The Association for Latin Teaching

respice prospice

ARLT Summer School  1981

  held at King Alfred's College, Winchester

  Directed by Dr I. Gill

….......  some 45 Classics Teachers from all parts of the country converged upon King Alfred's College in the ancient city of Winchester to participate in the 58th A.R.L.T. Summer School. Having attended such a Summer School for the first time in the summer of 1980 and having found the experience both enjoyable and profitable I looked forward to this year's events with interest and enthusiasm and I was not disappointed.

So varied and wide-ranging was the scope of activities on offer, that time and space prevent me from doing full justice to a description of their content and value. However I hope that the ensuing account of, what were for me, some of the high spots of the week may serve to give the reader an idea of the nature of the course.

Nowhere was the heterogeneous character of the content of the Summer School more evident than in the topics covered by the lectures and seminars. This year being the 2000th anniversary of the death of Virgil we were treated to an opening lecture and seminar on the great poet by one of this country's leading authorities, Professor R.D. Williams, who spoke upon the poetic technique of Virgil and the "message" of the Aeneid. This panoramic view of the poet and the epic was a refreshing and stimulating change for teachers who generally spend their school-time studying the minutiae of isolated books or passages.

quot homines, tot interpretationes was the keynote of the literary appreciation seminars led by Mr.J. G. Randall, who took great delight in unearthing recondite (and occasionally specious!?) allusions in the poetry of the Augustan age and offering them up for lively and thought-provoking discussion to the assembled company ( whose literary faculties in the af ter-dinner session were somewhat heightened by wine).

Those course members whose interests lay more in the historical than literary field were well catered for by Professor T.P. Wiseman who gave an absorbing exposition on Roman Historiography in the 1st Century B.C., reintroducing many of us to names and works long forgotten since university days; by Professor T .J. Brown who, with the aid of slides, traced the transmission of Classical texts through Medieval manuscripts (and left more than one course member wondering how Latin and Greek texts had managed to survive the stylised illegibility of certain periods!); and by Miss L. Wilson who, in a beautifully illustrated talk, steered us skilfully through the intricacies of the family life of the Byzantine rulers (780-1056 A .D.)

as the widows or mothers of successive emperors struggled to retain power in their own hands (an unexpected blow for Women's Lib!).

Art ,architecture and music were also allotted their places in the lecture list. In an entertaining and engrossing lecture Dr. J.G. Landels took us on a guided tour round the fresco in the Villa of the Mysteries. For those of us who have tried to explain the significance of these wall paintings to pupils it was encouraging to hear from an expert that the "meaning" of the fresco is still open to many and various interpretations and is still in fact a "mystery". In addition to this artistic treat, a feast for ear as well as eye was set before us by one of our own course members Mlle. V.Vouilloz as she outlined the history of Latin in church music from the 8th-20th Century and illustrated the themes with music and slides.

Finally, less esoteric but extremely informative and useful, was Mr. D. Morton's talk on the revision of the Cambridge Latin Course , when we were not only given a preview of the intended alterations but also a welcome opportunity to voice our own ideas and requests.

While the lecture and seminar programme served to revitalise and extend our own individual interests in the classical world, the practical day-to-day needs of a Classics teacher were also well catered for.  Approximately two thirds of the course timetable was given over to activities of immediate use and value such as pronunciation practice, art and craft, drama, music, prose composition, literary criticism. Examination of the Cambridge Latin Course, comprehension work, modern Greek, reading groups and demonstration lessons . Here course members could exercise personal choice and opt to attend those sessions which they felt would be of most use to their particular teaching situation. It would be impossible to describe even a small part of what went on in these productive and instructive sessions. However a brief mention of some of the activities will give the reader a sample of the range of subjects covered.

In the Modern Greek Circulus a jovial Mr. A.W. Eagling soon had us throwing off all our inhibitions as he led the group in lusty renderings of modern Greek popular songs and encouraged us to greet him with traditional salutations, introduce ourselves, and order typical Greek meals from him. Mr. W. O'Neill in his slide-show sessions entitled "Environmental Classics" gave us plenty of ammunition to fire back at those parents and children who sometimes rather scathingly enquire , "What relevance has the Classical world to today?" We saw the all-pervasive Classical influence in the architecture of modern buildings as diverse as Todmorden Town Hall, the Arc de Triomphe and a Leeds Bingo Hall, not to mention classical motifs on stamps, coins, postboxes etc. Here certainly was very useful material for Classical Studies projects. One of the central activities of the course was the daily reading class when small groups gathered together to read aloud their particular chosen author. Of all the activities, I found this one the most immediately useful. Rare indeed are the opportunities to read aloud over a concentrated period a large part , if not all, of, say a Cicero speech and under friendly guidance to perfect one's pronunciation. This was an activity from which both I and, I hope, my pupils have gained immediate benefit.

Finally a brief word must be said about one of the other principal features of the Summer School - the Demonstration lessons. This year the J.A.C.T. Greek course was under close scrutiny .The intrepid and enthusiastic Miss C. Russell skilfully guided 5 (occasionally recalcitrant!) "guinea pigs" through the early stages of the course and demonstrated the merits and demerits of the material to the benefit of both the audience and pupils. (Speaking as one of the (less recalcitrant!) guinea pigs I should like to thank Clare for revitalising my interest in this area).

Lest any readers should think that the course members devoted themselves tirelessly and wholly to work, let me assure them that there were also opportunities for relaxation - in the form of tennis, swimming, sightseeing - and for entertain­ ment in the shape of the final night's festivities when course members revealed a wealth of talent as they  performed excerpts from Plautus' Mostellaria, sang madrigals, gave piano and recorder solos, and joined together in a community sing­ song (in Latin of course). Apart from these activities a constant source of inspiration was also to be found, as usual at conferences, in the bar.

The atmosphere of the Summer School at all times was friendly and informal (typified by the visiting lecturer who felt so immediately at home that he kicked off his shoes and proceeded to lecture in his stockinged feet!) So well did everyone mix together that even on my second visit to an A.R.LT.Summer School it was not clear to me who were the people "in charge." The fact that the "leader" in a particular activity was very likely to be sitting beside one as a pupil in the next, lent a spirit of camaraderie to the whole proceedings.

For me this was a week when much of value was learned, ideas and experiences were informally and fruitfully exchanged, and that jaded "end-of ­ term" feeling was swept away. Enthusiasm was renewed, and the sense of isolation suffered by many Classics teachers dissolved .

My thanks go to all who helped to put on the Summer School and especially to Dr. I. Gill - this year's Director.

A.R. Hall Boston High School

Oratio valedictoria

ORATIO VALEDICTORIA: A.R.L.T. Summer School, 1981

Favete linguis, o Arelates , ut audiatis haec verba directoris. Sine dubio est mihi res magnae difficultatis ingentisque trepidationis ut hanc orationem suscipiam, sed id nihilominus quam optime perficiam, equidem spero me usque ad f inem dicendi sine ulla interpellatione perventurum esse. (Quam spem!)

Nuptiis igitur regalibus auspicato confectis , incolisque antipodum clava saligna ab anglis funditus iterum superatis, ad collegium Regis Alfredi, Ventae Belgarum situm, congregabatur. Hic ludus aestivus, qui octavus et quinquagensimus esse sine ulla difficultate probari potest , sole vel calidissimo incipiebatur.

Primum doctissimus pro fessor Gulielmi Radingensis 1 nobis de Marone multa et sapientia verba de intentione poetica Aeneidos tradidit. Quod ille (id est Publius Vergilius, non Gulielmi) abhinc duo milia annorum mortuus esse putatur, multi codices Vergiliani quam simillime expressi translationesque vel antiquissimae expositae erant. Tum pro fessor ille, Johanne Randalo adiuvante , de Didone aliisque personis facundissi me disseruit.2

Postero die pro fessor Julianus 3 , calceis propter calorem haud ferendum depositis, multas per picturas vel pulcherrimas demonstravit quomodo codices latini per mille annos multis commutationibus affecti essent: qui vir mehercule eximiae fortitudinis maximaeque sapientiae est qui tam diu sine auxilio notatorum nos delectavit.

Tum Davidus4 nobis narravit de renovatione cursus Cantabrigiensis quae efficiet ut discipuli nostri facili us efficaciusque linguam Latinam discant.

Pauca verba nunc dicam de Clara 5 quae nobis tam diligenter ostendit quomodo discipuli maturi, qui linguam graecam vel omnino ignorent vel minime noverint, verbis eius libenter studioseque audiendis mox Herodotum Aristophanemque legere discere possint.

Johannes, quem supra commemoravi, iterum de Marone quam eruditissime locutus est; nec minima disputatio inde de feminis Vergilianis orsa est. Deinde, post prandium , quamquam calor gravissimus nos opprimebat, per vias Ventae Belgarum ducebamur usque ad nonam horam. Nos omnes ubi defatigati ad collegium revenimus pro fessorem Petrum Sapientem6 de historiographia diserte loquentem audivimus. Necesse erat nobis, valde sitientibus, multum vinum cervisiamque bibere ut ariditatem gutturis vinceremus.

Quid dicam de Veronica Helvetica7, quae maxima cum eruditione nos delectabat?  Pro di immortales. Quanto gaudio adflatuque divino affecti picturas pulcherri mas spectabamus musicamque ecclesiasticam audiebamus. Eodem die praeterea nos iterum delectati picturis verbisque Johannis Radingensis 8 , qui multum de flagellatione dicebat sed pudicitiam Arelatium nullo modo offendit. Daemon enim pennatus nihilo crudelius puellam illam tractebat quam angli Australienses clava saligna verberaverant 9

Hodie (quam cito dies sunt progressi .....) multum de imperatricibus B yzanti is didicimus, quarum vitia moresque saevi quam peritissime a femina laurigera 10 sunt descripti. Quam crudeles erant illae mulieres, re vera potentiores quam mariti, praecipue cum hi caecati essent.

Multa alia gesta sunt...... ea quae commemorari possint, nunc sequuntur. Cantores cantaverunt, actores egerunt, pictores pinxerunt sed, eheu, coqui non coxerunt. Disputationes saepe de litteris Latinis sunt orsae, sed magister Johannes interdum ab illo altero Johanne nomine arboreo dicto interpellabatur. Lingua Graeca hodierna ingenti cum studio docebatur et cetera fiebant quae propter huius orationis brevitatem commemorare prohibeor.

Postremo ad perorationem advenio. Ludus, qui nunc paene confectus est, mihi quoque multum gaudium attulit. Spero equidem vos, qui Venta Belgarum iam discessuri estis, domum incolumes regressos in mente retenturos aliquid memoria dignum ex hoc ludo aestivo. Vobis omnibus, praecipue magistris qui multum auxilium mihi semper attulerunt, gratias vel maximas ago. Valete.

I.R. Gill , Queen’s College, Taunton


1. Professor R .D. Williams, University of Reading.

2. A seminar on Virgil was conducted jointly by Professor Williams and John Randall.

3. Professor T.J. Brown, University of London , King's College.

4. David Morton, Director since its inception of the Cambridge Schools Classics Project Latin Course.

5. Miss Clare Russel l of Marlborough College, who led the demonstration lessons on the J.A.C.T . Greek Course.

6. Professor T.P. Wiseman, University of Exeter.

7. Mlle. Veronique Voui lloz , who gave an illustrated lecture on the use of Latin in Church Music.

8. Dr.J.G. Landels , University of Reading.

9. A feature of the fresco in the Villa of the Mysteries is a scene depicting the apparent flagellation of a girl by a winged deity .

10. Miss Laurie Wilson, University of Southampton, who gave an illustrated lecture on Byzantine Empresses.

A.R.L.T. Summer School, Winchester, 1981

On a hot and hazy Monday at the beginning of the summer holiday