Courses and events

One-day courses unless indicated

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Fishbourne Roman Palace - imageFishbourne Roman Palace, Sussex

Latin for Beginners
Saturday 16th November 2019
Call the museum on 01243 785859

Cambridge logoUniversity of Cambridge

The Song of Arms and a Man
Saturday 23rd November 2019, 7-9pm

Roman Baths - imageRoman Baths, Bath

The ancient Romans and their gods
Saturday 1st Feb 2020
Call the museum on 01225 477773

Gloucester Cathedral - imageGloucester Cathedral

The ancient Romans and their gods 
Saturday 21st March 2020
Details and enrolment

Recent events

15th June 2019

The Song of Arms and a Man

University of Oxford

“It was a real treat, it was so well done with the wonderful readings … I was transported!”


6th April 2019

A day in Ancient Greece and Rome

Fishbourne Roman Palace

“Thank you for a most interesting day”
“The approach to history was so engaging. I cannot wait to follow this up”


30th March 2019

A day in Ancient Greece and Rome

Gloucester Cathedral

“The course was excellent”
“The teaching was ideal”
“It was a lovely day, as always, and the mix of people friendly and inclusive”


23rd March 2019

Latin for Beginners

Roman Bath

“It made you think, with a variety of tasks”
“Even better than expected.”
“Thoroughly enjoyable and very informative”


9th February 2019

The Song of Arms and a Man

University of Bristol

“For anyone interested in the Aeneid, this is an absolute must-see!”

Course and event summaries

Courses are presented by George Sharpley


The Song of Arms and a Man

The Latin Qvarter’s presentation of Virgil’s Aeneid is read by Emma Kirkby, Llewelyn Morgan, Matthew Hargreaves and Elizabeth Donnelly. George Sharpley’s adaptation of a rarely heard masterpiece echoes the ancient culture of public performance of poetry, and is accompanied with live ancient music by Barnaby Brown and Callum Armstrong. The performance brings the thrilling epic alive, telling the story of Aeneas’ struggle to fulfil his destiny as founder of Rome – from his escape from the burning ruins of Troy to his asylum and heart-breaking affair with the Carthaginian queen Dido and then his reluctant war with the inhabitants of his fated homeland of Italy. Selections of Virgil’s epic verse are read in the original Latin interspersed with an English narration which tells the whole story of the poem. This innovative and acclaimed presentation was first performed in Gloucester in 2018, and since at Bristol, Oxford, Charterhouse and Cambridge,


Latin for Beginners

Spend a day on classical Latin, with a look at Latin words at the root of English ones. See how the language works, enjoy some ancient gossip, learn more about ancient writers, and hear their work read aloud.


The Romans and their gods

These colourful fabulous figures enliven the literature of the Romans. But what of their darker side, those mysterious powers with chilling consequences for mortals who err in some way or who are just in the wrong place at the wrong time? Religious beliefs embraced the ‘personality’ gods who figure in ancient literature and art, like Jupiter, Mars and Venus, and also all kinds of less visible spirits.


A day in ancient Greece and Rome

What do the ancient Greeks and Romans mean to you? This one-day course traces the rise of Greek civilisation from the legendary times of Troy to the end of the Roman Republic and the first emperors. These two cultures are closely related and in turn shaped the world that followed. The Greek classical heyday was the fifth century BC, Rome’s was four hundred years later. In between came Alexander and his conquests, which left a world transfused with Hellenism: this was what the Romans inherited and they put their own stamp on it. In fact they put their stamp on quite a lot.


Horace’s Odes

How unique a poet is Horace? He belongs to a well-established tradition of preclassical Greek lyric poets, he reproduces their forms, themes and functions, and even their metres in the Latin language. He absorbs literary mannerisms of 3rd century Greek poets from Alexandria and also from recent Roman poets like Catullus. After him come medieval verses which echo similar themes, and Renaissance and later poets who deliberately seek comparison (Ben Johnson, Marvel, Pope and others). He is one link in a long chain of lyric poetry. And yet he has an extraordinarily distinctive voice. None of his themes and topics are new (e.g. invitations, celebrations, goodbyes, praises, erotic desires, farewells to love, reflections on friendship, how to live, and not least what to drink). It is possible that there may be more poems lost to us which are close models. But somehow Horace stands out as one of the most original poets in all antiquity, for his humane, ironic outlook, his unpredictable switching of direction (scene, characterisation, emotional focus, tone, slipping into humour or irony and back again); and above all what one scholar called the ‘miracle of sound’: his choice of words, in their time fresh and colloquial, and their enchanting (and for us challenging!) arrangement.

Latin in the cloisters - imageWhy Latin in the cathedrals?

In the 8th and 9th centuries there was a renaissance of learning in Europe, and Latin was at its heart – in cathedrals and monasteries.

At that time the overlord of a large part of western Europe, Charlemagne, had many new cathedrals and monasteries built. He instructed them to teach Latin, to produce more scribes to work in the courts and more priests to use the one language shared across Europe.

The Latin of Charlemagne’s day was a broad sweep of literature. There were liturgical and religious texts, laws, histories, administrative records (then, the clergy did all the ‘clerical’ work), works of fiction and poems, and also the treasured books of a much earlier timGloucester_Cathedral - imagee.

These pre-Christian writers – poets, historians, orators, storytellers and letter-writers – reflected values of a quite different world; but they were too good to ignore. The great classical writings of Cicero, Virgil and Ovid, whose stories of mischievous gods and whimsical goddesses were treated as allegories, were copied and kept alive in the cathedrals and monasteries like Gloucester shown here.