Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Another Cool Classics Tool!

Poeta Ex Machina is a cool tool that allows you to listen to Latin poetry chanted, creating mp3s from any text in any meter. Not surprisingly, it was created by Lee Butterman, who also designed NoDictionaries, a wonderful online vocabulary engine which helps users increase their reading fluency! You'll need to provide the scanned meter (directions here). You can toggle macrons and elisions in the passage if you'd like to view them as the Poeta recites.

For those of you just beginning Latin, it is possible to enter just one word in order to hear its proper pronunciation.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Nero's Rotating Dining Hall Uncovered!

The New York Times AP news wire is reporting "Nero's Rotating Banquet Hall Unveiled in Rome." (29 September 2009). Archaeologists believe that this is the rotating dining room described by Suetonius in his Life of Nero.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Vast Hoard of Anglo Saxon Gold Treasure Unearthed in England

An unemployed treasure hunter with a used metal detector has discovered an incredible trove of gold and silver treasure buried in a field in central England.

You can see more pictures of this unbelievable discovery at the BBC News site as well as the National Geographic, as well as on the photo-sharing site Flickr. (Thanks to Terrence Lockyer for pointing out the Flickr set!)

One piece bears a Latin inscription reading "Rise up O Lord, and may thy enemies be dispersed and those who hate thee.")

More stories on this find, which reference the inscription:

"A New Angle on the Saxons" (TimesOnline, 27 September 2009)

followed by this wonderful letter in response: "Why Education Must Be a National Treasure: The Danger Posed by Poor Latinity Was Recognized by King why not our Government?" from Paul Gazzoli, of the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at the University of Cambridge.

North Carolina is For Classicists in the Summer of 2010!

North Carolina is for Classicists in the Summer of 2010!

The American Classical League (ACL) has announced the details for the ACL Institute 2010. The 63rd Annual Institute and 87th Annual Meeting will be held at Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina from Saturday, June 26th, 2010, to Monday, June 28, 2010. The theme is "Peace and War: Tu regere imperio populos, Romane, memento (Hae tibi erunt artes.), pacique imponere morem, parcere subiectis et debellare superbos."
(from Vergil's Aeneid, Book VI, lines 851-3).

There will be pre-institute workshops on Friday June 25th and Saturday, June 26th.

To get more information about the ACL Institute 2010, please see the Call for Pre-Institute Workshops and Call for Institute Papers and Workshops at the American Classical League website.

For Classical Christian school teachers, the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS) will hold their 2010 ACCS Annual Conference from June 17 through June 18th in Durham, North Carolina at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Iris Magazine September 2009 Issue Available

Lorna Robinson, director of The Iris Project, based in Oxford, UK, announces that the Autumn 2009 issue of Iris magazine is now available. This issue examines the influences and interpretations of epic and includes the following features:

  • Iris chat: Margaret George, author of Helen of Troy
  • Home Thoughts from Abroad: Virgil's Aeneid
  • 1000 Years Before Homer: The epic of Gilgamesh
  • Masters of War: Epic battles on film
  • A Marriage of Minds: Arabic and Classical epic
  • News feature: A Mosaic for the London Olympics 2012
  • Travelogue: Ephesus

Additional articles focus on outreach, news, reviews, quizzes, puzzles, translation, fiction, and advice. To find out how to order a copy of Iris magazine, visit The Iris Project website. The Iris Project is a registered charity in the United Kingdom that promotes Classical education for students in state-funded schools and in urban settings.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hadrian's Wall Country in England

There's a wonderful article, accompanied by a visual interactive feature, in the October 2009 Smithsonian Magazine, "Trekking Hadrian's Wall." Follow Andrew Curry's east-to-west adventure along the 84 mile long trail.

If you haven't been fortunate enough to visit northern England, along the border with Scotland, you'll certainly be tempted to book a visit after reading Curry's article.

Be sure to visit the official Hadrian's Wall Country website as well, where you can read about the history of Hadrian's Wall and browse the incredible photographic and video libraries, as well as plan a visit.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Spoken Latin Webinars Quickly Approaching

Bolchazy-Carducci will be presenting two Webinars featuring Milena Minkova and Terence Tunberg in September 2009.

The first webinar is "Training Techniques for Spoken Latin Expression," webcasting September 23, 2009 from 6-8 PM Eastern. Tunberg and Minkova maintain that active use of Latin can help all students and teachers, whether the teacher prefers a more inductive, reading-oriented approach to teaching Latin, or a more analytical and grammatical approach. Participants in this webinar will explore a range of activities involving spoken Latin designed for learners at various levels ranging from beginners to the advanced.

The second webinar is “Virtual Conventiculum," to be held September 30th, 2009, 6-8PM Eastern. This webinar is designed for people who have had some previous experience in spoken Latin and have acquired at least a moderate ability to express themselves orally in the language. Activities will be focused on enhancing vocabulary relating to various spheres of daily life, as well as discussion of short Latin texts in Latin. The Virtual Conventiculum will be conducted entirely in Latin.

Tuition for each webinar is $99.00. RSVP to 847.526.4344 or online at

Class-size is limited to 20 participants on a first-come, first-served basis.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Latin in the News!

A few recent newspaper articles about the Latin language and Roman culture:

"Why Learn Latin? To Better Understand Harry Potter," The Herald-Mail, September 18, 2009

"Latin on the Increase at Winchester School," Hampshire Chronicle, September 18, 2009

"Ben Hur Spectacular Premiers in London," Yahoo News, September 16, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ancient Rome and America Exhibit, Philadelphia Spring 2010

If you will be anywhere near Philadelphia in Spring 2010, make plans to visit the National Constitution Center. As part of its focus upon "important moments and iconic figures that changed history," the National Constitution Center will be presenting an exhibit entitled Ancient Rome and America in Spring 2010. According to the Center's press release, this will be a 6,000 square foot exhibition and will include a large number of artifacts from the Republican and Imperial periods. Connections will be made between the founding fathers of the American government and the Roman Republic, as well as the continuing influence of the Romans upon our modern world.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Connect the Classics with Science!

Here's a great project for those of you who would like to show the connection between the study of Latin, Greek, and the Classics with the modern world of science! Check out this fabulous printable star wheel project from Sky and Telescope magazine!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Dickinson Summer 2010 Workshop

Summer 2009 is over and it's time to think about what you'll be doing in Summer 2010!

The Dickinson Summer 2010 Workshop

Participants will read selections from De orbe novo by the Italian humanist Peter Martyr of Angleria (1457-1526), the most important early account of Columbus' voyages to the new world. This work was originally written in Latin, and was complete by 1501. Martyr did not travel to the new world himself, but did interview Columbus and his shipmates, as well as other players in the events. His Latin is not difficult, and the spare and straightforward style of this work could best be compared among classical works to Caesar's commentaries.

Given the topic this year, a special invitation is extended to teachers and scholars interested in early contacts between Europe and the Americas who would like to read De Orbe Novo in the original.

INSTRUCTORS: Prof. Christopher Francese and Prof. Meghan Reedy, both of the Dickinson College Department of Classical Studies

TO APPLY: please contact Mrs. Barbara McDonald (see contact information at by the application deadline May 1, 2010.

FEE: The fee for 2010 is $300, due in a check made out to Dickinson College, by the fee deadline June 1, 2010. Please send it to Mrs. Barbara McDonald, Department of Classical Studies, Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA 17013. (The full cost is about twice that, but the workshop is subsidized by the Roberts Fund for Classical Studies.)


Colonial American Latin Curriculum

Cheever's Accidence was an elementary Latin grammar, studied by students at Boston Latin School in the early colonial period. According to John A. Nietz, in his book The Evolution of American Secondary School Textbooks, students also studied forms and syntax in more depth in Lily's Latin Grammar, practiced spoken Latin from Corderius' Colloquies and read Aesop's Fables in Latin. You can find a copy of Cheever's Accidence at the Stepping Heavenward blog.

View some sample curricula from the early American period.

The Classics Department at Holy Cross College has an extensive website, Latin in Early America, describing how the Classics were taught in the 17th and 18th centuries in America.

Free Latin for the New Millennium Webinar Coming Soon

Bolchazy-Carducci will be presenting a free Latin for the New Millennium Webinar on September 17, 6-8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, with information about both volumes of their new Latin curriculum,. which combines both a grammar-based and reading-based approach.

Memoria Press First Form Latin

Memoria Press has just published a new Latin curriculum, First Form Latin. Known for their adherence to "grammar-first" principles, this program will eventually add a DVD component as well. A follow-up volume, Second Form Latin, is planned as well. See sample pages from their student textbook and workbook as well as the teacher's manual, plus examine a sample First Form Recitation at Memoria Press.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Golden Sponge Stick Competition 2009

The prestigious Golden Sponge Stick competition, inspired by the Caroline Lawrence Roman Mysteries series, is a fiction-writing contest for primary and secondary level students (with three age categories). Each student who enters writes a short story or a mystery/detective story/thriller of 1500 words or less, set in Rome or during Roman times, which displays some historical research or knowledge of Roman daily life in the story. Previously this competition was only open to students in the United Kingdom, where the Roman Mysteries novels were originally published, but this year the contest has been opened internationally. The winning entry will receive, of course, a golden sponge-stick!

Full details about this contest, as well as writing tips, are available at Flavia Gemina's (aka Caroline Lawrence) Roman Mysteries Blog. Get those pencils sharpened!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Methodological Considerations for Learning Latin

Evan Millner, creator of the Latinum Course, a complete multi-level audio course for Classical Latin, based upon the 19th century textbook "A Practical Grammar of the Latin Language for Speaking and Writing Latin," has a few tips for those of you who wish to learn this ancient language. He's outlined some of the considerations that you need to keep in mind when studying a new language in his brief article "A Learning Methodology for Latin." He also has written a couple articles about an interesting technique, based upon an ancient Roman method, the Method of Loci, for remembering and internalizing the declensions and conjugations, important concepts of Latin grammar.

Classical Literacy Exam

News of a new competition, the Classical Literacy Exam, sponsored by the Albuquerque Academy Latin Honor Society, was recently carried in Torch, the official quarterly magazine of the National Junior Classical League. The Classical Literacy Exam is open to students everywhere and will require no specialized knowledge of the Latin language. Exam topics include Classical mythology, history, culture, some vocabulary derivatives, Latin phrases and abbreviations, and literature. The main emphasis is on Roman civilization, but there will be a few questions about Greek civilization and culture (eg. terms such as agora, Parthenon, and Acropolis on Level I and some brief philosophical references on Level II and III.)

According to Hugh Himwich, who is directing this new initiative, the guiding principle is "to include everything that an educated person should know about the Classical world, even if they unfortunately have never had a Latin class." Of course, if they have studied Latin, "the CLE will be a reward and a delight." There are three levels to the examination.

Contact the exam sponsor to be put on the mailing list to receive an application and study guide. The target for administering the exam is the first week in February (but there is some flexibility for schools that need an alternative date.) Award certificates will be sent in March as well as school book awards for outstanding participation and achievement.

Teachers will grade their own tests and send the results to the CLE headquarters.

According to the advertisement in the Torch, the cost for the exam is fifty cents per student. The format is fill-in-the-blank with the term that matches the definition. The application deadline is January 15, 2010.

The Classical Literacy Exam website is currently under construction and more information is forthcoming soon, so keep checking back for complete details to be posted in the next few weeks.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Dual Source Vocabulary Tool

For those of you interested in Latin word frequency, Laura Gibbs points out that James Dee of the University of Illinois at Chicago has created A Dual-Source Database of Word Frequencies in Latin. Many of you are aware of Gonzalez Lodge's The Vocabulary of High School Latin and Paul. B. Diederich's The Frequency of Latin Words and their Endings, two often-consulted statistical counts of Latin vocabulary and morphological end forms. Professor Dee's database combines the two and provides the result in Excel spreadsheet form and plain text.

Teaching Latin Efficiently

Thomas M. Hayes shares a fascinating article on his wiki, Ut Discamus Omnes, entitled "Skinning the Latin Cat." This is a fascinating discussion regarding the two concepts of "disambiguation" and "economy" in teaching Latin morphology, which is a very fancy way of saying "Which endings do we concentrate most of our energy teaching to our students so that they can read and understand Latin efficiently and quickly?" Hayes compares the huge collection of grammatical endings in Latin to a big hardware store full of tools, some that are more likely to be used than others. It's a fascinating article and he discusses some experimentation he has done in the classroom as well as the ramifications of an approach that considers the "bottom line" when teaching forms.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Nicole Curry Named Philadelphia Magazine's 2009 Best of Philly Schools Teacher!

Philadelphia magazine has named Phoenixville Latin Teacher Nicole Curry as its 2009 Best of Philly Schools teacher! Nicole combines a wacky sense of humor with some serious curriculum, Macte virtute esto! ("Well done! Bless you for your excellence!")

Read more about Nicole at and see a picture of her dressed in a toga!