The Association for Latin Teaching

respice prospice

ARLT Summer School  1980

  held at College of Ripon & York St John, York

  Directed by Mrs F B K Dennis

A.R.LT. Summer School , York , 1980: Two Views

This year's Summer School was held at the College of Ripon and York St. John and was directed by Belinda Dennis. From the beginning there was an atmosphere of friendliness and informality which lasted throughout the course.

After a short welcome from the Director, we were given a talk by Wilf O'Neill, entitled "Latin All Around Us". A collection of amusing slides showed that Latin enters our daily lives on wine-labels and names of shops; even cars have names like Audi and Volvo.

The days were filled with the various activities customary at A.R.L.T . Summer Schools: music or Roman Cooking (appetising smells of dates fried in honey and other delicacies assailed our nostrils as we returned from singing). Of the craft, drama and photography options, I chose drama, which proved most amusing although I had to learn a part in Latin in four days!

Cicero, Homer, Ovid, Pliny, and Virgil were set for reading practice. I attended John Randall's group to read Iliad IX. Under his guidance we learned to appreciate the beauty of Homer's metrical qualities.

Determined to improve my pronunciation, I joined Judith Carter's class. After taking us through the different sounds, she soon had us reading as a group or individually both in Latin and Greek .The alternatives to this class were: a new interpretation of Greek Comedy, Latin Prose and Verse Composition.

The Circuli on CLC., Classical Studies, Ecce Romani and Comprehension at Ordinary Level were led by experienced teachers who outlined the advantages and disadvantages of a particular method or course and discussed ways of tackling certain aspects of a syllabus. They provided a valuable opportunity of exchanging ideas and of finding that one is not isolated but that others encounter the same problems.

Ronald Darroch gave four demonstration lessons using the Ecce Romani course to eleven-year-old volunteers from St.Olave's School, York . None of his pupils had learned Latin before, but they were soon answering questions in Latin and English, picking out verb and noun endings and finding derivatives. They were not overawed by the television cameras at their first lesson. The A.R.L.T. was on B.B.C. North's programme "Look North" that evening and the Director, Ronald Darroch and two of his class showed viewers that Latin was very much alive. In subsequent lessons he emphasised correct pronunciation and encouraged his pupils to make up a story in Latin.

John Randall with his customary expertise gave three literary criticism sessions. He allowed us to air our own prejudices and then skilfully introduced a fresh point of view. Various theories were put forward; yet however improbable they were, they were never summarily rejected.

Our visiting speakers included John Ferguson who gave us a stimulating talk on "Religion in the Roman Empire" and followed it up with a seminar the next day on the sources of his subject .

Professor O.A.W Dilke demonstrated his literary prowess in his treatment of Horace as a letter-writer and his linguistic skill on the next day when he described in fluent Latin the various conferences on Spoken Latin.

Speaking on "The Archaeology of Roman York" Peter Wenham fired us with his evident enthusiasm for his subject and gave us an excellent introduction to the next day's tour of the Roman city. This was most illuminating as we were shown parts of the Roman wall and the street plan of the fort and various finds, inscriptions, and mosaics in the museum. Our tour was conducted by Chris Clarke of the York Archaeological Trust., who had taken the more intrepid members of the course down the Roman sewer the previous night.

Professor W.G. Arnott gave a fascinating account of Schliemann's life and showed some rare slides of his discoveries at Mycenae.

William Thompson with a wealth of slides convinced us that classical themes had inspired artists of every school from the Dark Ages to Dali and Delvaux .

The final evening's entertainment was the product of our musical and dramatic labours. Besides  Vivaldi's Gloria,  directed by Rosemary Hulse, we heard works for organ, recorder and piano. The Director in her traditional Oratio Valedictoria summed up the activities and personalities of the course - not too respectfully. The Greek Comedy group ,directed by Nina Dendy, put on stylish versions of extracts from Euripides' Helen and Aristophanes' Frogs. Plautus' Mercator adapted by Nick Dunn, and produced by Roger Davies, was acted by the Latin drama group. Finally, everyone joined in with a spirited rendering of the A R.LT .songs - in Latin naturally!

We left York feeling exhausted but very encouraged and stimulated. Our thanks go to Belinda Dennis for having planned such an enlivening and enjoyable course and her team of twenty group-leaders whose energy and expertise made it possible.

Caroline Bowden


On the first afternoon Mr Wilf O'Neill provided us with a slide show entitled "Latin All Around Us". He convinced us that the influence of the Romans had extended as far as some pubs in West Yorkshire .We were left to reflect whether the "Vesper Gate", near Kirkstall Abbey in Leeds, opened its doors at lunchtime, and whether the "Omnibus" in Oueensbury attracted full houses because of its name or because it served hand-pulled Tetleys bitter and dark mild. In similar vein, would you buy your clothes from a shop in Elland, owned by Susan and Dorothy, and called "Sudor"?

Among the week's activities there was an opportunity for any aspiring Anthrax or Congrio to develop his skills. Apicius provided us with the recipes as we cut open dates, stuffed them with peanuts and pepper, dipped them in honey and then fried them in oil. All were surprised by the result, some pleasantly.

The sense of adventure continued when the more foolhardy. encouraged by a drink at the "Roman Baths", took a midnight trip down a recently discovered Roman sewer. Dressed in Wellington boots and waterproof coats, wearing hard hats and carrying torches, they made their way  on their stomachs through this magnificent testimony to Roman engineering. When they reappeared after an hour down the sewer it was fortunate that the citizens of York did not have to witness the sight.

Archaeology was the prevalent theme of Thursday's activities. In the after­noon most members of the course went on a conducted tour of the Roman city but were disappointed that no-one met the Roman soldiers' ghosts that are apparently legion in York . In the evening Professor W .G. Arnott dispelled many of our misconceptions in a refreshing lecture entitled "Schliemann at Mycenae".

When the course dispersed on Saturday at lunchtime many of us hoped that we would be able to join Fiery Fred and say to York, "Ah'll si' thee."

Brendan Darcy


o Musa, inspira mihi, te precor , facundiam Latine dicendi ut hanc orationem satis bene perficiam. utinam linguam professoris Oswaldi habeam! 1 o Arelates, auspiciis haud bonis hic sextus et quinquagensimus ludus aestivus orsus est. sed, postquam  vos advenientes conspexi, vultus vestros hilares et laetos animadverti, omnibus mutatis gaudere  coepi.

primum deus ex machina2 per picturas duas simul proiectas demonstravit linguam Latinam ubique apparere, etiam in titulis tabernarum; exempli gratia: ' ad fundum'   et  ' usque ad mortem  bibendum'.

deinde Johannes Fergifilius 3 sapienter disseruit de religionibus quae florebant dum Romani imperium obtinebant.

postridie Petrus4  nobis narravit umbras militum Romanorum per aquam incedentium visas esse et puellam quandam temporis nostri urnam Romanam in horto suo invenisse.

tum professor Aquilaevires iucunde locutus est de mercatore (vel fraudatore) quodam Germano5  qui linguam Graecam se docuerat Homeri amore caecus et M ycenis antiquis effossis exclamavit : "vultum Agamemnonis spectavi!"

quid dicam de Ronaldo nostro6' nam discipulos ludi in Britannia antiquissimi linguam Latinam cotidie peritissi me docebat. discipuli autem non sunt defessi; cotidie diligenter audiebant, diligenter et iocose respondebant. hic magister ad demonstrandum quid verbum quoddam significaret, rem ipse faciebat. itaque ad terram cadebat, in sella stabat. haud dubium est quin in capite stetisset, si necesse fuisset.

Johannes quoque Lancastrensis e tumultu Boliviano et e turbine Alanio elapsus, Eboracum quidem pervenit, sed incertumst utrum alterno pede7 an aequo pede7 iter fecisset. quin etiam carmen anulo compositum8 , saepe a Callimacho altero9 interruptus, facunde et tenaciter disputabat.

nonnulli etiam audaces, homines, mulieres, liberi, mirabile dictu, in cloacam Romanam noctu descenderunt. hic autem descensus non facilis ad vermes albinos et aquam limosam spectandam . galeas tamen, calceos, vestimenta contra aquam fabricata gerentes , lucernas portantes , ad nos revenerunt incolumes - sed post mediam noctem!

semper me meminisse iuvabit quam diligenter laboraveritis, quam iocose locuti sitis, dum vinum, cervisiam, alias potiones bibebatis, quam strenue nataveritis ante ientaculum, quam alacriter saltaveritis.

vos vero magistri et magistrae, qui/quae linguam Latinam et linguam Graecam cotidie docebatis, subito poetae facti/ factae estis Petro9  suadente, pictores aut cantores Rosamaria10  demonstrante, actores Nina11 et Rogero12  inducentibus, etiam coqui Autoraeda 13  ostendente et Apicium consulente.

nec Gulielmum praeterire me decet14 ,qui probavit multos pictores omnium temporum usque ad nostrum fabulas Graecas Romanasque pingere solitos esse. sed quid dixit de illo Alma Tadema?  num fieri potest ut hic pictor taeniam mensurae1 5 secum portaverit dum ferias nuptiales cum nova uxore agebat?

fortasse iter longissimum huc fecistis aut navi aut autoraeda16 aut autoraeda longa17 aut tramine18 aut aeroplano - non ut Richardus, iste latro, equa nigra , Elizabetha nomine vectus! quoquo modo huc advenistis, spero, o dulces comitum coetus, diversas varias vias vos domum reportaturas incolumes ac,dum in desideratis acquiescitis lectis, aliquid iocosum, aliquid sapientiae, aliquid pulchritudinis ex hoc ludo aestivo vobis in mentem rediturum.

o fortunatos nimium, sua si bona norint, magistros et magistras harum dulcium linguarum. vobis omnibus gratias quam maximas ago. valete.

Belinda Dennis



Professor O.A.W. Dilke on Spoken Latin.


W .B. O'Neill was in charge of visual aids and spoke on "Latin All Around Us".


John Ferguson on the Religions of the Roman Empire.


L .P. Wenham on Roman York .


Professor W.G. Arnott on Schliemann at Mycenae.


Ronald Darroch taught pupils of St.Olave's School ,York, in his demonstration lessons.


John Randall led the literary criticism sessions ;one poem was Horace, Odes 1.4.


'Ring composition'.


Peter Hulse, who also led  the Verse Composition group.


Rosemary Hulse led craft and music groups.


Nina Dendy produced excerpts from Greek Comedy in English.


Roger Davies produced the Latin play.


Lesley Bedford-Forde took the Roman Cookery class.


W .B. Thompson on Classical Themes in Art .


A tape-measure.


A car.


A coach.


A train.