Italy’s Latin Revival

An Italian academy has brought Latin back from the grave with such success that it was forced to turn away hundreds of prospective students due to over-enrolment this academic year.

The Latin phrase Senatus Populusque Romanus (The Senate and the People of Rome), referring to the government of the ancient Roman Republic, used nowadays as an official signature of the city of Rome is seen on a monument in central Rome on February 9, 2010. AFP PHOTO / Filippo MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

The Latin phrase Senatus Populusque Romanus (The Senate and the People of Rome), referring to the government of the ancient Roman Republic, used nowadays as an official signature of the city of Rome is seen on a monument in central Rome on February 9, 2010. AFP PHOTO / Filippo MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

Vivarium Novum, a humanist campus set in a lush park with a swimming pool and basketball court, is part of the estate belonging to a religious order just north of Rome. Students here don’t just study Latin but learn to speak it fluently. Latin is not only confined to the classroom — in fact, Italian, English and French are strictly forbidden anywhere on campus. Students caught talking in “vulgar,” or writing notes in any other language, risk expulsion………

Read Silvia Marchetti’s article here

The Carmenta Online Latin School

The Carmenta Online Latin School (which is now 6 years old) is the world’s largest online Latin school, with live audio/video Skype classes and tutoring in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Classical Literature. Highly qualified,most of their teachers also work at top American universities and prep schools. Students of all ages and with a wide variety of educational backgrounds could benefit.
Check out these websites – For students interested in online Latin classes, – For students interested in online Ancient Greek classes, and – For students interested in online Latin tutoring.

The Carmenta Blog, to which all of these three sites are directly linked, contains original and reposted articles and videos on the classical languages as well as classical culture, history, and archaeology. For an interesting and entertaining collection of scholarship and reportage about classical languages, history, and culture, with all original material produced by top academics go here:

New from Open Book Publishers: Tacitus, Annals, 15.20­-23, 33­-45:

Following on from the success of their Cicero Against Verres,  Open Book Publishers now offer a new publication of this A2 level set text, comprising the Latin Text,  Study Aids with Vocabulary, and Commentary, translated and edited by Mathew Owen and Ingo Gildenhard.

This course book, the third in Open Book’s series of classics textbooks, offers a portion of the original Latin text, study aids with vocabulary, and a commentary.  Designed to stretch and stimulate readers, Owen’s and Gildenhard’s incisive commentary will be of particular interest to students of Latin at both high school and undergraduate level. It extends beyond detailed linguistic analysis and historical background to encourage critical engagement with Tacitus’ prose and discussion of the most recent scholarly thought.

Aimed at widening access to Classics among high school students and undergraduates, Tacitus can be read for free on-line at

Like other books in this series, Tacitus is also available in an interactive format, developed by The Classics Library, which enables teachers to comment on and ask questions about every aspect of the text.  This interactive version can be accessed via the link above.

Open Book Publishers is a non-profit organisation, run by academics in Cambridge and London,   committed to making high-quality research freely available to readers around the world.

School Latin project lands European language award

The Iris Project has been bringing Latin to our Primary schools by means of its “Literacy through Latin ”  programme since 2007 and has now received European recognition.  My thanks to Shona Harrison for bringing this report from the Oxford Mail to our attention.


Of the award, the Project Director, Lorna Robinson said

“We’re really excited at the news that the Literacy through Latin project has won this prestigious award.

The judge who visited our lessons was delighted at the pupils’ enjoyment of Latin and their engagement with our method of using storytelling to deliver Latin as part of literacy.

It shows that the project works and that it’s useful and interesting for pupils.  We hope the award will help us secure funding for this long-running project to expand and develop.”

Read the whole article here

Disappearance of Classics in education

Hard on the heels of the  “Ad hoc Latin club has ‘cultappeal” and the “Latin at Bilborough College” success stories comes this awful reminder of what we, as guardians of the Classical tradition, and the next generation of would-be Classics teachers are up against.

If this young man doesn’t have the opportunity to train as a Classics Teacher it will be a great loss.  writes Shona Harrison, with regard to this letter from Lee Baker,  from the TES dated 30th August 2013

It is with great sadness that I write with regard to the situation of Classics and classical education in Scotland. I am a student at the University of Glasgow, living in Lanark, studying Classics and English literature. It was always my intention, after completing my degree, to continue in education and become a Classics teacher. Having been a pupil at Lanark Grammar School, I was privileged to see the great benefits of Classics teaching and education at its finest under the guidance of some excellent teachers.

However, the situation for training Classics teachers in Scotland is currently non-existent. This is a great loss to Scottish children as Classics education is fast becoming a discipline for the private sector. Some independent schools already employ people without any formal teaching qualifications as Classics teachers, as there is no supply from the teacher training institutes.

This cannot surely be condoned by the Scottish government, when there are people wanting to be trained in this field. It is not because of a decline in interest from students that Classics has disappeared from the state sector, as most schools that still offer it have high presentation numbers (“Ad hoc Latin club has ‘cult’ appeal”, 23 August). Where is freedom of choice and equal opportunity for the children of Scotland? The University of Glasgow was the last place in Scotland where a Classics PGDE was delivered, and it seems as though it has just vanished from the offered curriculum without due cause.

With Latin being one of Scotland’s heritage languages and the rich tradition of Classical learning and influences in the Scottish culture, it seems unthinkable that there is no provision for teaching children the key foundations of our past, when so much time, money and publicity is spent on the benefits of the Gaelic medium. Latin provides an equally beneficial, if not greater, learning environment, as it allows us to recognise and understand not only our own culture and heritage, but also our place in the international European community.

Latin at Bilborough College

I am so pleased. I want to share my delight with colleagues who will appreciate it, because my college has not responded. This is the third year that Latin GCSE has been offered as an additional subject to year 13 A level students at my state sixth form. I make no bones; I love Latin and I am dedicated to state students having the same opportunities as private school students. We have in effect 8 months to prepare for the higher tier GCSE OCR Latin. 31 took the exam this year. 23 achieved A*-C with 2 A*s, 10As 7Bs and 4Cs. I am so proud and if other teachers would like advice regarding introducing GCSE Latin into the curriculum, I would love to talk with them about promoting so important a subject.

Sean Cormac

Languages – Ad hoc Latin club has ‘cult’ appeal

Members achieve impressive results without qualified teacher

Students at an East Dunbartonshire secondary are scoring top grades in Latin – even though the school has no qualified teacher in the subject and no timetabled classes.

Bearsden Academy depute headteacher Annette MacKay said that Latin has become a “cult” favourite among high-achieving students since an after-school club was set up in 2011-12.

Five students sat Intermediate 1 Latin that year, with another five doing so last year – and all achieved the highest award of A at band 1. Both times they were the only Intermediate 1 Latin candidates anywhere in Scotland. One student even took Intermediate 2 last year, also earning an A at band 1.

The club, which meets for about an hour every second week, was set up at the request of a student who wanted to study at Oxbridge. Ms MacKay had told the student, Anna McDonald, that her application could do with “something to make it stand out”, and suggested Latin or Mandarin – although “whether I could find someone to teach it was another matter”.

The club that emerged has proved attractive to aspiring law, medicine and languages students. It is run by Ms MacKay, who read languages at university but whose last sustained experience of Latin was sitting the Higher some years ago. In the first year, a regular group of eight S6 students worked through Cambridge Latin Course textbooks. There were nine regulars last year and Ms MacKay expects a similar number in 2013-14………….

read the rest of the story here


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