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The Association for Latin Teaching

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ARLT Summer School 1953



held at Coolhurst, Horsham

Directed by -

The Beginners' Latin Demonstration Class, taken by Miss Joan Silverwood with girls specially brought from London for the purpose, satisfied a long felt and often expressed want. There were also, as last year, demonstration classes in Third Year Latin by Dr. Loehry and in Beginners' Greek by Mr. Peckett, with their boys from the Priory School, Shrewsbury. Mr. Melluish's Latin Prose Composition Classes continued ; they have become by now almost a habit-forming drug, which members cannot do without. To meet a request made last year there was also a Latin Verse Composition Crass taken by Mr. Wilmot, which most found aimed somewhat too high for their inexperienced wit. Mr. Dale continued his exposition of Greek and Latin Lyric Metres, and showed how they might possibly be rendered in English quantitative verse, and Miss Woodward gave her usual authoritative lecture on Pronunciation. The Greek and Latin Reading Classes continued along traditional lines, but most of the " Circuli " took a new turn, spending their time discussing points arising from the demonstration classes, learning how to continue oral methods beyond the stages which they had seen demonstrated, or deciding in what ways and how far such methods could be used to enliven classes that must proceed along traditional paths. This innovation was received with enthusiasm.


Mr. Monday gave a serious and deeply cogitated lecture on the Principles and Purpose of the Oral Method, and Mr. Melluish a discourse, well salted with his own sparkling and impish wit, on the Latin Translation Class. Mr. R. E. Latham, of the Public Records Office, who has recently translated Lucretius for the Penguin series, gave a lecture on Latin in Mediaeval England, which took almost all members of the course into fresh woods and pastures new.


After the main work of each day was over the evenings were enlivened under the genial direction of Mr. Eagling, by the singing of chanties and by dancing, while the last night was rendered hilarious by a play De Theseo et Minotauro written, acted and produced by the Priory Boys and untouched, so to speak, by human hand, and also by a Fabula derived, or rather diverted, from Aeneid VI, in which persons and events of topical interest were suitably satirised.


We publish below some more detailed accounts of parts of the course, written by members of it, and hope to print Mr. Melluish's foul Mr. Latham's lectures in a future issue.


BEGINNERS' LATIN


The Demonstration Class in Beginners' Latin was given this year by Miss J. W. Silverwood, working with a class of girls from the Addey and Stanhope School, London. As Latin is not begun in this school until the third year, the girls were older than is usually the case with beginners. This fact however did not seem in any way to diminish their enjoyment of the Oral Method, although it may have had something to do with their greater speed in grasping and appreciating the significance of the changings in endings or " tails."


The lessons began with oral drill in the basic verbs and although there was some difficulty over the pronunciation of " revenio " the singulars, first, second, and third person were quite quickly grasped. It was noticeable throughout these demonstrations how much the use of gesture helped the girls, under Miss Silverwood's guidance to remember the different endings of the verbs. After the verbs had been written on the board, the lesson ended with demonstrations in action of ego sum, to es, and nouns of all three genders with hic and ille.


Each lesson naturally began with oral and acted revision of the previous day's work which was usually well remembered, though the difficulties caused by ille, ilia, illud and hie, haec, hoc rather makes one wonder whether it is essential to introduce those words so soon. The singular imperative—which gave an opportunity for a girl to as " magistra " was followed by the plurals of the verbs. Both verbs and nouns were tabulated on the board and the differences between the genders elicited from the class in English.


The accusative case was brought in, first after " ad " then as direct object and at this point the " quid facio ? quid facis ? " formula made its appearance. Next the blackboard which had been used throughout for drawings of objects really came into its own with the "fabula " of the doings of the abominable Marcus, and here the girls needed no additional encouragement to seize upon the possibilities of invective in Latin.


After the Ablative Case, the Plural Imperative ' nd the Plurals of Nouns, and much useful drill in word order, through question and answer, the demonstrations and the "fabula " came to a dramatic conclusion with the numbers and the sad fate of Marcus after eating decem ova."


Miss Silverwood explained at the start that in these six lessons of forty-five minutes she was covering the work of three or four weeks. It naturally followed therefore, that without the usual repetition and consolidation, not all the pupils knew all the work. Nevertheless their uninhibited response showed how much they enjoyed their lessons and we were all most grateful to Miss Silver-wood for a most vigorous and entertaining demonstration.

B.F.A.B.


THIRD YEAR LATIN


This set of six lessons showed practice and drill on the Ablative Absolute. Capable use was made of the already well known " post quam " with the Indicative and "cum" with the subjunctive with both Active and Passive Verbs in order to lead to the new way of expression by the Ablative Absolute. The lessons were begun briskly by the various " consuls " who wrote up the date on the blackboard and gave the class some preliminary drill before Dr. Loehry entered.


Then followed a brief test on principal parts of verbs or comparatives of adjectives which were to be required later as examples. The quick interchange of constructions showed that the group had done energetic drill which had developed into a most useful routine. Example:


crocodilus porcum devoravit, et obdormivit.

Post quam crocodilus porcum devoravit, obdormivit.

cum crocodilus porcum devoravisset, obdormivit.

cum Porcus devoratus esset, crocodilus obdormivit.

Porco devorato, crocodiles obdormivit.

Here the choice of examples was striking and always calculated to be easily memorised. Explanation of the name " Ablativus Absolutus " was given with the information that it was often the better mode of expression as it formed the background of the sentence.


Sentences with Intransitive Verbs showed them the exact scope of the " Ablativus Absolutes." The vocabulary in these was very cleverly chosen. The converse way of dealing with the construction was demonstrated in a reading lesson from " Pseudolus." There it was proved the examples had been clearly understood as they were always quickly changed " aliter Latine," i.e., by the " post quam and " cum " methods.


Free composition perhaps was the most outstanding result of this vigorous system, as it was developed naturally and competently from the lively reading material of " Pseudolus." This showed the individual response to the method, while it afforded scope to the more ambitious boys. The sentences were built up by the oral method but the speed and range was increased by use of the printed passages. The fluency of the comments on the story was admirable.


This demonstration of work on the Ablative Absolute with all the drill used as a basis for illustration and revision covered a very wide ground. The Priory Boys also revealed they had taken full advantage of their realistic and forceful teaching.

M.I.M.


BEGINNERS' GREEK


For the second year in succession, we watched a class of Priory School boys being ably guided by Mr. Peckett along the perilous way which in a week leads from the safety of two years' Latin by devious routes Els -rAv -roO 'AtSov olyi(xv ! The beginning of this new language held few terrors for the boys since they were familiar with the technique of the oral method, and their knowledge of Latin provided a sure foundation. After two days of simple conversation, with some trace of the tonic accent in their pronunciation and an ever-growing list of vocabulary in their notebooks, the class were prepared to read and enjoy a scene reminiscent of Aristophanes. The play was soon acted with intelligence and enthusiasm, though no boy could quite imitate the Charon Mtapc -rfi Ocovij of Mr. Peckett. A kindly Charon this, who not only received obols, but even distributed them in return for declensions bravely dared !


This demonstration was inspiring and instructive, like its more -firmly-established brother and has led to a demand for other classics in Greek at a more advanced level.


E.P.P.


MR. MELLUISH'S CLASSES ON LATIN PROSE COMPOSITION


THOSE who have not seen Mr. Melluish's Latin Prose Com- position classes at a Summer School might well ask on what grounds their inclusion in the course can be justified ; for his class " on these occasions consists of teachers themselves, with a sprinkling of Head Masters and University lecturers, the sum total of whose years of acquaintance with and reading in Latin must be truly frightening. To do Latin Prose with such a class is far removed from the average daily experience of the average teacher. Yet when Mr. Melluish himself, at the annual general meeting of the Association, modestly suggested that the time allotted to his own work might be curtailed to allow time for something else, he received from all present such a firm and decisive answer against his proposal as must have given him no little pleasure, and was an undeniable indication of the popularity of his classes and of the value that members themselves put upon them. The three cardinal features of Mr. Melluish's method are:-


the construction of a fair copy in class, made up from the suggestions of the members themselves, instead of the customary circulation of the " professorial " type of fair copy, which is so often so far beyond the pupil's powers of comprehension or appreciation ;

the keeping of a note book for vocabulary and especially for lists of synonyms and near synonyms; and

frequent reference to Lewis and Short. In his own school each boy in Mr. Melluish's class does a version of his own which is marked, corrected and returned to the boy in the usual way ; it is the collective making of the fair copy that is the important and distinctive feature. Moreover, each of Mr. Melluish's Sixth Form pupils has his own copy of Lewis and Short.

Members of the Summer School received in advance the English of three passages for Latin Prose ; and everyone was supposed to come with a version ready. The first passage was historical in nature—about the Battle of Marston Moor, with Cavaliers and Roundheads one of the first difficulties to be tackled. And at once the real value of the course became evident, for at once we were down to basic principles—always a good thing. Was Latin Prose Composition to be entirely, mainly or only partly, a linguistic exercise ? How far should accuracy in references to Roman History and antiquities be insisted upon ? Should the final version read as if it were a page from Roman History, or as if it were the work of a Roman describing in Roman terms something that was not Roman in itself ~ One had to answer this question first, before one could decide whether " Petasus " gave a good idea of Cavalier head-dress—the broad brim at the expense of the shape of the rest of it. What of " the steel caps and high crown hats drawn close over the brows of the Roundheads "? How far did it matter that a " Pilleus " was usually made of felt, and, when worn at all by soldiers, was worn off duty ? Could one say " pilleus ferrates "? Or again, " inlyworking rage . .. which found vent in the terrible denunciations of the Hebrew psalms and prophecies "; would Sibylline oracles do—and did they have terrible denunciations ? As often, the discussion itself was of more value than the final answer agreed (or disagreed) upon.


The second passage was from the obituary notice in The Times of Lord Macmillan, written by Lord Simonds. Scaevola as the nearest Latin equivalent for Lord Macmillan did not please everyone; and names for four of his contemporaries in the profession had to be found. We were down to fundamental principles again in translating into Latin the English ideas involved in the " final court of appeal " ; the Roman " iuyis consultus," as such did not pass judgement, and to add the word " censor " seemed to add as many fresh problems of its own as it solved. Nor did the average Roman seem to read records of legal cases as a form of light reading.


In the last passage, taken from Gibbon's Autobiography, the problem shifted rather to how far what was implicit in the English must be made explicit in Latin : " the rational pride of an author," " his social sympathy gratified by an idea." And all the time, of course, the wealth of ideas drawn from such a distinguished class and added to by Mr. Melluish himself, was a constant stimulant, now reminding one of some point almost forgotten, now bringing in some new knowledge of Latin or a word previously unknown.


At the end of his course Mr. Melluish was given an ovation for his work, and it would not be surprising if a request was made for some Greek Prose Composition on similar lines for next year, to complicate still further what is already an impossible task, to arrange a timetable that will give everyone as much as he wants of everything.

W.G.B.


LATIN VERSE COMPOSITION


It was the destiny that shapes our ends to which Mr. Wilmot particularly devoted his attention, when concerned with composition into Latin verse. No matter, he says, whether you are attempting something Epic or something Elegiac, begin at the end (of the line or couplet), work back, and all will be well. But if you would shape your own destiny in the matter of examination technique, you must also work fast, skim round major difficulties, and, if your inclination is towards deep thought, minutes spent ruminating must be a few at the end of your allotted time, and not many in the middle, where your best work is done. Leave it, come back later to fill the gap and polish the style.


Mr. Wilmot's exposition of his principles savoured oddly both of rule of thumb and the juggler's art. Practical tips there were in plenty, both in answer to those who sought them and for gleaning by the wayside. And we were thankful for them. If I were a sixth former under Mr. Wilmot's care, I am sure I should easily remember and gladly use the picturesque rules he gave me, without being too worried about their infallibility. But my eyes would soon tire of his crowded blackboard ; and I fancy I would not be alone if, inexperienced a traveller as I was in the realms of verse composition, I suspected that Mr. Wilmot's private versions of the pieces to be turned could scarcely have been arrived at fairly by the methods he publicly proposed. Something more is needed, surely, than to put down the words according to the rum-ty-tum, and then to search for the grammar of it all afterwards. Horace may not have had to search, but the schoolboy does. I suggest that the majority of us would urge our charges to examine primarily the meaning of the Latin word ; then, and only then, to juggle it into its metrical setting.


J.A.W.


THE EXCURSION


An expedition was made to Chichester, where Dr. A. E. Wilson, who has been excavating there for some years, told us about his work. He first conducted us to Priory Park. This is bounded on one side by the town wall. What can be seen at present is 18th century work, but Dr. Wilson has cut into the mound at different places and found the Roman wall standing to a height of 8 feet. The park was also interesting in that it contained the base of the motte of a Norman castle and the well-preserved chancel of a Greyfriars priory, now used as a museum. Here Dr. Wilson told us the questions he had been trying to answer and his results so far, illustrating his remarks by reference to exhibits, some of which we were allowed to handle.


The fact that the Belgic ware found was all imported (in some cases stamped with the maker's name) and always in association with Roman pottery indicated that this was not a Belgic site taken over by the Romans. The evidence of coins suggest that the Romans made a settlement here very shortly after A.D. 43.


The walls Dr. Wilson thinks are not earlier than A.D. 200. The bastions he has proved to be additions, for at one spot he has found the Roman wall continuous on the inner side of a bastion ; they may in fact be Saxon.


We made a short inspection of the Roman exhibits in the museum and outside the Guildhall examined the famous Cogidumnus inscription. After tea, Dr. Wilson indicated to us the main features of the Cathedral interior, and in particular drew our attention to some fine carved stones, thought to be Saxon. Then, walking through fields, we saw part of the wall with its bastions from the outside (the visible facing, as mentioned above, being of the 18th century). We are most grateful to Dr. Wilson for getting so much into the short time available and for a very clear exposition.

D.W.P.


A NEWCOMER'S IMPRESSION


It would be difficult to explain my motives for attending the A.R.L.T. Summer School even to myself. I had been a member of the A.R.L.T. for some years, had heard an exposition of the Oral Method from Mr. Peckett and had seen a demonstration class a year or two ago in Liverpool. I was sufficiently interested to think the Summer School worth attending at least once, but sceptical enough not to expect too much from any method as such.


After the delays and discomforts of a long raid journey on a Sunday—a wet and dreary Sunday at that—I arrived in time to have missed tea and to make my bed with a couple of blankets which had seen better days in a place which seemed to possess all the more depressing features of the less well run Youth Hostels.


First impressions however were soon modified. The minor discomforts of accommodation were not to be taken too seriously and like the weather always provided a help to small talk. The main benefit of such a course seemed to be in the opportunities of discussion with fellow teachers—and to talk shop endlessly. Acquaintance and perhaps even friendship is soon made in such an atmosphere of common interest.


I attended all the lectures, demonstration classes, etc., and at the end of the week felt in need of a holiday. The lecturers and demonstrators must have been really exhausted. All of which is a tribute to the enthusiasm of the elect.


There seemed little doubt of the effectiveness of the Oral Method in the hands of experts, though no doubt enthusiastic teachers like Dr. Loehry or Miss Silverwood would do well whatever their method and I found others beside myself thinking that it might be worth trying at least on a small scale. Even if one was not always particularly impressed by the demonstration classes there were many other things of value—Mr. Melluish's Latin Prose or Mr. Wilmot's Verse, Mr. Dale's Verse Readings not to mention new vitas of Mediaeval Latin. In fine there was plenty to suit all tastes just as there was plenty of opportunity for relaxation and enjoyment—tennis, dancing, excursion to Chichester, games, songs and plays. So my journey home was much more enjoyable. So, many thanks A.R.L.T.

B.H.


A.G.M.


The Annual General Meeting held at Coolhurst on August 28th, 1953, apart from the usual business of election of officers, certain matters were discussed which may be of interest to all members.


The Hon. Treasurer pointed out that the finances of the Association were in a sounder position now than at any time since the war, for, although cash in hand had decreased by some £7 during the year, he had been able to purchase National Savings Certificates to the value of £37 10s., to swell the Reserve Fund. There had been a loss of £13 on the Weekend Course, 1952, but a profit of £53 on the same year's Summer School. The picture, however, had been made somewhat rosier than it really was by the payment of five-year subscriptions in advance, and by sundry windfalls. The Treasurer felt that it was unsound economics to rely on such things, and once again urged all members to help increase membership.


In discussing future Summer Schools, the meeting felt that, owing to rising costs, it might be advisable to increase boarding fees in future, in order to be sure of more satisfactory accommodation. Many suggestions were made for the academic side of courses, such as a demonstration class in translation, and the idea that different stages in teaching should be shown in different years by rota, so that members could, in the end, get a conspectus of the whole. It was felt that the Summer School 1954 should be held if possible, in Shrewsbury, and hoped that the Week-end courses would continue in London.


The Editor of LATIN TEACHING reported that the circulation of this magazine was now world-wide. A small, but steady income was made by the sale of pamphlets, film-strips, etc. and he was particularly gratified with the sale of certain reproduction rights to the New Zealand government. The report of the Secretary of the Archaeological Aids Committee was read, which showed that the collection had been largely re-organised and repaired, and a crate acquired, and that the appeal of the committee was widening.



It must be confessed

 that this year's Summer School, held at Coolhurst near Horsham, August 23rd to 31st, was not the unqualified success that most of its predecessors have been. In the first place, so many intending members cancelled so late that the Association could not help losing money on the course ; and in the second place, there were certain domestic difficulties, which caused the director and secretary great anxiety and the rest of the members frequent discomfort. These very difficulties seemed, however, to produce the right spirit among those present, and helped to weld the community together probably even more than usual. The academic side of the course was as good as ever, and attendance at lectures, demonstrations, etc. always keen and full. Indeed one old and seasoned member of the association was heard to say that although the domestic side of the course was probably the worst in his experience, the academic side had much more to offer than the older summer schools, and members were certainly making the best use of all that was provided.