The Association for Latin Teaching

respice prospice

ARLT Newsletter 32; May 2006

Dear Classical friend,

It has happened. The ARLT blog has had so many visitors this month that it has used up more bandwidth than we have paid for, and so until I can get it sorted, or until the end of the month, there's no blog.

That's good news in one way. There have been 30,519 visitors in May, who visited 96,746 pages, and downloaded 4368.9 megabytes.

The temporary closure of the blog reminded me that there hasn't been a newsletter for months. So here we are.


Refresher Day spin-off


After the ARLT Refresher Day in March, a special website was set up that anyone can visit, and that anyone with the password can contribute to. It's at The password is simply classics (lower case).

Notes on Roland Mayer's lecture on Social Mobility, and the text of my own short explanation of ARLT's web presence, are on the site; not a lot else has been contributed, but the site is still there, for you to use if you wish.


A Latin stall at the Language Show


Some of you may know already that there is a plan to mount a Latin display at the Language Show at Olympia (the London one!) which is being held November 3-5 2006. The ARLT committee had discussed the idea, and it began to sprout wings when the Oxford Classics Outreach project got in touch, and they and we started to think practical details.

The aim is to raise the profile of Latin among the school heads and language teachers who are likely to visit the show. Much useful information will be available, such as how schools can introduce Latin into their timetables even without a specialist teacher, as well as how students can opt for Classics at university even if they have not had the opportunity to study Latin at school. I hope that promotional leaflets extolling the benefits of studying Latin may also be widely distributed.

There has been an encouraging response from a majority of ARLT committee members, and from Peter Jones of Friends of Classics. Will Griffiths of CSCP was already considering a stall at the exhibition next year, and has welcomed the idea of a united front this year; to such an extent that he proposed taking a larger stand than we had envisaged, on the basis that CSCP has half of it and pays half the cost. We accepted the idea gladly because in this way Latin can make a bigger impact, and incidentally we can book a more advantageously situated pitch. So he has gone ahead and made the booking. Before doing so he wrote:

I've been looking at position 60 on the floor plan - close to the cafe (which I'm sure everyone visits at some point) and fairly central. It's 2x3, so would cost £2070 with lighting.

That is the stand we have. If you wish to see more about the show, and the position of stand 60, visit and click on Download Floorplan.


How to teach the Roman Life option?


This is from Penny Fayter:

My first cohort - 16 pupils are taking the Latin GCSE next month and I think we are OK - a real mixture of excellent to ones who have found it very difficult in the time given but all credit to all of them since this has been done completely in their own time.

As I hopefully grow in confidence too, I have thought it might be an idea to pilot the Roman Life option next year as I have some keen historians but also much less linguistically able. However, we do not use the Cambridge Latin as we only have time for Ecce Romani and the specification is vague. I have my own copies of the Cambridge Latin and we have looked at the website and the history materials seem very good.

I wondered if you could put me in contact with someone who does the Roman Life option and could advise me as to how much and what exactly we should cover as I will be creating materials and a teaching scheme in the next few weeks. I am happy for my email address to be passed on. I am in contact with CLC Classics department who have been very helpful but they don't do the Roman Life option.

Thank you

Penny Fayter

Pate's Grammar School




The City Lit is cutting down the Classics


Our President has written to City Lit to protest, but I send you this message received through the ARLT website in case you also might like to add your voice.

Topic | CITY LIT CLASSICS CLASSES -----------------------------------------------------------------

Dear ARLT,

I am an adult student of Latin and Greek at the City Literary institute in Covent Garden. As you probably know, this adult education centre has offered a wide range of evening classes in the classics for many years.

But for the next academic year, 2006/07, there are almost no classes offered in the evenings - the only exceptions being beginners\' classes in Latin and Greek, and one advanced Greek class, on Tuesday evenings.

This means that for continuing learners of Latin who are in employment, they are offering nothing at all.

City Lit classics classes will become the preserve of the retired and unemployed.

The City Lit has an excellent record in classics, but now they are denying opportunities to most potential students. Even if people complete the level 1 classes on a Tuesday evening, they'll have no level 2 or 3 classes to progress to, unless they are retired or unemployed. The long-term result of this will be that the classics classes will slowly die off for want of new students.

So far as I know, there are very few alternatives in London for studying Latin and Greek. Birkbeck and UCL offer some classes, but I think these are more aimed at part-time degree students.

I wanted to bring this to the attention of the ARLT, and encourage you to raise it with the Department of Languages, City Literary Institute, Keeley Street, London, WC2B 4BA.

If the City Lit effectively stops offering classics to employed adult learners, London will lose one of the most effective ways of fostering an interest in and knowledge of Latin and Greek.

Yours faithfully,

Julian Duplain

66 Brittains Lane



TN13 2JS


Not so serious; good news, in fact.


Wilf O'Neill sent me this, and I hope he won't mind my passing it on. Readers of the blog will know that a number of American RC churches are starting or have started Latin masses. At least one parish runs a Latin class for the congregation. But what about the priests? ...

This will interest you. One of my newest COLP students is a 49-year-old American Catholic priest wanting to rejuvenate his school Latin! He has an indult to say mass in Latin once a month and is hoping to introduce the CLC in the parochial school!



A new sixth form Classics mag planned


Lorna Robinson, at present at Wellington College, is planning a magazine to be called IRIS, to go into every state school, free, in the hope of stirring interest in teaching the Classics. I sent her a list of questions, and published her answers on the blog, but in case you didn't catch the 'interview' there, I'm including it in the newsletter.

> Dr. Robinson, you have been appointed to set up and support Classics > departments in state schools. What particular projects do you see > yourself becoming involved in?

I haven't been appointed as such, it's a role I've marked out for myself as a result of deep concern with the recession of Classics in the state sector and the inequity of opportunity that has produced in terms of studying Classical languages at universities such as Oxford. I have set up IRIS magazine as an initiative to encourage Classics generally, and specifically in the state sector where it has sadly all but disappeared. I want the opportunity to study such fantastic languages, literature and cultures to be available to all, and I hope IRIS might help in that battle.

I am also starting teaching ancient Greek for a small group in Cheney School, Oxford and will be setting up a Classics Society there for the school. I have contacted and will also hopefully be running similar societies for other local state schools who express interest. Whether I am fortunate enough to get the Outreach post or not, I will be actively involving myself in projects such as these in any way I can. One thing I am very interested in is starting up a "tour" of state schools where I run workshops on Latin, Greek and related areas, perhaps with a small team of undergraduate students. Students are often putting on small-scale productions of Greek theatre and I hope a scheme might be developed whereby these might tour state schools too.

> I see from your website that a > copy of Iris is going to be given free to every state school. Who is > paying for this?

The Oxford Outreach Project and paying for distribution, and I await a funding bid at the moment, so I cannot give you a clear answer at this juncture!

> Who is the new magazine aimed at? I know one copy will come into each > school office, but what do you envisage will happen to it then?

It is aimed primarily at sixth form students who may or may not have much experience of Classics. I hope that the copy that arrives will find its way into the hand of interested students by teachers bringing it into classrooms and then storing it in an appropriate place (school library, or such like).

> We already have the excellent JACT publication Omnibus. Won't Iris be a > duplication of effort?

I want IRIS to contain a much broader spectrum of material -- much more like a "magazine" than Omnibus. I agree that Omnibus is an excellent publication, but as a sixth former myself not so very long ago, I often found that the articles were a bit above my head, or that there was not a forum for more creative / artistic / fun responses to the Classics. I'm aiming for a publication that is rather less scholarly and more accessible, and I feel there might be a niche for that, and that it might be an effective way of reaching out to students with little or no Classical background too.

> I see that individuals and independent schools will be able to buy > copies at £3. Do you think that Iris will contain stuff that Latin > teachers will find useful to lend to their students?

I hope that it will contain lots of material that will be useful to students. At this early stage, it's not entirely clear exactly how it will map out, but I envisage each issue containing a mix of educational, artistic, creative and "fun" material.

> Have you got plans for an on-line version of Iris, to back up the > printed magazine? After all, in that way every interested teacher and > student could read it, at very little cost.

Yes, we will put all issues online on the Oxford Classics Outreach website.


Professor Mary Beard has begun a blog


Here's a copy of an exchange of emails I had with Mary Beard yesterday:

Mary Beard wrote:

This is a bit self-advertising..but I have just started a blog on the timesonline website ( look under weblogs) which you (and arlt) might be interested in, mb

On May 25 2006, David Parsons wrote:

Dear Mary,

Many thanks for letting me know about your blog for the Times. My blog has run out of bandwidth and so is down at the moment, but when it is up again I'll certainly draw people's attention to A Don's Life.

Best wishes


gsh..I dont know what bandwidth is

I should say that I thought the whole arlt site was really good,.m

Mary Beard's blog is at:


Best wishes


I hope that half term will be good and relaxing, and that the exam season will go well.

Don't forget to register for the ARLT Summer School in Durham: /home/arltcouk/public_html/summer_school/front_page.php

Best wishes,