Courses and events

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Read a Latin story !

Paulus, Lucia and the mule

For near-beginners plus.
Thursday evenings, 6.30-7.45pm
Starting 18th January 2024. Fee: £96 or £48 for passive participation.
Contact [email protected]

Post-beginner and intermediate Latin courses

Courses currently under way.

For details of future courses contact [email protected]

Ancient Roman schoolroom

Visit a Roman schoolroom at the University of Reading – or set up an ancient classroom in your school!  This is an external site.

Ancient Greek for Beginners

10 hour-long online meetings weekly, starting November 2023. 
Contact [email protected]
This is an external provider.

Hear readings from the Metamorphoses

Recorded during a live online preformance on 13th December 2021

Recent events

 

September – December 2022

Accelerated Latin for Beginners

Online via Zoom

“I never fail to enjoy your courses so you’ll hopefully see me again! The mix of history, poetry and the sound of Latin is brilliant.”   “I much enjoyed your sessions, particularly when you went into Roman history. ”   “The course was excellent ! I did enjoy it, and thank you very much for it! “

 

2nd December 2022

The Song of Arms and a Man

King’s College, London

“An enthralling and unique dramatization”  The Virgil Society (Newsletter, May 2023)

“A stunning performance.”   “I thoroughly enjoyed the performance last night.”   ” I was completely captivated throughout.”   “It’s not often that we are privileged to hear the Aeneid – or any Latin prose or poetry – in the original language and spoken with such authority and drama. It was great! I also was encouraged to see so many young people there … They all seemed very attentive.”

 

19th February 2022

Tales from the Metamorphoses

Roman Bath

“I much enjoyed the chance to hear, live, Latin texts read aloud.”   “… Loved the insights into well-known stories.”   “Just a brief note to convey my thanks for your excellent presentation on Ovid at the Roman Baths on Saturday … I will certainly be applying to come to your next event.”

 

10th July 2021

The Romans and their gods

Fishbourne Roman Palace

“Hurrah! So pleased to be there.”   “Fascinating. It leaves me with much to think over.”

 

1st February 2020

The Romans and their gods

Roman Bath

“A thoroughly enjoyable day.”   “I could have listened for another hour.”   “Clear, engaging, a good mixture of material.”

 

23rd November 2019

The Song of Arms and a Man

St John’s College, Cambridge

“It was wonderful to hear so much of the Aeneid performed this evening and to romp through the story from start to finish. The cast of ‘The Song of Arms and a Man’ did a brilliant job bringing the text to life.”

 

5th October 2019

The Song of Arms and a Man

Charterhouse, Surrey

“The Virgil was phenomenal. Lots of our students were in the audience – thank you for inspiring them. I was spellbound.”

 

24th August 2019

Horace’s Odes

Gloucester Cathedral

“You managed to make it both informative and fun, and we really enjoyed the pronunciation practice as well!”

 

15th June 2019

The Song of Arms and a Man

Lady Margaret Hall, 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

 

 

Read a Latin story!

We will read the story of Lucia and Paulus (and the poor mule!) in Get Started in Latin.

The story starts at beginner level and rises gradually from there. Participants will be advised to study the language topics in each of the 12 units – and to complete the exercises. Specific questions from participants about the grammar, etc, will be addressed in the meetings, but do not expect much structured teaching, other than a few pointers in passing as we read the story.

The principal aim is to read (and enjoy!) the story, and in doing so develop your knowledge of Latin.

People joining the course should not be complete beginners, but have some grasp of the principle of case endings, the cases themselves and their functions, and in general the nature of Latin as an inflected language – all of which are explained in the first few units of the book.

 

 

The Song of Arms and a Man (performance)

“A brilliant dramatisation – warm, witty, bloody and cruel – and a sensational performance.”   Prof. Tim Whitmarsh (at Cambridge)

“The Song of Arms and a Man was an enthralling and unique dramatisation of Virgil’s Aeneid … very easy to follow regardless of how much or little Latin each person knew … I cannot recommend this performance enough.”   Safa Malik, The Virgil Society Newsletter, May 2023 (at King’s College, London

“ Phenomenal. Lots of our students were in the audience – thank you for inspiring them. I was spellbound.”   Guildford High School (at Charterhouse)

The Latin Qvarter’s presentation of Virgil’s Aeneid is read by Emma Kirkby, Matthew Hargreaves, Ben Cartlidge and Maria Roddis. 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 aulos-player 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, Cambridge, King’s College London, and is coming to University College London (10th November 2023)

 

 

LATIN for Complete Beginners

The classes will focus on key language skills for newcomers, with an engaging narrative to help practise each topic; and you will read the words of ancient writers themselves. This course is suitable for students of both classical and medieval literatures.

 

 

LATIN for Accelerated Beginners and Returners

During these online classes we will read excerpts from writers such as Cicero, Virgil, Livy, Suetonius and other classical authors, whose voices weave a narrative of the history of Rome, starting with the early myths and legends, and reaching the rule of early emperors. Along the way we explore cultural and social aspects of their times and receptive influences the world over. The language content assumes participants are beginners, but expect a steep-ish climb into the grammar. Post-beginner and intermediate courses are also taught.

 

 

Latin for Beginners (day-course)

This is a day-course for real beginners. You’re welcome too if you’re not new to Latin, but no previous knowledge is needed. Come and have some fun, and make new discoveries! You’ll have an introduction to how the language works, and discover all sorts of things about English too, with so many Latin words at the root of English ones. Last but not least, you’ll get to hear some of the great works read aloud.

 

 

The Romans and their gods (day-course)

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. The day will take a tour of some of the insights offered by ancient writers and poets, with a chance to hear some of the most thrilling verses ever composed.

 

 

A day in Greece and Rome (day-course)

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 (day-course)

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.