Monday, June 30, 2008

Towns Along Hadrian's Wall Hit Hard by Subprime Crisis

Bloomberg reports the sad news that Hadrian's Town Becomes 'Slum' as Subprime Infects North England. Located near the almost 2000 year old Segedunum Roman Fort in the county of Tyne and Wear, working-class Wallsend is where the end of Hadrian's Wall is located.

If you are familiar with the Minimus Latin course, Wallsend is located down the road from Vindolanda, where Flavius and his familia were stationed.

If you ever have a chance to visit Wallsend, you can visit World Heritage site Segedenum Fort, Baths and Museum and you can even practice your Latin reading the signs in the Wallsend Metro station. Hadrian's Wall is an incredible monument to the Roman's presence in Britain and the length of the Wall is dotted with museums and historical sites. Let us hope for a recovery to the economy of the town.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Gregorian Chant is on the Charts! (Look out Coldplay!)

Currently Coldplay's Viva La Vida is the #1 Album in the United States and Britain, But there's another musical group that also performs hauntingly beautiful lyrics and ethereal melodies...

The Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz will be releasing their debut album in the United States on June 28th! Chant is currently on the United Kingdom's Top 40 Pop Album Chart and is already the Number 1 Billboard Classical Album in America! Of course, they sing in Latin!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Vero Possumus!

Barack Obama's seat at a governor's conference held in Chicago last Friday was adorned with a seal bearing the motto Vero Possumus! ("Yes We Can!") The seal has already been retired, but deserves a mention here.

Professor Richard A. LaFleur
, award-winning Franklin Professor of Classics at the University of Georgia and editor of Wheelock's Latin Revised 6th edition, noted this week that Obama spelled backward is Amabo, which translates into "I will love."

A Roman Mystery Solved!

American fans of Caroline Lawrence's Roman Mysteries series rejoice! The British Broadcasting Company's television adaptation of this action-packed children's book series will be aired on this side of the pond beginning in September 2008!

According to, Rainbow Media's Family Room HD Television will be presenting Series One of this highly-acclaimed children's series to North America beginning this fall.

For those of you lucky enough to live in Great Britain, Series Two begins on Tuesday, July 8, 2008 and you'll also be able to buy Region 2 DVDs of Series One. (Unfortunately, Region 2 DVDs won't work on American DVD players. American DVD players are coded for Region 1.)

You can also visit the author's Official Roman Mysteries Website to find out more!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Use Your Latin Language Powers for Good, not Evil!

Visit and play their vocabulary game and help alleviate world hunger!

Help end world hunger

For every word that you get right, donates 20 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Programme. Sponsors whose names appear on the screen pay for the rice every time you get a correct answer. If you know some Latin, you should have a definite advantage in this game. was named one of Time Magazine's Top 50 Websites for 2008.

According to the U.N. World Food Programme site, food from the donations will be helping to feed victims of the catastrophic storms in Myanmar this summer.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Free Greek Mythology Course!

OpenUW, the University of Washington's Educational Outreach program, offers a free, online, non-credit Greek Mythology course. The course is based on a full-length for-credit distance-learning course entitled Greek and Roman Mythology. The free sample is, naturally, intended to entice you to consider signing up for the complete course.

Mirabile Visu!

An incredible christening shawl with 4 wishes for the recipient knit, in Latin, into the edging!

Edited to add: Also see the same designer's Seneca sweater, so named because he knit one of Seneca's quotes into the sweater. Note that it is the first sweater that he ever knit!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Lingua Latina Resurgit!

Coming soon to a Catholic parish near you -- the Latin Mass! Maybe...

Newsweek Magazine published an op-ed piece this week -- Latin Days Are Here Again? -- which discusses the "reform of the reform" of the liturgical changes made by Vatican II. Earlier this week The London Telegraph reported that "the traditional Latin to be reintroduced into every Roman Catholic parish in England and Wales" and that "Catholic congregations throughout the world will receive special instruction on how to appreciate the old services."

Newsweek seems pessimistic that the Latin Mass will be regularly available at all Catholic parishes, although quotes from the National Catholic Register seem to indicate that is indeed the ultimate goal. It's likely that Latin will again become a required course for all Catholic seminarians. A multi-media website, Sancta Missa, has been established by the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, in cooperation with the Archdiocese of Chicago, to help educate priests and laity to learn the Latin Roman rite. Other sites that have information about the Latin Mass are the Latin Liturgy Association and Coalition Ecclesia Dei. Coalition Ecclesia Dei has an interesting graph on their site demonstrating the growth of the availability of the Latin Mass in recent years.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Harvard Latin Oration

Every spring at Harvard University, it is a long-standing tradition that one of the commencement speeches be given in Latin by an outstanding Classics student.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sample the ACL Institute and Workshops!

Emerita Latin Teacher Rose Williams will be presenting "After the Fall -- Early Medieval Latin Writings for the Latin Class" at the 61st American Classical League Institute at the University of New Hampshire. For those of you who would like to get an idea of what her workshop is all about -- and for those of you who can't make it to Durham this year -- Rose has placed a copy of her basic handout on the ACL site as well as a copy of the full presentation with all the pictures, literature and maps on her own website.

Now, although your first inclination would be to skip the basic handout and download only the full presentation, do be sure to check out the collection of basic handouts at the ACL site, because you'll find previews of other workshops and presentations there as well. It's likely that this site will be updated with more handouts as the presenters upload them.

Last year's handouts from the 60th Institute remain available at the ACL site -- along with memories of previous ACL Institutes from 1948-2007 and pictures of the winning posters from the 2007 ACL Poster Contest (Theme: "So What Can I Do With Latin in My Life?")

There's simply no way that these basic handouts can substitute for attending the actual presentations, but downloading them is a great way to get a small sample of what's on offer from the ACL! The 62nd ACL Institute and Workshop will be held at Loyola Marymount College (in conjunction with the Getty Villa) in Los Angeles, California, so start planning now!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Free Latin Stories!

There are a number of free downloadable booklets and ancillaries available for users of Hans Oerberg's Latina Lingua Per Se Illustrata at the website of his American distributor, Focus Publishing. Fabellae Latinae is a supplementary collection of easy stories which correspond to chapters 1-25 in Familia Romana and has recently been updated with the addition of 3 extra fabellae in a separate document.

But wait! There's more! You can also download a set of exercises to accompany Fabellae Latinae plus vocabulary lists for many of the other books in the Oerberg series!

There's also a link to 2 sites which include interactive quizzes covering the vocabulary of the 30 chapters in Familia Romana!

AND there's a Scope and Sequence for Lingua Latina designed for middle school students!

Euge! ("Awesome!")

Latin Decreases Violent Crime!

Boris Johnson, the Classically-educated old Etonian mayor of London, believes that a study of foreign languages -- specifically ancient Greek and Latin -- would decrease violent crime. See the full article, Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, Says to Teach Classics to Cut Knife Crime.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Is Your Latin Program in Crisis?

Due to problems in the housing market and the recent increases in fuel and grocery prices, many school districts are facing budget cuts and that can sometimes mean cutting programs. All too often, the courses put on the chopping block include art, physical education, music -- and foreign languages.

The Committee for the Promotion of Latin, sponsored by the Classical Association of the Middle West and South, has put together an online Programs in Crisis Kit. For teachers whose programs are facing imminent closure, directions for a letter-writing campaign as well as links to downloadable materials and brochures are provided.

Of course, it's always important to be constantly vigilant in ensuring that Latin and the Classics are valued in your school district. The Committee for the Promotion of Latin and the National Committee for Latin and Greek have lots of resources to help you remind parents, school boards and administrations about the benefits of studying the Classics, including:

  • Important facts about the benefits of studying Latin, Greek and the Classics
  • A bank of links to newspaper and magazine articles featuring Latin
  • Downloadable brochures and posters that you can print out and distribute
  • Addresses and links to helpful websites and teacher and university placement services

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Latin Boot Camp

This may be of some interest to homeschooling families. Latin in the Christian Trivium, which primarily produces textbooks and offers online courses to the religious homeschooling market, is offering a free Latin Boot Camp course to parents who would like to teach their children Latin. According to their website, the course will last seven weeks and will cover the rationale for teaching Latin as well as an overview of Latin grammar. Each week the Latin in the Christian Trivium staff will send out a worksheet that will be reviewed and returned to each participant via e-mail.

Monday, June 09, 2008

J.K. Rowling on Failure and Imagination

Perhaps the world's most famous (and ultimately quite successful) Classics student, J.K. Rowling, delivered this year's Commencement Address at Harvard University. Visit the online edition of Harvard Magazine to view a video recording or download an MP3 audio version.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Read Some Catullus in New England This Summer!

This summer Tufts University will be offering an advanced Latin course, Catullus and His Reception, taught by Professor Anne Mahoney.

Dates are 1 July through 7 August, Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9 to 12:30.

Normal tuition is $1650 but through the TUCET program Tufts offers a 50% discount for employed teachers. The course is open to graduate students and advanced undergrads.

Participants will read Latin poets from Catullus's own contemporaries down through the 19th century. Although students will spend a fair amount of time on the Renaissance re-discovery of Catullus, participants will also consider how Augustan and Silver Latin poets used Catullus, and there are a few more recent works to be read as well. All readings will be in Latin; students will write four short papers in English.

The syllabus is on line along with a course description and schedule.

If you'll be in New England for the American Classical League Institute and Workshops anyway, why not stay another month and read some poetry?