The Association for Latin Teaching

respice prospice

ARLT Summer School  1969

held at Christ’s Church College, Canterbury

Directed by Mr C.H. Craddock

Account from 'Latin Teaching'.

 The Summer School this year was held at Christ Church College, Canterbury, from 21st to 28th August 1969, and, in response to an advertisement in the Sunday Times, I decided to attend, in order to learn as much as possible regarding the teaching of Latin, and the kind of activities undertaken on such a course. As I do not belong to the teaching profession, nor have I had any formal Latin teaching, I was prepared to accept whatever was offered ; but I realise now that much of the course was beyond my knowledge and attainments, and I think that, perhaps, a cautionary note should be included in future advertisements, that it is advisable either to belong to the teaching world, or have a definite interest in the actual teaching of Latin, as opposed to learning it.

Notwithstanding this technical disability, however, I thoroughly enjoyed those classes I did attend, and I obtained an insight into the problems and difficulties which beset the teaching profession, now that everything seems to be in a state of flux regarding the best modern methods of teaching Latin. The beginners' Demonstration Class, held every morning, was both a delight and an instruction as to the best way of tackling the teaching of young pupils; humour was mixed with a thorough grounding in some basic verbs, pronouns and adverbs, using simple techniques of dumb-show, question and answer, and illustrated by apt and witty drawings on the blackboard; all this with the assured mastery of his subject by Mr. Brookin, who instructed his young pupils with humour and understanding.

The talks on Foundation Courses by Mr. Forrest and Cambridge Project by Mrs. Handley were, of course, of great interest to practising teachers, but listening as an outsider, I found much to commend to the layman, and much about which I would like to have discussed had there been time and opportunity.

The lectures by Mr. Dale were, for the most part, beyond my attainments, but what I heard and understood proved of inestimable value in assessing the nature of that great work by Lucretius. One realised what a wealth of experience, what a breadth of comprehension, what a depth of intellect lay behind each casual utterance in explanation or elucidation of the text, and if his comments have not been put into print, it would seem most desirable to have his commentary on the whole work published as soon as possible.

The classes I most enjoyed were those conducted by Mr. Melluish, whose long experience of Sixth Form work made Latin Prose seem so effortless — until one tried to do the same. Nor were the friendly comments from other experts without interest, coming, as they did, from men with great knowledge and experience in this branch of the art of Latin teaching.

 The visit to the Cathedral and the excursion to Richborough, the ancient fortress of Rutupiae, together with the discovery of the Norman church at Barfreston, made a very interesting and enjoyable weekend activity.   

I particularly enjoyed seeing the ancient church, a little gem in almost unspoilt perfection, even after all these centuries, and had time permitted, a lecture by an expert speaker would, I feel, have proved very instructive.

The talk on Roman Kent, by Mr. Jenkins, illustrated with slides, was of extreme interest, and here one felt, was an expert delighting in talking about a subject in which he was obviously well-informed, and anxious that his hearers should share his enthusiasm. The lecture, read by Mr. Sharwood Smith, was I felt, a little too severe on the eminent Victorians; granted that there were abuses and cruelties of the worst kind; there were also many examples of humanitarianism he could have quoted — the abolition of slavery, abolition of shocking working conditions of children and mill-workers by successive Factory Acts; and compulsory education, establishment of Free Libraries, of working-men's institutes, museums, and choral societies — all of which formed the background without which modern educational practice could not have developed as we know it today. In fact, the attitude of Christian benevolence, which he claimed to be exercised by the State today, was in the Victorian times, just as well practised by private benefactors, although, perhaps, not so wide in its universal attainment — the very town of Canterbury boasts a free library and museum, begun in 1858 through the private benevolence of one of its sons who emigrated to Australia, and benefited his native city with an institution raised through his own munificence.

In short, I thoroughly enjoyed this course, learnt a great deal, and came away wishing that I were more experienced, so that I could have taken advantage of attending the other lectures I was forced to omit. I have met some very distinguished and talented lecturers, some charming (and inquisitive) ladies, and had the benefit of a well-housed, well-fed, and well-organised course of instruction, for which I tender my humble thanks to all concerned. 29th August 1969.


Mr. Boyd gave classes in Prose Composition at a slightly less advanced level, Dr. Wilmott in Verse Composition and Mr. Hazel in Literary Criticism: there were the usual reading classes. Professor Moritz lectured on Horace Odes IV vi, Mr. Collard on Dido and Medea, and Mr. Coleman on Juvenal. Dr. Wilmott also produced a potted "Menaechmi": twins Messrs. Farley and Kelly, women of Epidamnus. Mrs. Dennis and Miss Schaeffer, parasite Mr. Stevinson, doctor Mr. Melluish, father-in-law Mr. Ross, slaves Messrs. Boyd and Teague.


O tempora! O mores! O Arelates! Imperitus ut sum ego verba coram populo faciendi, verba tamen pauca — quo pauciora eo melius sit — nunc volo vobis dicere.

Nos omnes vehementer gaudemus - quasi in caelo septimo fuimus - quod per hos dies noctesque in hoc collegio commodissimo pulcherrimo splendidissimo tempos nostrum degimus. Cuius collegii magister et satellites ad unum omnes cHommoda praebuerunt plura crebriora frequentiora quam ut ego fando valeam enumerare.

Namque in re culinaria quis est quin et prima luce post ientaculum et meridie post prandium et vesperi post cenam ex sells sine difficultate surrexerit. Num melius quam nos dapes expertus est ille Lucullus vel Sardanapallus vel Fannies Craddocus vel etiam Thyestes qui bene potius quam sapienter epulabatur. Quis est quin libras plurimas formae suae ponderique addiderit? Laudemus et plaudamus eos omnes qui nos tam comiter exceperunt, corpora nostra tam benevolenter refecerunt, salutem nostrum tam prudenter coluerunt.

Ego tamen, cum abhinc duos annos certior factus essem hunc ludum aestivum mihi esse dirigendum, metu timore formidine adflictus sum. Antea enim semper ego auditor tantum, ut poeta noster Iuvenalis dicit, quid Duroverni facerem? Dirigere nescio. Quis ex ducibus circulorum mihi pareat? Quis me flocci faciat? Nunc autem post hos sex dies responsum vobis dare possum. Nemo. Equidem inter sermones inter pocula vel ti vel coffi inter cenam si velim nuntium edere quis reverentiae minimam partem mihi attribuat? Nunc scilicet bene scio quid senserit ille alter gubernator nomine Palinurus, de quo poeta noster aliquot versus scripsit, cum in litore eiectus solus in rupibus sedebat.

Eratne semper ita? Necnon domi meae, si uxori iussum ausim dare, evanescit in auras inanes — iussum, dico, evanescit, non uxor, eheu! si filio meo aliquid ausim imperare, quid aliud exspectem responsum quam, "O pater, abi in malam rem! Cade mortuus! Tu quadrates es!" Sed hoc fortasse, ut legimus apud Catullum nostrum, "hoc est quod unum est pro laboribus tantis." Nam ut Hercules, cum labores suos confecisset, in deos sublatus est, ita ego quoque, cum officii mei insignia deposuero, apud deos vel superos vel inferos inveniar. Si ad lunam non potero advenire — melius sit, ut puto, si luna intacta maneat — saltem, ut dicit Horatius, sublimi feriam sidera vertice. Sed, ut ille Horatius etiam scripsit — "Tu ne quaesieris —scire nefas — quem mihi quem tibi finem di dederint."

His sex diebus multa et varia didicimus, dum audimus illum Dalium, vatem nostrum, illum Mel, quem honoris causa nomino, et illum quem lingua usi Americana apud Brooklynenses inventa avem vel Boyd appellamus. Ne dicam illum Vilmotum, virum doctissimum, qui nuper fabulam Menaechmos oculis nostris paene sibi diffidentibus repraesentavit, et ceteros et ceteras qui tanta sollertia effecerunt ut nihil ex nihilo fieri videretur. Praeterea nos eis qui tanta patientia sapientia reverentia — quae maxima nobis debetur — nos in artibus recte linguae Latinae pronuntiandae instruxerunt grates agimus. Insuper ad illum Brookinem vel rivulum venio magistrum in linguis cum occidentali tum orientali versutum. Nemo est quin illo audito nunc non melius surgat, ambulet, reveniat sedeat. His omnibus, dico, nos ceteri gratias agimus quam maximas.

Haec autem, dicam, ut tandem finem orationi meae imponam. Nos Durovernum vero venimus, vidimus et, ut spero, superavimus. Nunc laboribus confecti pecunia a Graveto aerario avidissimo rapacissimo avarissimo levati, cerebello et omni mentis facultate adflicti, domum redeamus. Iam iam vos domus accipiet laeta, et uxor optima (vel maritus) et dulces occurrent oscula nati praeripere et tactica pectus dulcedine tangent. Nos semper Durovernum, nos semper hoc collegium maximo desiderio recordabimur, neque haec meminisse pigebit. Equidem seu pluet seu lucebit sol, vos omnes in memoria mea retinebo. Utinam tuto itinera vestra faciatis. Utinam superi superaeque vobis in saecula saeculorum adrideant. Floreatis. Valete.