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The Association for Latin Teaching

Newsletter 19: September 2004


Dear Classical Friend,


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Spread the cheer a bit

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Eheu fugaces ... Summer - gone! ARLT Summer School - receding memory! New school year - all too present! And to cap all, AQA has stuck to its abolition of Greek and Latin.


Let's cheer ourselves up with three up-beat e-mails from you.


Stephen Dresch writes:

Downside is a pleasant place and is a very solid bastion of our tradition. I feel lucky to be teaching there from September.



Sheila Butcher from Berkhamsted Collegiate School writes:

I’m currently reading Livy XXX in preparation for next term’s teaching. We have a small group taking A2 Latin, and I wondered if there would be anything Livy-related on the website!


We take OCR GCSE and AS/A2. Latin and Classical Civilisation are both quite popular, and we have a Greek club – extra-curricular, which can lead to GCSE.


Sancton Wood results. Latin 2004: 3 x A stars, 2 x A's, 1 x C laetissimus sum. pax vobiscum. Russell (Lord)

If anyone has Livy XXX teaching notes that would help Sheila and others, please send them to me to go on the web site.


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The Ancient World - star of stage, screen and radio.

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The Independent listings yesterday made 'A funny thing happened on the way to the forum' one of its Best Five Plays in London, and the detailed alphabetical play listings by chance had three classical events next to each other, A Funny Thing at the National, 'Gone' - a modern take on Antigone - at the New Ambassadors, and Hecuba at the Donmar Warehouse. I'm looking forward to seeing Hecuba this week; the review I've read is excellent.


Here's a puzzle, worth investigating. Antigone in the Old Fire Station, Oxford, Tuesday 2 to Saturday 6 November 7.30 p.m. Don't know anything about the production, whether in Greek or English, student or professional. A web search for Tantalus Productions yields nothing. I'll put this on the Blog and hope that you or someone can fill in the details.


We know about the coming Alexander film, and I've put on the Blog the link to get an interactive wallpaper which updates itself as it takes you on a map through Alexander's campaigns. Mind you, I haven't got it to work yet.


I enjoyed the Radio 4 three-part version of the Odyssey, and have put something about that on the Blog as well.


Are you using David Swift's painstaking weekly listings of TV and radio programmes of Classical interest? There's a link from the ARLT website on the right hand side near the bottom.


Finally the Toronto Star had a piece on 'Troy' which included a professor Lee on how 'cinematic' Homer is. We've probably all done the exercise of interpreting Vergil as a film script, but this is worth thinking about too:


"I liked the Homeric effect with the digitalized and aerial views of the battles," Lee said. "I thought those were wonderful. Homer has this Olympian view of what's going on in The Iliad, which is very much like watching a movie. He doesn't put himself in the middle of it. He watches from a distance. Everything is beautiful, as expressed in these great Homeric similes — the two armies clashing like waves in the sand, or flies around a milk pail.


But Homer is also master of the medium shot and the close-up, so to speak. In the middle of a battle he will switch focus from the big picture to these two men locked in mortal combat, and suddenly it's as if the rest of the battle has disappeared. At those points, the spotlight often falls on Achilles, portrayed by Brad Pitt..."



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Pop in for a chat, if you have a few minutes

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Now I'm a tad hesitant about this invitation, because Hilary Walters told me she tried to chat last Monday at 7 p.m. and couldn't. I haven't had any problem so far, except a lack of people to chat to. The place to go is this: /home/arltcouk/public_html/chat.php


I then fill in my name and nickname in the form and click on Connect.


The email address doesn't appear to be necessary. #ARLTchat ought to be in the Join Channel slot already. You can disregard the pop-up about nicknames, and start typing your message in the little slot at the bottom of the chat window.


There are some buttons at the top of the window. The Help button leads nowhere. Perhaps I'll get round to putting some help topics up (when I find out the answers myself). Login seems unnecessary. Chat gets you back to the chat window if you've strayed from it. Rooms takes you to a huge list of other chat rooms, none of them relevant to Classics. Float makes the chat window a separate window that you can push around the screen wherever you want it.


That's all I know at the moment. Do have a go, and we'll learn together how it works. Each Monday at 7 p.m. (British time) for half an hour.


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Rather interesting websites

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On Roman Britain by Guy de la Bédoyère http://www.romanbritain.freeserve.co.uk/


It was a joy to find a site written by an expert. It includes sections on the Roman Army, (the legions, auxiliaries and Hadrian's Wall), the history of Roman Britain (Boudica, Carausius, dates, gods and goddesses (all the written evidence!) villas, people, towns), a book list, list of inscriptions, coins. A site well worth using.


A site listing Latin courses in and around London, where and when they start, and how long they last:

http://www.floodlight.co.uk/cgi/new_new/database2/db.cgi?db=10&Subject=Languages%3A+Latin&Geo=&Days=&ter mcode=&Cou=&view_records=1&x=22&y=3&nh=1


Odysseus and the Homeric landscape of Ithaki:

http://www.kefallinia-ithaki.com/odysseus/


Extracts in Greek and English from the Odyssey, with photos of the sites in Ithaca linked with them. Might be nice for those studying the last books of the Odyssey to see real places.


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Classics Clubs

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I'm still looking for examples of successful British Classics Clubs, so that we can spread the news of 'good practice' as the jargon has it. Meanwhile, what do you think of these American ones?


University Classics Club (there are lots of University ones like this):


Kansas University Classics Club - visit to see 'Troy' followed by a meal. Play readings. ... http://www.ku.edu/cgiwrap/~kuclsx/yabb/YaBB.cgi


Have a look at this page where they are arranging an evening of poetry and food: http://www.ku.edu/cgiwrap/~kuclsx/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=gen;action=display;num=1076473131


School Classics Clubs (harder to find - perhaps I should have searched for Latin Club): http://www.ths.org/clubs/classics/index.cfm

http://bcc.scdsb.on.ca/central_main/clubs/classics/club.html


A school Classics Club forum - I think this one is worth looking at. Setting up an on-line forum isn't hard, and it could get pupils/students involved:

http://bla.rpgsource.net/forums/


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It always happens!

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I began this newsletter thinking there was nothing worth sharing this time, and as usual I found that the bits and pieces I'd collected over the past weeks added up to a substantial document. It would have been longer but for the existence of the ARLT Blog, which is now my first means of communication. It has had 3,901 page views so far this month. I try to ensure that everything that goes on to the Blog is going to be useful in some way for Classics teaching. If you haven't seen it yet, it's at http://arlt.blogware.com/blog . I'd be encouraged if you left your comments now and then, to tell me if I'm on this right lines.


Have a good term. I begin coaching for AS level Latin this week, so I feel I'm still part of the fraternity.


Best wishes,


David