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The Association for Latin Teaching


ARLT Summer School  1974

held at Bishop Grossteste College, Lincoln

Directed by Mr K.F. Cox

Report on the Summer School 1974


    A week spent exclusively in the company of other Latin teachers may not sound attractive.  I admit steeling myself, one eye on curricula vitae.  What was the A.R.L.T. anyway?  Worst fears seemed confirmed at the first meal: people could be heard translating the menu, many were clearly old friends, while the newcomers, old and young alike, eyed one another’s identifying badges cagily.  Had one really stumbled, as further eavesdropping suggested, upon some esoteric society that existed solely to discuss changing its own name?

    After Professor Norman’s  curtain-raising lecture on the Olympic games that question was answered by the wide range of stimulating classes and activities that were offered during the week.  The reading classes, designed to “enhance the arts of spoken language”, were a revelation.  I had always regarded this area of the subject with apathy and it was disconcerting to have my lazy pronunciation systematically demolished by John Hazel and Charles Craddock with evidence from classical authors, and to be convinced that an authentic pronunciation both can and should be attempted.

    The traditional skill of prose composition was taught by the director, Ken Cox,and Mr. Boyd, both with erudition and impressive tact in disposing of infelicitous suggestions.  Mr. Karsten spoke fluently and persuasively in favour of comprehension exercises and made it clear to his audience how much easier it is to keep alert under a stream of comprehension questions than when passively waiting for a turn to translate.  Literary criticism was much in demand and well presented,  although many were left wondering what was the right level at which to put across the material to their own pupils.

    It was a pity that a choice had to be made between drama and model-making.  Mrs. Hunt, with surely as inhibited a group as she can ever have taken, taught us to emerge from our caves as Kronos’ children, to eat ourselves as Eurystheus and to mime a hunting-ritual, and all without embarrassment.  Her encouragement and useful hints gave many os the confidence to  determine to try this difficult and rewarding type of lesson ourselves.  From elsewhere modellers appeared proudly clutching flattened match-boxes which Bill Wilkie  had convinced  them were scale models of the Colosseum.

    A class of co-operative and unselfconscious local  children helped make Mrs. Clifford’s demonstration of the Cambridge Latin Course’s early stages a great success.  She showed well the style of approach to which the course lends itself and supplied helpful miscellaneous hints: so that’s why Metella wears her hair like that.  The director’s maieutic was less effective in cajoling correct opinions of Catullus 3 from a small group of Vith-formers, who were perhaps too aware of their audience to be natural.

     The evening lectures were of a high standard.  In Professor Huxley were were fortunate to have a scholar who radiated great enthusiasm, and his “Hour in the Latin Poets’ Workshop and Seminars on Horace were much appreciated.  The talk on the position of classics today by Mr. B. Kay, H.M.I. Was a beacon of sanity and lucidity;  such is the emotion and confusion that this topic generates.  Mr. C. Greig discussed the Cambridge Latin Course and stirred us with a highly specific analysis of its shortcomings, not least by suggesting that schoolteachers could do more than passively accept them.

    Excursions were arranged to Lincoln Cathedral and to the classical sites in the city.  Bishop Grosseteste College was as pleasant a campus as promised: the ping-pong table and local pubs were well patronised and on the last evening the purpose of the strange noises which had emanated from the classes of Mr. O’Neil and Mr. E. Hunt was made clear as we were entertained with excerpts from “Carmina Burana” and prevailed upon to join in.  The director too amazed us with the speed at which fingers could be moved up and down a recorder and Mr. Karsten invited us to call his bluff in Latin.

    Those who were there will be grateful to all the instructors for their advice and friendly help, particularly to newcomers; to the director, Ken Cox, who is rumoured even to have made a not inconsiderable profit; and to each other, for proving vastly more sociable companions than might be expected from a congregation of Latinists!

R.D. Smith

Oratio Valedictoria

Lugete O Arelates, Alatusve!  Cursus mortuus est vestri directoris!  It per iter tenebricosum in Annales huius societatis unde negant redire quidquam!

Mi placuit gubernatori fuisse vestro; nautae fuistis optimi; nunc tamen naufragium huius ratis fragilis meae in rupibus barbarisonis pertimeo.  Abhinc enim nonnullos annos mihi admirationi erat quod director Britannicus, consessum Britannicum lingua Britannica numquam exhortatur.  At more maiorum factum est.  Quomodo non potest?  Tempora mutantur et nos remormamur illis.  Sed est directoris scire quae recta sint, neque, ut scitis, aliquid novitatis experiri; sequitur igitur oratio sonis alienis fortasse maculata!

Inprimis et cordi et honori est mihi collegas omnes, vel professores, vel magistros, vobis commendare, ingenium laudare, auctoritatem denique eorum cognoscere atque recipere.  Aucta est haec societas non modo scientia eorum prudentiaque, sed etiam humilitate atque disciplina, id quod nobis omnibus exemplo optimo esse videatur.

Equidem post dissertationem de Ludis Graecis eruditissimam, pro certo habeo quamdiu sit currendum, (de longissimis non curat grex!); Post secundam, ubi nunc desistam, tertiam post dissertationem, pietate insignem maxima, qualibus pedibus utar; deinde post ultimam, quam lubrica, quam periculosa sit Via Cantabrigiensis!

Discipulos autem nostros miserrimos et multa patientes, quomodo optime vel aestimare discant vel intellegere didicimus, quomodo sicut histriones partes agant, quanta ex minimis aedificare possint.

Fieri potest ut, circulis non satis comprehensis, nonnulli semper et saepe circiter perambulaverint.  Sunt vero ei qui (et, mirabile dictu, quae!) cameras a directore vestro benignissimo ad res agendas dispositas distinguere haudquaquam poterant.  Omnium enim in Collegio locorum, illum unum ad requiem reservatum in mentibus (vel potius in ventribus)  ideo deligere habebant ut Bacchum ipsum media nocte salutarent!

Videte incredibilem audaciam!  Recordamini stuporem!  Cognoscite denque stultitiam!  Quantus ebriorum clamor, quanta in atrio susurratio, quanta et qualis illa tremenda nocte omnium bonorum consociorum excitatio!  “Aequam memento rebus in arduis servare mentem.”  Ut Horatius noster canebat; aliud tamen est canere, aliud cantare.

Altero die nobis erat peregrinatio coloniae; recte dixit poeta “Facilis descensus”!  Perenniora certe aere monumenta exegerant Romani, plerumque tamen in praecipitibus!  Nihilominus vero multas per gentes et multa per aequora vecti, postremo ad collegium eodem rettulimus defatigati sed paulo doctiores.

Iste recitator rerumque litterariarum conductor qui ante me hoc officio mirifice perfunctus est, mihi ipsi verbis non modo non veris sed etiam crudelissimis “Maximae,” inquit “loquacitatis, minimi momenti”: utinam illa loquacitas mi iam redeat - de vestri directoris praesentis honore, dignitate denique modestia singulari pauca loquor - oratio enim est finita!

K.F. Cox: Director