The Association for Latin Teaching

respice prospice

Newsletter 15: May 2004

Dear Classical Friend,

A warm welcome to you if you registered with the ARLT web site recently. We have had 2003 visitors to the site from 45 countries so far during May (I write this on 26th) and I have been glad that a steady stream of present and intending teachers of Classics are signing up. I hope to meet some of you at the Summer School. /home/arltcouk/public_html/arlt_db.php?catID=4

I find I have 17 pages of interesting Classical stuff that I've collected since the April newsletter, so I shall have to use the blue pencil ruthlessly, and get this down to four pages. Pride of place goes to our President, Alison, then news of the Bulletin Board, and then items contributed by newsletter readers. After that I shall see how much more I can squeeze in.


Important message from the President


In view of the small numbers of Classics PGCE students being trained each year, a shortage highlighted recently by the situation at Jordanhill referred to in the last newsletter, I'd like to mention two ways in which schools might be able to help.

The OU now offers a flexible PGCE for which schools are closely involved in the training and mentoring of students. John McNee at Foyle and Londonderry College has experience of this scheme, recommends it and can supply further details. If you are willing to take a student contact me and I will pass on your details to your area contact.

The Graduate Teacher Programme 'enables schools to employ teachers who are not yet qualified and to support them through an individual training programme'. We have a Modern Languages graduate following this programme with us at the moment, and we have recently welcomed a Classics graduate doing two weeks in a different type of school as part of her course. Both students are of a very high calibre.

Alison Henshaw


Our new Bulletin Board


As I may have mentioned in the last newsletter, the suppliers of our previous Bulletin Board have withdrawn the service, so my IT expert son has set up a new one of our very own: /home/arltcouk/public_html/forum/index.php?clearoff=1

At first I didn't get the hang of it, and if you tried it in the early days you may have been frustrated. Now I think it is arranged satisfactorily. I have set up five Fora to begin with, namely 1. Teaching offered and needed, our very own Job Centre; 2. Your News - self-explanatory; 3. Books and other teaching items offered or wanted; 4. Must-see web sites - share your discoveries; 5. How to teach it - ideas offered or wanted. Once you have logged in you can set up another forum and start a discussion if you wish.


A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

************************************************ This one is from Hilary: The Sondheim musical is at the National Theatre from June 28 tel. 020 7452 3000


300 Classics Students meet - and that's only "a start"!


Yes, as you suspected, this is from the USA. Tony Payne, our Classical Brit in America, is great at responding to newsletters with a pithy email. This time he commented on the Scottish crisis, and added some news:

"Typical officialdom in Scotland, while Portland ME High School (the 2nd oldest public, i.e. State, school in the USA) has just got its Classical Greek program back(!) - in addition to the flourishing Latin presence in the school. The last Maine JClasLeague CERTAMEN met there on March 26th - I brought over 2 students at senior level ("3/4") from Westbrook (first time for some years that Westbrook entered) and they made it to the final, getting a trophy and coming 11th out of 21 teams fielded at that level. Approx. 300 students participated. Well, it's a start.... "


Do send feedback to exam boards.


I remember the (good old?) days when there were many exam boards. Our school patronised SUJB, (the Southern Universities Joint Board, I think the letters stood for) and each year we teachers trooped off to a gothic revival building in Bristol to meet the examiners, go through the comments made by schools on previous exam papers, and even make suggestions for set texts for the year after next. About a dozen of us sat in a row down one side of a large room, and five or six examiners sat facing us, but it wasn't a Government and Opposition feeling. We and our opinions were valued.

Now that England has just the two exam boards, it must be much harder for schools to feel they have a relationship with their board, and harder for examiners to know how their papers look to the punters. All the more reason, I'd have thought, to write to your board after every set of summer exams, with praise and/or criticism. (Psst! One Classics teacher thinks that the quality of exam papers has dropped recently. I couldn't possibly comment.)


Baroness Brigstocke killed on Greek visit


Thanks to Veronica Kotziamani for alerting me to this sad news. Extracts from a Times article, May 4

Heather Brigstocke, who was High Mistress of St Paul's Girls' School in London from 1974 to 1989, was attending a meeting of a children's charity outside Athens when she was hit by a car while crossing the road with a colleague on Friday night.

A charismatic, stylish and forceful woman, Heather Brigstocke was credited with giving St Paul's Girls' School its high profile during her 15 years as High Mistress. During her tenure the school produced alumni including the actresses Imogen Stubbs and Rachel Weisz and the broadcaster Daisy Donovan.

The daughter of a Scottish coalminer, she gained a place at Girton College, Cambridge, where she was the first woman to act in an annual theatrical production know as the Greek Play since 1883, before becoming a teacher. She was headmistress at Francis Holland School, Regent's Park, for nine years before joining St Paul's in 1974.

Notoriously determined, Lady Brigstocke spent the last day of her life nimbly exploring the Acropolis, despite problems with her knees. "My mother just adored ancient Greece and classics and to have died there is extraordinary," said her daughter, Persephone. "It was like a Greek tragedy, really. It is a frightful shock for everyone. We are just devastated." The funeral will be next week.


Aeneid 4 and Iliad 1 read aloud in original languages


We at ARLT are very keen on Latin as a spoken language. You probably have the recordings of set texts that we have produced. If not, the address to order from is here:


Following up some links kindly provided by Russell Shone, I came upon this: It's the whole of Aeneid 4 declaimed passionately, and, as far as I can judge, accurately in mp3 format. You can listen to it with RealPlayer. The recording quality is not as good as the ARLT CDs/tapes, it's not at present a set text, and it's not divided into sections, but it's an interesting listen, lasting just over an hour.

The site tells us that the performer, Valahfridus (Wilfried) Stroh has been professor of classical philology at the University of Munich since 1976. He is particularly interested in Roman love poetry, oratory, prosody, and in Neo-Latin. Professor Stroh is fond of using Latin in his writing and conversation and, when he encounters young people who are eager for learning, he strives to instruct them in the art of spoken Latin. He is, with the Czech musician Jan Novak, the founder and editor of LVDI LATINI, which provides a venue for Latin art and music.

The same site offers Iliad 1 in Greek by an American professor, Stanley Lombardo.

You might like to hear some Latin poetry in a comparatively deadpan reading here: Scroll down that page for other spoken Latin links.


A French prelude to the Summer School?


Another link from Russell Shone,, brought up this notice of a week of Latin conversation in the South of France. It takes place just before our Summer School, so gluttons for punishment could take it in as well. But you are coming to the Summer School, aren't you? If you haven't booked yet, visit /home/arltcouk/public_html/arlt_db.php?catID=4 now!

SYMPOSIVM LATINVM instituet Fundatio Melissa d. 18-25 m. Iulii a. 2004 in oppido Rocamadour loco amoenissimo in Francogallia. Hoc symposio, quod volumus esse iucundum sodalium concilium, participibus dabitur occasio de variis argumentis disputandi, quæ Latinistis cordi esse solent. Eis autem, quibus loquela Latina nondum est consueta, exercitationes Latine loquendi proponentur.


A newsgroup in Latin


Those who are content to converse in Latin from the comfort of their own computors may like to join Grex Latine Loquentium. On browsing the gallery of members' photos (pinacotheca) I came across at least one familiar face.


A competition for Classicists


Brian Bishop sends on an email including the following: "The Spectator hereby announces a monthly prize for composition in Latin or Greek. Readers are invited to submit versions of any excerpt of the magazine of roughly 300 words. The version may be in either language, prose or verse.

We offer a bottle of champagne for the winning entry. At the end of this year the judges will reward the most distinguished composition with a cup."

Novae sunt certaminis regulae: 200 verba, non 300 sunt interpretanda, aut Latine aut Graece, atque electronice mittenda ad: cum textu Anglico. Mensis Iunii certamen die 19o Iunii clauditur.


New drama on the Roman Empire


This coming TV series looks interesting. It will follow two Roman soldiers at the start of the Empire:

ROME (Reuters) - The ancient Roman Empire is rising again, albeit built out of plywood and fibreglass. On a sprawling backlot on the outskirts of Rome, purple and gold temples vie for space with brothels featuring erotic frescoes. Some 2,700 actors and extras are involved in the production which will be aired next year.§ion=news


Audio interview with Elaine Fantham on the use of Latin:


I enjoyed the enthusiasm of this interview from a US radio show: (Hope link still works)




I think this will be a practical help for teachers within reach of St Albans. An EU grant of around £96,850 (wrote reporter Tom Briggs in April) is to enable Verulamium Museum to bring visitors an enhanced view of the past. It is set to benefit from the introduction of wireless technology, thanks to the Information Society Technology (IST) Programme, which is part of the European Union's Framework Programme. The Cultural Heritage Of St Albans (CHOSA) project aims to provide people with a virtual experience of the Roman city of Verulamium. Thanks to computer and mobile phone technology, visitors to the Roman Park will soon be able to enjoy a wireless tour, and participate in an interactive online game.

"This will allow us to reach new users and audiences, whether it is for leisure or educational purposes," said Alison Coles, a spokesperson for St Albans Museums. "At the same time it will preserve these sites for future generations," she added.

The technology will see text and audiovisual material sent to visitors' mobile phones or PDAs as they walk through the grounds. As the majority of the ancient city is underground, this will inform the experience of visitors, enhancing their understanding of what life was once like. Because of the way the technology operates, users will be able to keep the information after leaving the site.

Peter Walters, UK representative of the IST programme believes that this initiative highlights the importance of technology to unlocking the secrets of the past.

"Historical and cultural institutions could bring to life thousands of ancient sites throughout Europe," he said. "Imagine the voice of an ancient Roman or Greek talking about Pompeii or the ruins at Delphi or Olympia."


That's all folks!


Well, I have gone over my four pages (just), and haven't included any of the archaeology stuff, like searching for triremes off Mount Athos, or finding a Roman site in Kerala. So I wish you well with the final tiring weeks of the school year, and wish your students well in their exams.

Best wishes