and Dr Who. The comedy is puerile, slapstick, easy on the eye and ear. In short, perfect for teenagers. And they get to hear both poetic and conversational Latin, with helpful euphemistic subtitles for the more tricky expressions.

The purists may well throw cabbages (as the good people of Chelmsford do at the end when the new governor, trying to impress them with his knowledge of  British, repeats a phrase he had seen daubed on a milestone: “Pi** Off!”). But to any suggestion that this is all a load of “testiculos”, I would simply say “balderdash”.

arriverderci Roma – catch it here on Youtube

and read the whole of Juliette Harrisson’s post here

Hello, World! A new weblog announces itself

 Just another weblog? 

Think again!  Tres Columnae 

 “aims to be everyone’s home on the Web for (you guessed it!) Joyful Latin Learning.  In fact, we aim to build a Joyful Learning Community where all kinds of people can come together to learn about the Latin language, the history and culture of the Roman Empire, and the ways that Latin (and the Romans) have influenced today’s languages and cultures.  We’ll be launching the actual website (and the Joyful Learning Community) early in 2010.  But first, we want to spread the word, to invite people to join us, and to let you know what’s special and different about “Tres Columnae.”

We wish it every success. You can keep tabs on its progress here.