Princeton's Latin salutatorian

A bright lad, by all accounts:

As a chemical engineering major, James Morrison has earned the top ranking in the department and a reputation among his professors as one of the most impressive students they have taught at Princeton.

But it is Morrison's love of Latin that will be highlighted at Princeton's Commencement ceremony on June 3, when he will deliver the traditional Latin address as the salutatorian of the class of 2008.

See more about this golden boy, including picture, on the Princeton site.

Automatic crossword puzzle maker

Here is a site that will arrange your words and the clues you provide. You can do it on-line, free, and print the result, or buy a program.

Here is what it made of the last few words in the GCSE Latin vocab list:
Vocab crossword

Latin Language dot us blog

Teachers may find some interesting stuff on this blog. I've only just come across it. It has been written, since last December, by Chris Jones.

Two and a half thousand articles

I notice that this will be blog article number 2502.

I am seriously considering the migration of the blog to a different server, but am daunted by the task of moving so much stuff.

Very many of the posts are ephemeral – notices of events to come or reports of visits of re-enactors to schools, and so on. But I flatter myself that there are many also of permanent value.

If I do change the blog to somewhere like blogger, which is free, it will be because we regularly exceed our bandwidth allocation and have to pay for more. I am very happy, otherwise, with the way Blogware works for us.

Perhaps it would be a useful, though very lengthy, exercise to separate the sheep from the goats, and move everything that has lasting value. On the other hand, summer is coming, with its invitation to get out and enjoy the outside world.

What to do? Watch this space.

Roman surgical instruments

A useful page from the University of Virginia of photos with explanations.

I haven't looked to see if the Cambridge Latin Course site has linked to this on its Medicus page.

Missed this one – Philip Howard to Boris Johnson spd

From The Times last Friday. Follow the link if you really need a translation. (Note: Magistratus is genitive)

To Boris Johnson, who apparently favours Latin as the official language of City Hall…

Philip Howard

Ad Borem Johannis Filium:

Ad te, puerum gratum, epistulam hanc gratulabundam Temporum Servi mittimus.

Salve, Faba Vetus.

Praefecti Londinensis proposita tametsi ioca Latine reddere, hic labor, hoc opus hominis litterati est. Nihilominus – Num Magistratus est? Si Latine ordine loqui in animo habes instituere in decurionum conciliis, linguae gymnnasium Latinae componere oportet. Urente Troia, Hecuba ad Priamum aetate provectum alloquebatur. “Non tali auxilio nec defensoribus istis tempus eget.” Te tamen, iuvenis, eget tempus. Sed in consilio multo diutius sedebis. Atque miserere scribas actorum diurnorum quos verba tua reddere cogunt et ars scribendi et Domini Nostri asperes.

Chichester Roman baths uncovered – link with new museum

From the Portsmouth News

AN IMPORTANT archaeological site that was once an ornate Roman baths is about to be uncovered for the first time in 17 years.

The Roman baths in Chichester were first discovered in the 1970s by Chichester archaeologist Alec Down and his team of volunteers.

The baths will form a key feature of the proposed Chichester District Museum and will be temporarily uncovered for archaeologists to inspect the relics.

Archaeology South East will be carrying out exploratory work on the site in Tower Street over a four-week period from Tuesday.

The baths are currently buried under a car park, which will be closed during the works and trees felled to assist the archaeologists.

Plans for a museum on the Tower Street site will include the re-excavation of the baths, allowing the remains to go on permanent display.

Councillor Nick Thomas, who is in charge of culture at Chichester District Council, said: 'While the district museum will tell the story of the whole district and be a hub for the area's heritage, having these remains is a great bonus.

'The whole team is looking forward to seeing the remains and checking their condition so that we can safeguard them in the new building.

'Although access to the car park will be closed, members of the public will be able to see the work in progress from the footpaths around the edge of the car park, giving them a glimpse of what they can expect to see at the proposed museum.'

After the excavations are complete, the lower, larger part of the car park will be re-opened, but to protect the Roman remains, the upper area will remain closed to car parking.

Bob Lister's retirement

Message from Eileen Emmett of the Perse School:

We are trying to contact ex trainees and ex mentors of Bob's time at Cambridge but are having difficulty with addresses etc – would it be possible to put a notice on the ARLT site telling of the 'picnic in the park' for him on 21st June from 1pm – bring you own rug and picnic!
Anyone who hs not already been contacted could get further information from me at this email address – eileen_emmett(at) – or send a contribution to his present to 3 Chapman Close Potton SG19 2PL
Many thanks

Buy a home with a Roman skeleton

From the Yorkshire Post – thanks to Brian Bishop for the link.

Home that really could have skeleton in the closet

Published Date: 24 May 2008<br
By Paul Whitehouse<br<br
FEW things are more highly prized among house buyers than original features in period properties.
But a customer in York will acquire one historic feature which may test the nerve of future occupants – a Roman burial chamber complete with its own skeleton.
The chamber forms part of the basement of a Georgian property built centuries later at The Mount in York city centre.

Read the rest

Keeping up Latin after GCSE or after A level

I've had a couple of emails out of the blue from former pupils, which was a pleasant experience. One now has two daughters, the elder of whom is taking GCSE now.

This former pupil wrote:

I am kept very busy in my roles as taxi driver for the children, farm secretary etc, etc and must admit that I have not looked at any Latin or Greek for many years!

What can be done to encourage people like this lady to keep up a little gentle reading?

With due respect to my Living Latin brethren, I think what such people would respond to is Classical literature, with the addition of some mediaeval prose and poetry.

But the chance of someone, off their own bat, getting a text of, say, De Oratore, and sitting down to plough through it is nil.

That is why I'd like to float the idea of an on-line reading club/book club for Latin literature.

There are many on-line reading groups including one called Classics Reading Group (but that means English classics), so the idea isn't new. There's even a page of hints on starting your own.

What would we read? Nothing too long, or people will get disheartened. Avoid texts that have been set for exams in recent years, even though that means rejecting some of the most immediately appealing pieces. Pieces of literature that are either worth reading for sheer quality, or that have a fascinating story to tell.

What about some Catullus, outside the much-examined Top Twenty? A scene from Terence? Is Plautus too far from what students learned as 'proper' Latin? You may know my weakness for 'Mosella'. Some of the lovely poems that Helen Waddell published in Medieval Latin Lyrics, or that Fleur Adcock translated in The Virgin and the Nightingale?

There could be an introduction to the month's book or group of poems, and space for readers' comments or questions.

What do you think? Would it keep more of our former students in the Classics loop?