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The Association for Latin Teaching

Newsletter 5: June 2003

Dear Classical Friend,

Whether it's because it's exam time, or the beginning of the Silly Season, I haven't so much to report this time. Still, just to let you know you haven't been forgotten, here goes.

One day to let the government know your views

Perhaps you spotted the government consultation document link on the ARLT web site. It could have a bearing on the government's attitude to ARLT and JACT, so you might like to respond, like today! The deadline is June 30th. When? You mean today? Yep! Here's the link again:

CDs of Set Books

ARLT have just completed three audio CDs of set texts: OCR GCSE 2004, OCR GCSE 2005 and OCR AS 2004. They can be bought from Wilf O'Neill. Cost: £2 (at least that was the price last year - better check with Wilf) (state order no. and whether cassette or CD required) from Wilf O'Neill, 4 Stonecliffe View, Leeds LS12 5BE (Cheques payable to ARLT/AAC). I hope to put all three CDs on the web site for downloading in MP3 format.

A number of people have been working very hard to make the pronunciation on these CDs completely accurate, and to make the recorded quality first-rate. Do make use of this resource.

Another Classics teacher goes into the Church of England ministry

ARLT Treasurer Robert West and I met this morning near the Tailor of Gloucester's House. Actually it was in Gloucester Cathedral, at the ordination service at which Katie McClure, who taught Classics at Malvern and then at Cheltenham Ladies' College, was ordained deacon by the Bishop of Gloucester. Katie was a frequent attender at ARLT Summer Schools, where she took a full part, including playing the bassoon at Friday evening entertainments. She is now Curate of Cirencester - Corinium to you. I met Katie in the cloisters before the service and took a quick photo of her in clerical cassock - see it at . She kindly invited Robert and me to a buffet lunch after the ordination. The background music included The Ride of the Valkyrie. I wondered if it was a comment on women priests? Only joking. We wish Katie everything good in her new vocation, while regretting the loss to the classroom of an imaginative and dedicated teacher.

Fame at last?

Robert West confirmed today something that our President Hilary Walters told me a little while ago. Both Robert and Hilary took school parties to Greece this year, and by coincidence the parties met on an island. One of Hilary's students excitedly said to her, "That's the ARLT Treasurer!" It turned out that the student had seen - and remembered - Robert's photo on the Who's Who page of the ARLT web site.

I've been busy - read the result

Let me fill in the background. When I was a sixth former in the 1950s our Latin teacher Michael "Jimmy" Edwards set us to read a few lines of Ausonius' poem on the River Moselle. The lines described what the poet saw as he looked down into the clear water - stones and water weed and fish. The passage was so unlike any of the Virgil, Catullus, Ovid and Horace that were our normal diet that I tucked it away in my memory. Then just a few years ago I had the chance to spend some days in the Moselle valley, and I just loved it. The upshot was that I set myself the task of making a translation of the whole poem and illustrating it with photos of the river today. You can read it at . I believe it's the only English translation of Mosella on the internet, the only one Google can find, anyway.

Greek Myths at the Proms, and other web sites

Hilary points out that a major theme of this year's Henry Wood Promenade Concerts is Greek Myths. She writes: "The Brit Mus is doing a series of linked events including 10 July: 'Dining with Homer', 19 July: study day. Compass tour on Trojan war on" If you want to jump straight to the Trojan War, then the URL is rather long: exe?%7BUPPER%7D%3Av2_free_text_tindex=trojan+war&_IXDB_=compass&_IXSPFX_= graphical%2Fsummary%2F&_IXFPFX_=graphical%2Ffull%2F&_IXNOMATCHES_= graphical%2Fno_matches.html&%24+%28with+v2_searchable_index%29+sort= .&_IXsearchterm=trojan%2520war&submit-button=summary

While I was in the British Museum site, I found this link to a section on Greek athletics: compass&_IXFIRST_=1&_IXMAXHITS_=1&_IXSPFX_= graphical/edu/gt/int/top_&$+with+all_unique_id_index+is+$= ENC8548&_IXtour=ENC8548&submit-button=summary

The Olympic Games in Greece next year will no doubt be fertile ground that produces a heavy crop of web sites. If you find one you'd like to recommend, do let me know so that I can pass the info around. I seem to remember that GCSE examiners took the opportunity of previous Olympic years to ask for comparisons between the ancient and modern games.

Waiting hopefully

What response there was to my suggestion in the last newsletter about sharing revision notes and tests on the ARLT site was positive, but I'm still waiting for your contributions. Please, they don't have to be brilliantly outstanding, just useful. So if you have anything on disc (or even disk) that you could quickly send in an e-mail, don't hesitate.

Who uses the ARLT site?

In a previous newsletter I listed some of the countries from which visitors came. Since the beginning of June the site has had 1487 visits and 24047 hits. If you don't understand the difference, ask a pupil! People came from 39 countries - or rather, their e-mail addresses had identifying tags belonging to those countries. I was particularly pleased to hear from Akitsugu Taki who teaches at Musashi University (Tokyo, Japan) and gave me some interesting information about Latin and Greek in Japan:

"Now I am teaching Latin and Greek at the University of Musashi, a small university in Tokyo which has only faculties of humanities and economics. There is only one student in my class of Latin for beginners and three in Greek for beginners. There are no classes for second-year learners. I am not sure of the exact number but in most of the university classes, usually less than ten attend Latin class and less than five Greek, in April, but two or three survive at the end of the year. I have never heard of junior high or senior high schools in Japan where Greek or Latin classes are held, although Universities of Tokyo and Kyoto have a department of classics, where less than five read classics each year and one or two postgraduate students are admitted. I have never counted the number of posts in classics in Japan but less than ten chairs, I conjecture."

And we think we are up against it in the UK! Bravo, Akitsugu! Keep going!

Some people have made contact through the Bulletin Board, and maybe we have been able to offer some advice and information, though I fear I couldn't help Olivia, whose message was: "Does anyon e know any good revision sites for me to revise latin the language, i have a test tomorow and i desperatly need help."

Vatican treasures on-line

As the ARLT web site mentions, David Meadows (send a blank e-mail to ) will send you a weekly roundup of Classical and other ancient stuff on the net, free, if you ask for it. Explorator is Copyright (c) 2003 David Meadows. This week he tells us that the Vatican has put its museums on line, and I have selected a page for you: . It's an Attic black-figure kylix, with commentary. But try clicking on the magnifying glass... Clever, or what?

Lord Wandsworth, here we come

Next time I hope to be able to report on the Summer School at Lord Wandsworth College. If you haven't been able to come to this year's Summer School, may I urge you to put a note at the end of this year's diary, to keep these dates free in 2004: Monday July 26th – Sat July 31st, when the Summer School at Sedbergh will be directed by Hilary Walters.

Best wishes,

David Parsons