The Association for Latin Teaching

respice prospice

Newsletter 12: February 2004

Dear Classical Friend,

I've had several bits of feed-back from you (collectively) recently, which I enjoy greatly. A shorter newsletter this time. It was getting rather bloated. So, two items intimately concerned with the ARLT, one excellent new web site, and three other things that I found interesting.


Act now


Urgent things first: If you haven't yet made up your mind to come to the Refresher Day on Saturday 6th March at Francis Holland School, then do visit


for the full programme and details of the option groups. I shall be particularly interested, for obvious reasons, in Will Griffiths on 'Online Latin in the 21st Century'. I'm afraid you can't register on line - we aren't geared up for that yet - but I'm sure there will still be time to get your name down and your choices in. There's a printable form at /home/arltcouk/public_html/refresher_form.pdf .

To make the trip up to London even more worth while I'm combining this with the production of Lysistrata (in English) at the Bloomsbury Theatre. It's on from 3-6 March, with some matinees. For this you can book on line with your credit card. Visit


Resources increased and made more user-friendly


A request e-mailed to me about the resources in the ARLT Teachers' Section led me to make some small changes, which mean that you can now print the unseens, exams or handouts in decent sized print without the menus and pictures appearing on the page as well. I had previously suggested cutting and pasting, but when I tried it myself I found that the bold and italic type-faces, and the underlining, failed to transfer to my word processor, and particularly in the Tacitus teaching notes, those are important.

More contributions from our indefatigable Hilary Walters and also from new contributors David Hodgkins and Jane Nimmo-Smith are making this a really useful teaching resource, that I should certainly be using if I were still at the interactive white board, or whatever the most recent equivalent of the chalk face is. We can offer, for AS and A2, teaching notes on Tacitus, chapter by chapter, a whole list of essay titles and a mock exam on Annals XV, 7 unseens from Livy and two, at the moment, from Ovid; and for GCSE, an introduction to Vergil and the Aeneid, and two sets of revision questions on Aeneid II from two different teachers. In addition there is a GCSE grammar revision course in pdf format ready to print, and links to the vocabulary lists for the two levels at GCSE.

But there is room for more. If you have resources on disc that you could send me as an e mail attachment, I'll be glad to put them in the Teachers' section to help make other people's lives a fraction easier. In particular, we tend to be concentrating on OCR, and there must be room for some AQA stuff.

By the way, the user name and password that are sent automatically when anyone registers on the ARLT site are not the ones you need to access the Teachers' section. Those were sent to you in a previous newsletter, or when you registered if that was more recently. If you have mislaid these details, e-mail me and I will send them to you again.


All-singing all-dancing site from Oz


Do visit , an Australian Broadcasting Corporation site. Lots of fun with mythology and a bit of history and daily life of Greece. My laptop now shows a slide show of Greek mythology from this site, as a screen-saver. The cartoon style takes a bit of getting used to, for an elderly gent at least, but the animations are very well done. If you don't want the movement, or you have a slow internet connection, you can opt for a non-flash version, but I do recommend the glitzy version. You can visit the Delphic Oracle and ask it questions, and it will not only give you an (irrelevant) answer, but you will hear the Pythia intoning Greek hexameters as she rocks gently on the tripod. Hermes is always there, never still, occasionally talking to you. He's in charge of navigation.

You might even remember to recommend the site to your pupils, if you don't get too possessive about it yourself.


An idea for Stonehenge


Bear with me - this does have a classical bearing. I drove down the A303 from London to Somerset yesterday, in snow, and passed the Stonehenge visitor centre, or the apology for one. As I thought what they might do for a visitor centre when the new scheme for burying the road comes to pass, I noticed the many round barrows within a few miles of the monument and remembered my visit to Philip of Macedon's tomb. I don't know if you've been there yet, but you go into the burial mound and find a modern museum with all the finds from the tomb, and the bodies displayed exactly where they were found. It's got an immediacy that I haven't found in other museums. So why not do an excavation on, say, three round barrows that lie close together in a row, and display the finds in the manner of Philip's museum? Show the background info about Stonehenge in the same underground museum, and then take the punters to see the real thing. What do you think?

Another spur to make me think about this is the news that road builders have struck another Mycenean royal tomb on the outskirts of Volos in central Greece, and it seems to be intact. Hold-ups for archaeology must be a way of life for Greek road construction companies.


Remember Harry Potter?


After the hype and excitement last summer about Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, things on the Rowling front have gone quiet, but now he's surfacing again, in Greek. I append the news item, but I particularly like the sentence: "Having got kids reading English, J. K. Rowling is quite keen to have them reading Latin and reading Greek." If so, more power to her elbow.


Harry Potter may soon stand alongside Homer's Odysseus in the libraries of classical scholars. After a year of work, Andrew Wilson, a teacher of classics in Bedford, England, has completed what he says is the longest translation of a text into classical Greek in 1,500 years. The work is "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone," the English title of the first volume of the international best-selling J. K. Rowling novels recounting the adventures of the boy wizard. Mr. Wilson said the project was commissioned by the publishers. "I think what the official line is," he said, "is that it can be used in schools to encourage people to learn Greek. Having got kids reading English, J. K. Rowling is quite keen to have them reading Latin and reading Greek." The BBC reported that the Greek book is to be issued later this year, along with a Gaelic version.


Etruscans in Edinburgh


Edinburgh is going to host an Etruscans exhibition this summer, apparently. This link to the Scotsman site was still active this afternoon: , but the most interesting paragraphs in the news item are these:

One highlight of the Etruscan show will be the intricate gold work of a civilisation 25 centuries old. Edinburgh designer Tim Pethick has drawn up a blueprint which will showcase gold tiaras and earrings, bronzes and the celebrated Etruscan sarcophagi, in a setting inspired by modernist Italian architecture of the Venetian Carlo Scarpa.

The collection of up to 500 items is currently touring Shanghai and Beijing, and has already travelled to Santa Barbara, California, and Santiago, Chile.

Edinburgh will be its only UK showing, and the National Museums of Scotland plans to put their own twist on the Etruscans' ancient culture - from intricate gold-work to the surprisingly PC attitudes towards the role of women.

"It would be possible for us to load up old pots and stuff and put them in cases and say here is a load of old tat from Italy," said David Caldwell, the museums' curator of Mediterranean archaeology.

"But we want to get a message across, that these are our ancestors, these were Europeans long before Christ and the Romans, who were developing a sophisticated way of life. This is part of our European heritage."

Best wishes,