The Association for Latin Teaching

respice prospice

Newsletter 18: August 2004

Dear Classical Friend,


Summer School afterglow


Since last newsletter some of us have experienced a wonderful ARLT Summer School at Sedbergh, for which very many thanks to Course Director Hilary and Summer School Secretary Pauline, as well as all the option group leaders and helpers of all kinds. The weather was superb, too. I would have written a lot about the lectures and so on in this newsletter, but now that we have the Blog it's easier to put the lecture notes and photographs there:

If anyone really wants to study all the lectures, then start here: for the introduction, and then click on 'next' for each subsequent lecture.

If you'd like just a single page with four pictures, then:

Just for fun, I've put a count-down calculator on the pages for next year's Refresher Day:


and next year's Summer School:


By the way, Veronique Vouilloz, who has come from Switzerland to several previous Summer Schools, sent best wishes for this one. Unfortunately I picked up her e-mail only after I got back from Sedbergh, but she sent "regards to all I know - (if you read this in time)". I hope she will not mind my passing on her e-mail address, in case old friends would like to get in touch:


Chat on-line on Mondays - in term time only


Discussion at the Summer School leads me to announce that the time for a weekly 'chat' in the ARLT chat room will be 7 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. each Monday during term time. We'll give it a trial for a term and then review its usefulness.


More about AQA's decision


I took a note of this news, but I can't remember exactly when:

Education Minister Mr Twigg has written to the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance, urging it to reconsider its decision to withdraw Greek and Latin GCSE and A-level from the range of qualifications it offers to schools and colleges.

A spokeswoman for the AQA confirmed the board's director general, Dr Mike Cresswell, received Mr Twigg's letter on Thursday. "We will be looking at that letter and responding to him in due course," the spokeswoman said. "The points he is raising will be given consideration."

That is not giving much away, is it? I have reorganised the information on our web site, to make it easier to follow. /home/arltcouk/public_html/arlt_db.php?catID=42. I expect that even now a letter from you would make some impression on AQA.


Some rather helpful web sites


An e-mail from someone who is being pitched into teaching Ecce Romani next term sent me scouring the internet for helpful sites. It looked as if there were a lot, but they boiled down to two - all the others had either pinched stuff from those two, or linked to them.

Here's the first. I made a note: Loads of Ecce Romani help on this site:

Then there's someone who apparently writes an Ecce Romani newsletter:

With the bit between my teeth, I went trawling the net (don't fishermen trawl with a net, rather than ... Oh never mind.) for other Really Useful Sites. Here are my findings so far. You will notice that Loxias has provided most of the links - a super site, well worth exploration:

Quotations about the Iliad (rather too adult for some sixth formers?), and a superb Iliad quiz (scroll down the page) for when students have read the poem.

A jolly little agree/disagree quiz on the Olympics:

An introduction to, and summary of, the Aeneid, with some sections available in full:

Translation of Aeneid Book 2 with hyperlinks to identify all persons and places:

Introduction to Lysistrata and quiz with pictures he must have had fun assembling.

Introduction to Oedipus and Antigone, with games to test knowledge of plots.

The Odyssey game, concentrating on Penelope:

The Symposium (not Plato's dialogue, the Athenian male party):

Some of what you need for the study of 'Sparta and the Spartan system':

Athenian weddings and marriage:


For teachers of religion in Roman Britain


Two new items could be of interest to classes studying Roman British religion. The first is about Christian versus pagan conflict, and the second about an Egyptian deity worshipped in Britain.

1. The Lincolnshire Echo of 30th July 2004 reported that 'A Roman font dating back more than 1,600 years has been unearthed by metal detector experts Gary Lee and Jim Wilkinson in a Lincolnshire field. The 4th century artefact is one of only 18 to be discovered in Britain and has been described by archaeologists as a "significant" find. It is thought the find, which has been cut into pieces, reflects a period of religious tension in the country between Christianity and Paganism. Mr Lee said: "We dug around the signal area and at 3ft down noticed a large piece of lead - which I thought was a coffin. Once it was dug further we found two distinct pieces of lead - they had some nice decoration on including chevrons." Mr Wilkinson (32), from Scartho, near Grimsby, said he recognised the find straight away. "I instantly identified the item as a Roman font - I have seen them in books and thought it was too small for a coffin," he said. "It is a nice discovery and I guess probably our most historically important find yet."

Lincolnshire 'finds liaison officer' Adam Daubney said the font reveals more about its destruction than it does its function. "It is likely the font was made in the East Midlands between 300AD and 350AD and used by Christians in baptism," he said. "At that time Britain was being ruled by the Roman Emperor Constantius II - who had made pagan worship punishable by death. Pagans were feeling further undermined by a growing rift between the rich and poor - the final insult was the lavish privileges handed out by the emperor to the Christian clergy." As a result of this unease Britain underwent attacks by the Picts, the Scots, and the Saxons, resulting in a common, united attack in 367AD to 379AD - named the Barbarian Conspiracy. Mr Daubney said: "Between 360AD and 380AD, under the encouragement of Emperor Julian, there was a pagan revival. It is likely the fonts were destroyed by the barbarians to mask the memory, power and symbolism of Christianity. However the pagans would not have wanted to annihilate the artefacts it would be much better to cut them up and re-melt them."

On Tuesday a team of archaeologists from the PAS dug a trench at the site and carried out an investigation. Mr Daubney said: "Apart from the lead pieces already dug up the soil was empty. This suggests the font may have been buried - possibly by the looters as the troops closed in."

2. From This is Wiltshire, Wednesday 21 July 2004: Is this an ancient Egyptian goddess?

ROMAN experts believe a bust of a goddess found at Groundwell Ridge is of national importance.

On first examination, archaeologists believed the lead bust might be that of Minerva, the goddess of wisdom, or Luna, the goddess of the moon. Now, two experts in Roman iconography, Anthony Beeson and Dr Patricia Witts, say that the deity does not portray Minerva or Luna, but the Egyptian goddess of the Earth, Isis. Only six likenesses of Isis have been found in Britain ­ all in the London area. This makes the bust find at Groundwell Ridge in north Swindon an exceptionally rare find.

Mr Beeson said that the find adds strength to the theory that the site may once have been a religious sanctuary, a suggestion originally put forward by Swindon archaeologist Bryn Walters. Dr Witts, a fellow iconographist, said she was almost certain the bust represented Isis. She said: "This is an unusual and very, very exciting find."

Interest was sparked in the 12-hectare site back in 1996 when developers came across a Roman wall. Following a passionate local campaign led by the Advertiser and with the aid of £900,000 from English Heritage and £100,000 from Swindon Borough Council, the site was bought and saved from future development.


Read old books on-line


On-line version of Robinson's Everyday Life in Ancient Greece 1933

Jacob Burckhardt History of Greek Culture (translation of a 19th century work in German)

I dipped into Burckhardt's chapter on Greek music as a sample, and found he had considered the literary evidence in depth, though his chapter would have to be supplemented by modern studies. Whether Robinson has any value today I leave to others to establish.

I hope the remainder of your summer holidays are pleasant and refreshing.

Best wishes,