Category Archives: Education

The Divine Riches of the Latin Language

My son’s interest in the Latin language, fuelled by his engaging Latin teacher, remains unbroken. Recently, for example, he wished to discuss the authenticity of some volumes of John Maddox Roberts‘s beautifully entertaining SPQR series with me (to a depth … Continue reading

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Mortifying Teachers

Traumatic, unbearable experiences that seem to shatter our grasp of reality trigger a simple coping mechanism: when one encounters something that seems to come close to our wildest nightmares in real life, one is inclined to narrativise, to fictionalise – … Continue reading

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Why Learn a Foreign Language?

The following considerations were part of a paper presented at a British Academy Early Careers Regional Event: ‘Linguistic Diversity and Cultural Identities in Europe: Oral Voices and Literary Languages (Eurotales: an Exhibiting and Museographical Experiment)’ on 11 April 2014 in … Continue reading

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Discussing Cicero, Against Verres II 1.53 ff. (for A-level students)

Reading’s Department of Classics was delighted to host the 2014 Ancient World Study Day on March 26th. On this occasion, I was invited to offer a talk on Cicero’s speech In Verrem 2.1.53 ff., the OCR set text for 2014, … Continue reading

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Pliny on Regulus: ‘Will two stories serve you, or must you have a third, according to the canon of the schools?’

The following text was presented at the JACT GCSE Latin and Greek Conference at Westminster School London on 14 March 2014. I am immensely grateful to Ms Katharine Radice for the invitation to this event. I. Pliny did not like … Continue reading

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Hot Air and Sage Advice, or: Human, All Too Human (A Blog Post for Free Thinkers)

There has been a remarkable wave of outputs recently, traditional and web-based, that conceptualised the wish to find ancient Roman fore-runners of the walls of social media, counterparts for toilet graffiti and related witticisms, or at least some proto-memes by … Continue reading

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The Uses and Benefits of Multilingualism

The L’Africa Romana series is both a treasure trove and a complete nightmare. It comprises the proceedings of a series of broad international conferences, co-ordinated by the University of Sassari, dedicated to the study of Roman North Africa. They cover … Continue reading

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Grapes and Wrath, or: Phaedrus on Things Too High

Former UK Prime Minister Sir John Major recently expressed his shock at ‘at the way in which every sphere of modern public life is dominated by a private school-educated elite and well-heeled middle class’. ‘Our education system should help children … Continue reading

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Imperialism, Linguistic Diversity, and Common Language

A few thoughts on occasion of Language Festival 2013. By the mid first century AD, when the Roman author Pliny the Elder wrote his monumental Natural History, Rome had become an empire of global significance and enormous dimensions. It held … Continue reading

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Latin Greeting Rituals: ‘How are you’ vs. ‘Hope you’re well’

My son has an excellent, inspirational Latin teacher. Two months of Latin at school, and he has already written his first little (as in: six-act) play – called Quintus et Flavia – entirely in Latin. If only I could acquire … Continue reading

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