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The Association for Latin Teaching


ARLT Summer School  1977

held at University of Lancaster

Directed by J.G. Randall

Personal Reflections (1)

To the overwhelmed and perhaps slightly undiscerning tiro, his first visit to a summer school of this kind was full of treasure both concealed and revealed. How refreshing it was, in our fast-moving century, to awake knowing that one was about to spend the day among congenial people devoted to the propagation of classical values, to such varied activities as reading Virgil in the original, analysing comprehension exercises, or attacking De Bello Gallico 'qua lingua Divus ipse scripserat.'

The compactness and conciseness of the summer school's activities are to be praised; indeed, there was scarcely a moment from 9.00 am. to 8.30 pm. when our minds were not focussing on things classical, whether in organised study or informal discussion - it was harder work than a day's teaching!  But the variety and scope of the activities made sure that one never ran the risk of boredom.

One regret was that the exigencies of time and money did not allow us to get much of a look at Lancaster and the surrounding countryside; but this is one of the sacrifices to be made in these hard times.

The heading on several of the sheets of information disseminated had in italics the words 'The Classical Summer School run by practising teachers for practising teachers' - this was in a way rather a misnomer, for unless the circuli that I attended were wholly untypical, very little reference was made to every­ day teaching. I was told that in former years there had been demonstration classes, and that this year it was not convenient for them to be held, but I, like many others, would still have appreciated more than informal exchanges about the development of the CLC, the use of Ecce Romani, the value of English into Latin and, for the increasing number of teachers about to embark, willingly or unwillingly, on the field of "Classical Studies" - perhaps these were felt to be too perennial for inclusion, but I for one, regretted their absence. Thus none of the five lectures. each given by university lecturers who are experts in their own fields, and each seminar that followed, while highly enjoyable in themselves and a stimulation to further thought, had much to do with the everyday business of the ars docendi - I leave it to you to detect the connection between 'Land Use in Central Italy' and the bread and butter work of the classroom, unless we are to plead that, stimulated by the lecture, the teacher returns with renewed vigour to the problem of how to help children understand the accusative case. This would open the door to anything. The other small grudge I think I share with some of my fellow guests at the summer school is that, apart from Charles Craddock's excellent circulus, there was no attempt to speak Latin, a group exercise which far from being artificial and 'academic', would have enabled us to flex our linguistic muscles (as well as to produce a good deal of healthy laughter) - were we too ashamed of uncovering our flab?

The facilities at the University of Lancaster were beyond reproach - and it is no mere formality to say so - our individual rooms were very comfortable and well-appointed, and the food of a consistently excellent standard. All thanks are due to the director of the 1977 summer school, John Randall, who modestly and discreetly supervised the co-ordination of the varied activities. Once we had negotiated our way round the campus, which seemed initially almost as labyrinthine as J. Pinsent's offering on myth,and distinguished the subtle differences between college and college, all was well.

For me the highlight of the week was the Thursday night before our departure, when we journeyed in a cavalcade of cars to John and Shelagh Randall's eyrie on the moors above Lancaster - this cleverly converted barn was witness to extracts from Purcell's ·Dido and Aeneas'. to a 'Fabula in Taberna' written and acted by no mean Thespians under the direction of Belinda Dennis, and, to end the convivial evening, was no doubt quite confounded to hear Latin words set to popular tunes, the evening ending with a truly tribalistic rendering, Latine, of the Oke Koke, led by one of the veteran members of A.R.L.T. who had come to the rather acerbic A.G.M. held earlier the same day. Here one . suddenly felt all was worthwhile, that this venerable tongue we endeavour to transmit to the young was a living communicating thing - and for me, at least, that discovery was the meaning of all that had happened on the preceding days.

Philip Barlow

Personal Reflections (2)

I had never, until this year, got beyond the title of the A.R.LT., feeling sure that any Associat ion with such a name would hold nothing to attract me. Yet, by some visual quirk, I noticed that the 1977 conference included classes in prose composition, an area in which I have an uncomfortably vast ignorance and an even larger insecurity. So. feeling virtuous and maybe even a bit masochistic,

I sent in my name, still sure that the members would be probably well-meaning but definitely eccentric.

The physical surroundings - Lancaster this year - were as one might expect in a modern university; the food and service were excellent. All the conference activities had been packed into a short period, from Monday after­noon to Friday afternoon, to keep down costs. This meant that local

expeditions, which are apparently a normal and enjoyable part of most conferences , could not be fitted in. It also meant, since everything else was fitted in, that there was a vague but real feeling of being always on the way to something but never on the way from anything.

The expected eccentrics failed to turn up (perhaps they do not really exist?) and the lively and friendly atmosphere, the sense of a group of people, people with interests in common, meeting and learning was a most pleasurable one.  Pronunciation classes, the reading aloud of a Latin text, circuli, classes on visual presentation of stories, literary appreciation classes in which the stress was on guidance from the leader rather than dogmatic assertion,and, of course, the dread Latin prose composition succeeded one another in a kaleidoscopic whirl. Lancaster fed us almost too well : the evening lectures were punctuated by the occasional snore from those whose stomachs demanded the post-prandial nap in spite of an amazingly good collection of speakers.

On Thursday evening the pace changed as the conference removed itself to Mr. Randal 's house for an evening's entertainment. From all the things which ought to be mentioned I should like to remark the results of the drama class which rivalled the sheer hilarity of 'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum'.

The unique feature of the course, from my point of view, was its emphasis on individual participation and on the real needs of the classics teacher. There was enthusiasm. a wide range of interests , a lot of amusement, and, at the end, a feeling of having attended something worthwhile and - although I came away neither writing nor reading fluent Latin - of having accomplished something individually.

Merle Hastings


Hoc illud est, 0 Arelates ? lam me relinquere vultis? Magno dolore afficior et quodam gaudio. Doleo quod multas per gentes et multa per aequora vecti domum redibitis. De hac re quid dicam? Quod genus dicendi sumam?  Nempe genus propemptikon.   Crudeles divi, quot et quantos dolores hominibus dedistis.

Sed gaudeo quod in magnum discrimen adducti iam salvi estis. Nam vos, virgines pulcherrimae iuvenesque gracillimi, domo erepti, in currus novas coacti qui (mirabile dictu) se movent nec tamen equos habent, huc ad Universitatem Lancastrensem pervenistis. Hic labor ille domus et inextricabilis error.

Hora novissima erat. Vos tamen dulce cantabatis tamquam olores morituri. Nonnulli etiam epitafion sibi scripserunt, quod nunc vobis legam:

Saepe per ambages hue illuc currere pergit

difficilique errat maesta caterva via

undique pervolitant acies agitata; magistro

omnis discipuli lingua loquente favet.

cqomskia director didicit, quae dicta docebit

nos quoque, quisque Arelas discit amare Noam.

Carmen doctum, mehercule, neque illepidum, haud simile eis quae scribuntur aquae potoribus.

At Theseus vester aderat, huius societatis praeses . Stricto gladio, cui sua acies erat, nec acies oculorum nec acies multorum militum sed iila quae gladio propria est, noctem pervigilabat , ut Minotaurum necaret. In hoc tanto rerum discrimine ego, fatebor enim, tamquam riqaspisths<: fugi et apud me dormiebam. Sed Theseus vester victor evasit.

Nunc triumphantes lusistis satis, edistis satis atque bibistis; tempus abire vobis est. Discedite ergo laetantes meique memores.