Lapsed Classicists

(148 Posts)
TunipTheVegemal Tue 09-Oct-12 16:47:24

As mentioned on the Mary Beard thread.

My name is Tunip and it is twenty eight years since I last read a full-length piece of Latin or Greek literature.

However I am glowing at the discovery that I can still apparently translate 'What's your favourite biscuit?' into Latin.

Anyone else?

Poledra Tue 09-Oct-12 16:51:18

Dunno, but your thread title sounds like me when I'm pissed...

WingDefence Tue 09-Oct-12 17:05:15

Hi! I'm a bit scared though - does this mean I'm actually going to have to try to write some Latin or Greek now? I was rubbish at composition!

Can't do Greek actually as I don't have the font

I should say I'm BA(Hons) Classics, Newcastle 1998 smile

Issy Tue 09-Oct-12 17:14:13

My name is Issy and the last time I translated a piece of English into Greek or Latin was my second year composition paper in 1985. The last time I read a full-length piece of Latin or Greek literature was in Finals 1987. Actually, it could be closer to 1986 as I seem to recall that I didn't actually do much hard-core, not-in-translation in my final year. blush

1987 - that's quarter of a century ago. It's not surprising that I'm now struggling with my 11 yo's first stage of the Cambridge Latin Course.

Gigondas Tue 09-Oct-12 17:16:05

Yep about 20 years since did any- history ma with ancient history bias so did make use of my a levels.

VerityClinch Tue 09-Oct-12 17:42:24

Caecilius in via stat.

I am most impressed at your biscuit skills, tunip.

I am not so much lapsed as corrupted, I'm afraid. I last read Greek (badly) about five years ago but my Latin has turned medieval, with plenty of 'michi' instead of 'mihi' and, erm, what shall we say? Crude syntax.

I used to be able to read it quite well (I never got good at Greek) and I would love to get back into it.

TunipTheVegemal Tue 09-Oct-12 17:52:06

Well, I don't know about corrupted. Mary talked about how second time round we could explore the byways we missed out first time round. Mine would be medieval Latin - I'd love to know more about it.

When I was a teenager I was weird I wanted to read More's Utopia in the original Latin and never did.


I'm weird too, then, because my first thought was 'ooh! I'd love to read More's Utopia in Latin'. I bet mine'd struggle though.

Medieval Latin is easier than Classical, IMO. Or rather, when it's hard, it's because you don't know the very, very, very specific vocabulary someone's cobbled together for something, rather than because the grammar/syntax is complicated.

VerityClinch Tue 09-Oct-12 17:56:13

Canis in via latrat.

TunipTheVegemal Tue 09-Oct-12 17:57:47

Wonderful wonderful Internet! I don't even need to buy it, it's out there!

TunipTheVegemal Tue 09-Oct-12 17:58:10


WingDefence Tue 09-Oct-12 18:41:47

Ecce! Caecilius est in puellam hortem!

I only did Greek GCSE before my degree so had a lot to catch up on in my first year at uni. I never really got good at it either but NT Greek is definitely simpler, mostly because it seems to be in a more English/logical word order. I can more-or-less translate it with just a lexicon.

Ooh ... that link is brilliant.

Though I would have to sit down with the parallel text and a dictionary. Boo.

wing - that's pretty damn cool! I would love to do NT Greek.

SuiGeneris Tue 09-Oct-12 18:48:53

Another weird one here who thought reading Utopia in Latin is a great idea.

Not sure whether I can join you though as I sadly gave up Latin at 19. The last full-length Latin I read was, however, 2 years ago, when Cicero's Orations carried me through some difficult breastfeeding hours...

TunipTheVegemal Tue 09-Oct-12 18:52:35

How splendid about the Cicero! Do you think it will have gone into the milk so your child can say s/he imbibed Cicero with his/her mother's milk?

Wow. Cicero carried you through breastfeeding?

You're hard core. We did Cicero for A Level and it required copious amounts of snoozing back then.

SuiGeneris Tue 09-Oct-12 19:02:41

It was at the stage when breastfeeding was painful (thrush, tongue tie, etc) so having to concentrate hard on something else was great, plus it was the Loeb edition, with a brilliant introduction and and the English translation on the next page for when I got stuck.

As for imbibing Cicero with milk I can only hope, but the antecedents are good: my mother read a long biography of a Communist giant while pregnant with me and I did turn out to be quite leftie...

Wow. You're amazing.

I like this theory of imbibing literature with mother's milk, though ... my mum was reading toddler books to my brother while breastfeeding me, and I did indeed turn out to be a Tiger who came to tea, so it must be true.

MooncupGoddess Tue 09-Oct-12 19:07:11

I can't believe you're dissing Cicero, LRD! We did his letters for A level and I loved them - they were really colloquial and immediate compared with any other texts I'd read at that stage. Some of his later dialogues are a bit stolid, admittedly.

Totally agree re earlier points about mediaeval Latin. I did try to read some of the carmina burana in the sixth form but the vocabulary is just so different and the syntax is often odd too. I loved Helen Waddell's translations of mediaeval Latin troubadour songs, though - must dig them out again.


It's probably a sign I was never meant to be a Classicist, TBH. I love lots of bits of Latin but I really didn't get on with Cicero. I might prefer his letters, though.

I love medieval Latin songs - shedloads of carols have bits of Latin and bits of English. My dad just bought be a CD with a version of the boar's head carol that translates itself line-by-line ('caput apris defero'). It's gorgeous.

Plus when it is translated line by line I can understand it all! grin

MooncupGoddess Tue 09-Oct-12 19:12:19

My favourite Latin author was Tacitus - so sharp and clever and funny. I loved Euripides too and still try to go to Greek tragedy as often as I can - the National production of Antigone earlier this year was really impressive. There is something about Greek tragedy that sums up the human condition better than anything else I've ever encountered.

I love this thread!

WingDefence Tue 09-Oct-12 19:14:18

LRD I'm surprised anyone thinks reading the new testament in Greek is Cool grin It really isn't that bad, even now years and years after graduating. Because the word order is much more straightforward you don't need to worry quite as much about case endings etc as a lot of it is logical once you know the word meanings (and as I said, that's what I use the lexicon for!).

I had completely forgotten that the Loebs have the English on one side. I may have to dig out some Plato smile

MooncupGoddess Tue 09-Oct-12 19:14:21

Yes, I love carols like that too, LRD - In Dulci Jubilo is my favourite. Actually last weekend I discovered the technical term for them - macaronic. You probably knew that already!

mooncup - oh, Virgil for me. I love it. I love Greek tragedy, too. Sophocles, probably. I got to do a whole paper on tragedy as 1/5 of my degree, and I was really lucky because one of the lecturers volunteered to read Greek with me once a week, just as an optional thing, so I got to go over all sorts of lovely stuff with him just gently guiding me through, and not worrying too much about my grammar because we were reading it for the lit.

I wrote about Euripides' Cyclopes in my finals exams and felt well smug about it! grin

wing - oh, but it is cool! Because it is so lovely to be able to trace a text back to the original (or, I mean, I know Jesus probably spoke Aramaic, but you know what I mean).

I might give it a go, now you're encouraging me. I had a look ages ago, but mostly gave up.

WingDefence Tue 09-Oct-12 19:18:31

My heart will always belong to Vergil (I'm sure we never called him Virgil) when it comes to Latin. Although Suetonius was a laugh (on Caligula and Nero).

There was someone else I really liked in Latin, but I just can't remember his name. He wrote satirical poems... Catullus! That was it!

I love this thread too grin

mooncup - I love In Dulci Jubilo. smile

Oh, I probably just can't spell, wing. Sorry!

I like Herodotus, too.

Catullus is nice. My teacher was really fond of him and got us reading bits of his sparrow poem really early on - before we could properly translate it - so we'd enjoy it. She was fab.

notnowImreading Tue 09-Oct-12 19:21:23

Never underestimate the power of the Loeb! I read Greek Classics at uni but somehow ended up teaching Latin for a few years so I can manage all of the CLC but my Greek has practically disappeared sad. I used to love Euripides and I had a guilty fondness for the naffola ancient novels, especially Daphnis and Chloe. I'd love to resurrect my Greek now but I think I'd have to go all the way back to Thrasymachus! Oimoi o popoi smile

Oimoi talas!

(I am thrilled I can remember that! grin)

WingDefence Tue 09-Oct-12 19:26:31

Oimoi!!! Haha grin

Ahhhh ... this thread is reminding me of one of the supremely geeky moments of my teenage years, when my parents took me on a trip to Oxford and led me into Blackwells ... rows and rows of Loebs.

I got very starry-eyed.

MooncupGoddess Tue 09-Oct-12 19:32:32


<rends garments>

Mmm, I have reached my limit now, I think. Um ...

oimoi talaina?

Is that one?

I find transliterating backwards a total bugger.

azazello Tue 09-Oct-12 19:41:41

Another lapsed classicist here. Now a solicitor so about the closest I generally get is legal dog Latin like mutatis mutandis and other such bollocks.

I did a fair bit of medieval Latin as well - read Speculum stultorum for finals and a fair bit of (filthy) poetry! I'm starting to ponder an MA for fun in comparative mythology so would need to get my Latin u to scratch and probably try Greek again. I was rubbish at Greek though.

azazello Tue 09-Oct-12 19:42:46

I'm an Ovid fan btw. Virgil sometimes gets a bit worthygrin

Worthy?! Nooo!

(Mmm, mebbe I skipped those bits ... I like the pretty bits with the underworld and the ghosts. And Nisus and Euryalus. grin)

TunipTheVegemal Tue 09-Oct-12 19:56:56

What is Speculum Stultorum? It sounds like it would be good.

LRD - what is the title of your boar's head CD? I might get it! I love Latin carols too. Is it Personent Hodie that goes 'aurum thus thus thus, aurum thus thus thus, aurum thus, et myrrham....'

TheLightPassenger Tue 09-Oct-12 20:02:03

over 15 years since I read Latin. I do have fond memories of A Level, of Cicero's letters (really brought the aftermath of the civil war to life for me) and of Horace's odes. Less fond memories of Virgil and the Pageant of the Heroes /yawn.

MooncupGoddess Tue 09-Oct-12 20:03:18

Mirror of the Stupid? Sounds like the Daily Mail of its time grin

Yes, that is Personent Hodie!

tunip - it's 'The Oxford Ramble' by Magpie Lane. In case you can't tell from that, my dad likes his folk. grin

It is a nice version of the carol, just warning you it's not angelic choirs of boys.

I love Personent Hodie. When I was at school my Latin teacher refused to translate it saying it wasn't 'proper' Latin, so I had a go.

I think I am winning on the 'geek' stakes here, btw.

azazello Tue 09-Oct-12 20:05:27

Yes, it's mirror of fools. Sort of a strangely Aesop's fables/ Canterbury tales sort of thing.

I love the Latin carols as well. I feel all Christmassy thinking about them!

grin Nice one, mooncup.

besmirchedandbewildered Tue 09-Oct-12 20:08:42

My Greek is limited now to brekekekex ko-ax ko-ax which I'm pretty sure is frog song from about p3 of Thrasymachus. Happy days!

EdgarAllanPond Tue 09-Oct-12 20:09:04

i did Latin at home, and then Greek. My Parents did Classics at Leicester.

so lots of Aristophanes Homer, Catullus, Herodotus, Horace, one Sappho, stuff my Mum liked.

Brekekek coax coax...

The frog song!

It's the chorus in Aristophanes' 'Frogs'.

It makes me happy.

LineRunner Tue 09-Oct-12 20:23:17

I was interested in what Mary Beard said about being able to study in translation. I can be a bit on arse about this, because I believe that those who can translate control the text. I've seen some very odd translations offered up to learners.

But she's right, if you don't offer study in translation it's stupid.

ScaryBOOAlot Tue 09-Oct-12 20:26:08

Studied first year of A level Classics and first year of A level Archaeology before my health got in the way. I can't read Latin or Greek, but did teach myself the basics when doing Classics.

Can I join still? grin

TunipTheVegemal Tue 09-Oct-12 20:31:52

Yes, there's no entry requirement grin
People who have done Classical Civilisation and never did any Latin or Greek are welcome too. In fact if anyone wants to start Latin or Greek I am sure they will find lots of enthusiastic advice and encouragement here.

I think maybe the way round it is to do a little in translation, line?

We don't have time to teach undergrads Latin, but they have to read Geoffrey of Monmouth (amongst other thing in Latin), and it really helps if you take just one or two sentences and explain what the words are, maybe get them discussing how a particular word is translated in their English edition.

I think that's probably necessary if you are studying in translation, to at least get someone to walk you through bits of the language.

I have slightly vested interests in Classicists insisting on study in the original, though, because if not, where does it end?! 'Translations' for Shakespeare? Pope?

Cor, I am doing a fine impression of a crusty old bat. grin

LineRunner Tue 09-Oct-12 20:37:54

Did anyone else have to do Latin at school?

almapudden Tue 09-Oct-12 20:39:07

BA (Hons) Oxon 2007 here! Am a Classics teacher so have kept it up, although I haven't taught any Greek for a couple of years sad My Latin was always better than my Greek anyway.

Tacitus is definitely my favourite author - I love his sarcasm and his terrible guilt, I find him a very human author (if that makes sense).

I bloody hate Pindar though. Utter nonsense.

taurean Tue 09-Oct-12 20:40:36

Another (very much) lapsed classicist here. Haven't really read any Latin or Greek since late nineties. This thread has inspired me to find my loebs! I was asked recently to translate some Latin at work and am embarrassed to say I take it home to work on (it was only a few lines long! blush)

ScaryBOOAlot Tue 09-Oct-12 20:40:41

I'm interested in the history on language, so know a vague amount / can recognise some key words, but would love to learn more.

envy of doing Latin at school.

LineRunner Tue 09-Oct-12 20:41:53

Julius Caesar for me. De Bello Gallico.

Spooky. At the edge of time, at the edge of the world (imagine a deep booming Hollyowood voice here), making quite a lot of it up.

I also like Tactitus.

TunipTheVegemal Tue 09-Oct-12 20:42:07

It makes me sad that there is a very slender chance my kids will get to do Latin at school.
When I was at school I did Latin but thought myself hard done by because my school didn't offer Greek!

LineRunner Tue 09-Oct-12 20:44:24

God, wouldn't it be great if MN could resurrect Latin learning. smile


1. Improve vocab.
2. Love of learning.
3. Control of texts.

Ooh! alma, you graduated at the same time as my DH who did Ancient History! I bet you'd know each other by sight.

I did Latin at school, and felt angry I wasn't allowed to do GCSE Greek (we were only allowed 3 non-core subjects), but did it for A Level. I was very, very lucky.

Though, my teacher said that her parents told her it was terribly sad that Latin was dying out, no-one in the next generation would do it at school ... but it seemed to be clinging on! Let's hope.

Btw, not only did we have to do Latin at school. We also - if we got less than 70% in the test at the end of the first year - and to do Home Economics and Childcare.

Just a couple of years before the turn of the millenium. Unbelievable.

LineRunner Tue 09-Oct-12 20:49:32

Crazy that Latin has been so elitist.

Mama1980 Tue 09-Oct-12 20:55:42

Ohhh can I join smile not so much lapsed though, I am doing a phd in classical archaeology. Doing my own translations is pretty key. I love just about everybody-except Pindaric odes, I find the language very remote iykwim i can't feel the human element in them. Thucydides is probably my favourite so dynamic but with his own agenda too so he always seems very human and flawed, making him far more interesting.

Hello, another lapsed classicist here (Cambridge 1997 - not at the wonderful Mary Beard's college but I did take one paper she was teaching, which was great. The paper was "personal politics" about the inter relationship between personal and political issues in ancient society - my over-riding memory of which is doing a mock exam where the first question was "of course it's political, everything is fucking political" - skunk anansie. discuss grin )

I don't think I've read any Latin since 1997 - so impressed by breast feeding while reading Cicero! I would SO love to go on a lapsed classicists course with you lot, Mary Beard and copious wine smile

ScaryBOOAlot Tue 09-Oct-12 20:59:28

I left (state) secondary school in 2007. When I got up to m (public) sixth form, even then it seemed to be dying out sad I don't understand why. Its so useful.

EdgarAllanPond Tue 09-Oct-12 21:40:47

the third state secondary i went to did Latin, and greek for 6th formers. if the teacher is still there, they'll still do it...if not, then not

We did Latin teaching at the state primary down the road. We all got walked there with copies of Minimus and our teacher, who used us as TAs for a class of 10/11 year olds who kept asking us in great detail about Roman solidiers/gladiators/blood. It was great fun. grin

(And when I say 'we' did it ... god, looking back, my poor teacher was heroic, coping with us and them!)

ScaryBOOAlot Tue 09-Oct-12 21:55:39

That's amazing! DS has an interest in ancient history already, which I shall be encouraging wink

Womenandchickensfirst Tue 09-Oct-12 21:58:23

Wow, how fantastic to read all this. Ancient Hist and Archaeology here, graduated in 1985, so VERY rusty, but inspired by you all. It's funny how every now and again you remember something and it seems as relevant today. We were so lucky to follow our passions back then. I do worry for our children, but have encouraged my DD's to study what they love at uni, and so far it's paid off for them...

tigerdriverII Tue 09-Oct-12 22:05:42

Hey, another lapsed classicist here. Not read anything since 1985, keep meaning to reread bits of the Aeneid or Odyssey, I like my epics. Or some Aristophanes, I'd forgotten the frogs. Must dust off a Loeb or two....

VerityClinch Tue 09-Oct-12 22:09:45

Someone tell me about Tacitus' guilt, please?

I love Tacitus (except I think he is a massive mysogynist) but know nothing of his guilt?

Cheddars Tue 09-Oct-12 22:20:28

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Juvenal! He was hilarious.

I always found Horace to be a bit of a gentle Alan Titchmarshy humour, while Juvenal was like Ben Elton on Friday Night Live. shows my age

WhitePeacock Tue 09-Oct-12 22:23:01

Meee! BA Classics and English, Latin tutor to very small fry for ages (but not beyond GCSE, as shamingly my grammar is really very rusty and I have to work hard at it to keep one step ahead even of Caecilius.) Poor Greek but total Iliad freak nevertheless. Anyone like Christopher Logue's War Music?
Also, anyone prone to muttering "pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo" when grumpy in a rush-hour crowd and getting toes trodden on? (That bit I did NOT teach any small fry.)

Odi et amo. Quare id faciam, fortasse requires? Nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.

Anyone remember that Catullus ode? For some reason it has always stuck in my head since GCSE in 1990 and I still love it...

vesela Tue 09-Oct-12 23:23:26

Cheers, Tunip!

It's been 32 years here. After I graduated in 1990, I ran straight off to Czechoslovakia and that got in the way - but although I may have mostly forgotten my Latin (not to mention Greek) it did help with learning Czech. And I still read the odd bit of ancient philosophy, since much as I enjoyed everything else, that's what stayed with me most. (If I had a pound, though, for every Latin inscription that people have sent my mother hoping that vesela might be able to have a look at it... ).

This thread and the webchat have made me start looking up some Horace, though, and it's coming back.

Fozzleyplum Tue 09-Oct-12 23:29:10

Yoo hoo! Another lapsed classicist here (only A Level latin - does that count?). Am rediscovering it now that DS1 has just started Latin at his new school; the books these days are much more interesting (and less militaristic) than the ones we had in the 80's.

Any chance that anyone on this thread was at Loughborough High School and did Latin with the legendary Mr Hammond?

funchum8am Wed 10-Oct-12 01:59:11

I am a classicist but not lapsed - teaching classical civ to gcse and a level, and Latin to gcse in a state comprehensive school. It's brilliant, the pupils who choose to do gcse absolutely love it. At the moment my school only offers Latin to those with high language aptitude and only as a lunchtime lesson, though from y10 they do it on timetable,but I will be changing that. Hope to start an A level course if enouh of my current y8 go on to do gcse.

There are various projects going to try to bring classics back in state schools eg the Love Latin scheme in London and the wonderful Iris Project for primaries. If you can volunteer to help, even if your Latin is very limited, lots of schools would be delighted.

I could probably round up some teachers to lead sessions at an MN weekend of classics...who is up for it?

WingDefence Wed 10-Oct-12 08:11:07

I'd be up for that funchum!

Cheddars - I meant Juvenal not Catullus! Catullus was the rude one but I loved the satire of Juvenal. Thanks for reminding me smile

LineRunner Wed 10-Oct-12 10:18:16

I have just remembered that years and years ago Ian Hislop did a TV documentary about Juvenal. I taped it on VHS but god knows where it is now.

I wonder if it still exists somewhere in an archive. It was wonderful.

funchum8am Wed 10-Oct-12 11:50:53

I have a friend who is also a classics teacher and she is due to have a baby in January so I'll see if she is on MN and/or is up for organising something. I have a 6 day old newborn so it might be a while before we could arrange but just putting it out there!

Could maybe organise it at my college in Oxford, they do conferences where accommodation is not that expensive. I might even be able to rope in a couple of tutors to say a few words... not sure how I sell it to them..."This group of women who know each other from a parenting website want to get back into Classics....."!!!

TunipTheVegemal Wed 10-Oct-12 12:18:43

There are a few people at Oxford that I could ask - either people who taught me all those years ago or who did their PhD in the same dept as me and who are now at Oxford.

I've just realised I got my sums wrong in my OP. I'm 40 not 50 - it's 18 years not 28 since I graduated blush

I wonder how the costings would work out for a weekend at Oxford. If MNHQ organised it then it would be profitmaking and we'd probably have to pay anyone we got involved. But it would be a big job organising it - is anyone up for that?

Oooh! Oooh! I am so not up for organizing right now (sorry, I feel a bit guilty as I'm less busy than a lot of people, but right now I need to get job apps in).

But I would absolutely love a classics-y weekend in Oxford, it would be fantastic!

TunipTheVegemal Wed 10-Oct-12 12:33:50

Me neither tbh! blush
It might be better to led MNHQ do it but give them specific requests on how we'd like it organised?
I think it would be good with a proper Latin teacher (from school) plus a university person to talk to us about what's changed in Classics since our day.

LineRunner Wed 10-Oct-12 13:18:10

Get Ian Hislop.

Issy Wed 10-Oct-12 13:44:17

A Lapsed Classicist weekend in an Oxford/Cambridge college would be lovely. We may be able to get a good price from one of the smaller colleges who don't have facilities to host big events. Perhaps these guys can help:

If all of this proves too hard to organize, we could see if anyone (inc people on this thread) would be up for doing a bit of teaching, and we could organize to go to one of the public lectures at Oxford? Every term they always have a certain number of lectures open to the public.

WingDefence Wed 10-Oct-12 14:37:48

I'm pregnant with my DC2 due at the start of April. Hmm, if we have it next summer when the students are off will babies be welcome?! grin

Mary mentioned Peter Jones who is the co-founder of Friends of Classics and he was one of my lecturers at Newcastle. Very funny man smile

TunipTheVegemal Wed 10-Oct-12 14:40:57

A Mumsnet Lapsed Classicists club HAS to allow small babies, surely? And that would determine the choice of venue if there were colleges that wouldn't allow them.

SuiGeneris Wed 10-Oct-12 14:44:27

whitepeacock: now that you mention it, I remember our literature teacher getting us to read "pedicabo..." and saying that he'd leave us to work it out by ourselves... Who was it? Memory suggests Catullus but I think Martial is more likely...

Would be very interested in a classics weekend at Oxford, would absolutely love it in fact BUT I have a fully breastfed baby in tow, so would need to drag DH and both DS with me and have DS2 brought in for feeds. It would be brilliant though...

WingDefence Wed 10-Oct-12 15:41:16

That's Catullus Sui. I was looking it up yesterday and found an interesting Mary Beard article on it.

Here it is! grin

Issy Wed 10-Oct-12 16:27:48

As the instigator of the Lapsed Classicists Summer Course, about which I feel equally guilty and proud, can I make a few very quick suggestions?

1. We should go for a Cambridge College as our first option, as the event should be irresistible to Mary Beard (!) and, even if she can't make it, we could probably persuade her to recruit some of her post-grads or colleagues to pitch up for a short talk.

2. If we go for Cambridge, the university conference centre will probably be able to help us organise the basics: which college, accommodation, meals, seminar room.

3. We should keep it small and simple. Aim for a maximum of, say, 20 attendees, one and a half days, one night stay. With a not overly ambitious programme.

4. We should invite non-Mnetters including, gasp, men, perhaps through Friends of Classics. Unless, of course, the theme is Lysistrata.

5. We should divide and rule, with one person taking on logistics and liaising with the Cambridge Conference people, another the programme, another the money, another communications to the attendees etc.. Money, as always, will be the toughest one as we'd probably have to cover the expenses of at least some of the speakers and we may want to pay an academic/teacher to design the programme.

6. Small babies, partners and children should all be welcome and it should be reasonably easy to accommodate them as I think some of the Cambridge Colleges offer B&B during the holidays. Could be wrong there.

That's more than a few points. Perhaps all ex-classicists are excessively strident! blush




Nah, not really. That all sounds excellent, though being a lazy arse I did fancy Oxford.

I'm sure some of the colleges rent out their accommodation out of term, yeah.

TunipTheVegemal Wed 10-Oct-12 16:39:56

Oxford is more central and it's on the crosscountry routes. If someone's coming from the west then Cambridge is a bit of a trek.
Having said that, if Mary is on side she might be able to wangle us a teaching room in the Faculty.

Issy Wed 10-Oct-12 17:12:41

Good point on Oxford being more central. I only went for Cambridge because of the Mary Beard connection. Oxford would be my first choice personally - easier to get to for me and my alma mater. Oxford has an identical set up with a centre that helps you to arrange conferences at the colleges.

Toomuchtea Wed 10-Oct-12 17:23:36

I am so lapsed I'm not sure I'd be up to a Lapsed Classicist event: I can't even remember the little Greek I taught myself, and it has been a long, long time since I picked up any of my lovely Penguin Black classics.

I too used to get very excited by all those Loebs. Was it green for Greek and red for Latin?

Very sad that Latin is no longer an option in the vast majority of state schools.

vesela Wed 10-Oct-12 22:49:43

I got my sums wrong as well! It's been 22 years. I'm clearly even more of a lapsed mathematician.

I'd love to do a weekend. For various reasons, would prefer Oxford (although I was at Cambridge). The tutors at St. Hilda's in particular here) look as if they might be up our street - I wonder if any of them would be willing?

LineRunner Wed 10-Oct-12 22:51:30

The whole not good at maths thing - is it the Roman numerals?

Oh, damn. You're Michael Gove, aren't you, linerunner.

I've realized I have DH's graduation year wrong too, he's even younger than I admitted.

LineRunner Wed 10-Oct-12 22:59:31

Ha! grin

My nearest political equivalant is certainly not that failed little Cicero-slug.


funchum8am Thu 11-Oct-12 07:42:23

This is so exciting! My teacher friend is up for teaching as well - I asked her as she is a really outstanding teacher (far better than me!) and she already runs a classics course for parents at her (state comprehensive) school, so is used to teaching adults. So if our services ate required, just say the word.

Might be best to get MNHQ to organise but I would be happy to do it if they can't. And I could definitely talk to my tutor about coming along, costs etc.

I reckon Mary Beard would come to Oxford since she inspired all this!

Ooh! That would be fantastic!

I live in Oxford and I am feeling a bit guilty - if someone else is up for organizing, I am up for helping. I just don't want to have the responsibility of it all, because I'm not terribly organized and working to a lot of deadlines at the moment (sob, sob, I know, I have it pretty easy really).

TunipTheVegemal Thu 11-Oct-12 09:08:31

Vesela, I was an undergrad with one of the St Hildas tutors (the one with the dog in her photo) and she's lovely. Once we have a specific idea what we are asking them to do, I am happy to contact her, even though we haven't been in touch since the mid-90s!

mascarpone Thu 11-Oct-12 13:45:02

Another lapsed Classicist here! Left Cambridge in 1997 (wonders whether I would remember Rollercoasteryears) and haven't read any serious Latin since! But I am teaching my mum, and am debating offering to teach Latin as a lunchtime club at the village school (just a bit worried no one would want to join...).

Any Latin teachers out there - any suggestions for good texts to start my mum off on? We're about half way through the 'So you want to learn Latin' text book series - I think you get to GCSE standard by the end of it. She's doing well and is basically covering work that she dimly remembers from school. I can't for the life of me remember exactly what I studied for GCSE - Ovid I think? And bits of Virgil??

As for the lapsed Classicist weekend, does it matter if you can't remember much? blush

funchum8am Thu 11-Oct-12 15:14:38

We can tailor the sessions to those who can attend, and if we had 2 or more teachers we could do simultaneous classes so you choose what to go to. We could do some language and some reading texts. Might reduce complexity if we stick to either Latin or Greek, rather than trying to do both, but if demand is there we could try both.

How do you think we approach MNHQ about this?

TunipTheVegemal Thu 11-Oct-12 15:17:16

I think one language at a time would be simpler.

I think we would need to start off with a revision class on the grammar, then move onto some easy texts, then harder ones depending on how we get on.

funchum8am Thu 11-Oct-12 15:22:36

Te teaching your mum, mascarpone you could check the current gcse and welsh board certificate (same level as gcse) set texts. for gcse and for welsh board. Ones that have been set in the past are sections of the Aeneid, selected poems from various authors in a textbook called the OCR Latin Anthology, bits of Suetonius, Livy and also, I think, Caesar. Caesar is quite straightforward Latin though the military content is not to everyone's taste!

almapudden Thu 11-Oct-12 21:51:58

Tunip, she was my tutor we know each other?!

TunipTheVegemal Thu 11-Oct-12 21:58:58

She didn't teach me Alma, she was the year above me as an undergrad though she may have helped me out with the odd difficult bit of translation once or twice.

notnowImreading Thu 11-Oct-12 22:12:20

Is that Katherine Clarke? She arrived as a
Fellow at Hilda's in my last year - I wish she'd been there earlier; she seemed great. I dropped most of the history options because I was so terrified of Miss Levick! She told me I'd 'bitterly regret it' and she was right.

almapudden Thu 11-Oct-12 22:12:30

Ah okay, makes sense. The dog's name is Scipio, by the way. He was great distraction in tutorials...

funchum8am Fri 12-Oct-12 03:40:46

Katherine C taught me briefly as well, she was a graduate student at the time I believe, or very early in her career. She wouldn't remember me though!

If we did just one language who votes for Latin and who's for Greek?

SuiGeneris Fri 12-Oct-12 14:37:46

I'd vote for Latin but would be glad of a beginner's introduction to Greek, if others were interested...

Issy Fri 12-Oct-12 16:08:35

I agree with Sui Generis.

azazello Fri 12-Oct-12 16:18:32

A lapsed classicist event would be marvellous. I'd rather it was in Oxford (I live there too!) but was at Cambridge so I would be up for either. The colleges do lots of events and I think would be quite keen on doing something like this, especially if lots of alumnae would be going and might be persuaded to donate

Latin for me please!

Issy Fri 12-Oct-12 16:59:21

OK. I spoke to Conference Oxford. This is a university appointed service that will conduct a free venue search on our behalf. We provide them with a rough number of participants (e.g. 20-25), number of bedrooms (generally single or twin but not double), meals required, number and duration of seminar rooms, a date range and a contact person. Conference Oxford circulates those details amongst all the colleges and the colleges come back directly to the contact with specific proposals. Simples.

There's only a small number of colleges that can accommodate children or babies. Something to do with licensing and insurance I think.

If we're serious about this I think this we need at least a 'Logistics Director' to liaise with the college as a venue and a 'Program Director' who will sort out speakers/tutors.

I would tentatively volunteer myself as Logistics Director, provided we don't have to make decisions by consensus. Looking at the kerfuffle for the average Mnet meet up, I think this would only work if we plan it like a real conference: you decide you want to go based on the program and venue (an Oxford college) and then you turn up and roll with the punches!

SirBoobAlot Fri 12-Oct-12 17:30:18

This is very exciting grin

I'm happy to help with arrangements, but I don't drive, so would only be able to help via email or phone. Good work, Issy!

I'd be happy with anything really on a programs basis, though I speak / read no Latin blush

notnowImreading Fri 12-Oct-12 18:55:54

That sounds so lovely. I'd be happy to do easy Latin refresher lessons (up to GCSE, as that's what I've taught most recently) but would love a refresher class in Greek. I used to be brilliant at Greek (smug) but have forgotten almost every word. How about a Loeb session of Bacchae or Medea?

TunipTheVegemal Fri 12-Oct-12 18:59:59

Do you think we need teachers for all of it or if you put a small group of keen adults who used to be good at classics, in a room with a text and a translation, they'll be able to figure it out?
If there are enough of us then we could have Latin and Greek in parallel.
Having initially wanted to just do Latin, all this talk of Euripides is making me yearn for Greek. The idea of a bunch of MNers getting together to read Medea makes me laugh (Leave the bastard!)

SirBoobAlot Fri 12-Oct-12 19:01:55

Tunip I was just thinking the same thing grin

LineRunner Fri 12-Oct-12 19:02:59

The Medea Club.

notnowImreading Fri 12-Oct-12 19:04:32

I agree, actually - we probably don't need any teachers. Why not just get everyone to dig out all their old dictionaries and grammars and texts so we can all have asthma attacks share resources.

The more I think about it, the better Euripides sounds - Medea or Women of Troy might be quite mumsnetty (or book six of the Odyssey where Nausicaa gets distracted from doing the laundry by naked Odysseus in the bushes).

I have a cupboard at work full of Cambridge Latin Course books that I could bring along.

SirBoobAlot Fri 12-Oct-12 19:05:54

Can anyone recommend a basics self teach ancient Greek book, in that case? I have a lot of them in translation but don't want to be the only tit not able to read it in original blush grin

TunipTheVegemal Fri 12-Oct-12 19:06:50

I think we need teachers a bit, to get us going and jolly us along a bit. I would love an initial grammar revision class, for instance.

notnowImreading Fri 12-Oct-12 19:16:03

If you're anything like me, you won't be able to read it in the original at first (I had a look the other day when this thread started and simply can't do it anymore) - I think it'll be quite laborious, looking up every other (or just every) word. Maybe read in translation and just do gobbets in Greek, rather than full text? Oh, it will be so lovely smile.

SirBoobAlot Fri 12-Oct-12 19:20:32

Well I taught myself to read hieroglyphics, so it might take me a while, but would really like to get to grips with both Greek and Latin. I always wanted to, this has just made me think about it all again!

azazello Fri 12-Oct-12 19:29:30

SirBoob- I remember the JACT learning Greek books are very good.

I'd quite like a sort if book club thing- reading a Latin or Greek text and then talking about it but with someone who actually really knows what they're talking about. I still remember the mind-blowing lectures from Mary Beard and Philip Hardie at University. It would be very satisfying to do something like that!

I guess we might also want a nice dinner and possibly some wine.

Guided tour of some bits of the Ashmolean?

dotty2 Fri 12-Oct-12 19:45:21

Just spotted this thread - can I say hello? My name is dotty and I am a lapsed classicist. (Oxford, joint honours, early 1990s - more specific and I might out myself). I recently attempted to translate some obscure Renaissance Latin text for a colleague but gave up because it was too hard and had taken me hours and hours to do a few pages. I have thought about offering to run a primary Latin after school club at my DDs school but am too nervous in case no one came and/or the other parents thought I was barking.

TunipTheVegemal Fri 12-Oct-12 20:30:49

Dotty I was Oxford early 90s too, we might know each other.

SirBoobAlot Fri 12-Oct-12 20:46:21

Dotty you should! I'd be over the moon if that was offered when DS was at primary school age. Kids are always more enthusiastic than adults about dead languages, I think.

funchum8am Sat 13-Oct-12 01:12:36

Great work for contactind Oxford issy sounds like it can be done very professionally. Maybe if we agree a rough programme of what we want to do, then use our pool of contacts to try and get the best university people we can eg Mary Beard etc.

I LOVE the idea of an MN group reading Medea!!! (who would we want to get in for that? Is there a Euripides expert out there?)

I could do a beginners' Greek class. We could make fairly swift progress if people had all done Latin previously.

Flosshilde Sat 13-Oct-12 22:22:40

Hello all, I would tentatively like to join. I only have GCSE Latin (albeit an A* grin) and did a bit of Greek at school as well at a lunchtime club. All nearly 20 years ago now. I loved it though and regret not taking A level Latin, instead opting for more 'sensible' choices.

I will be on maternity leave next summer so this is exactly the sort of thing I need to keep me sane. But it does mean I will need to bring a small baby along, likely to still be EBF.

Can we avoid Caecilius' death completely though as it still has the capacity to make me sob all these years later...

LineRunner Sat 13-Oct-12 22:41:51

Hello, Floss, like you I 'gave up' Latin for other subjects but luckily was able to study it later.

MrsShrek3 Sat 13-Oct-12 22:48:40

I'm like grin and shock at discovering this.... Can I come in please? I did A level Classics with post- o-level Latin and a small dabble of Greek now I fear forgotten, owing to extensive neglect. I've only read the last couple of pages of posts, must read more...

notnowImreading Sat 13-Oct-12 22:50:06

Floss - spoiler alert! Naughty.

ravenAK Sat 13-Oct-12 22:59:31

oooh, can I join in too? Classics grad, now teach Latin to GCSE (but not this year, grrrr).

Flosshilde Sat 13-Oct-12 23:02:57

Sorry notnow didn't think! blush

Can the more advanced of you recommend a few things to read in translation so I can start getting into it? I have been into Blackwells in Cambridge many a time and seen all the Loebs but never known where to start.

SirBoobAlot Sat 13-Oct-12 23:04:29

Raven, you can teach me if you want grin

funchum8am Sun 14-Oct-12 03:06:44

I was in Oxford yesterday and met up with my tutor and he is happy to come along. Thinks the idea of a mumsnet classics weekend is brilliant. He is an expert in Latin love elegy, Ovid and Greek/Hellenistic verse but also great on Virgil. He is also in charge of the college wine cellar! I said when we have dates organised i'll let him know, hope that is ok.

SuiGeneris Sun 14-Oct-12 11:23:42

funchum, that's brilliant. Love elegies and Virgil would both be something I'd be interested in: maybe we could try and organise a reading using the proper metric rhythms? It is something that I always found fascinating but know little about as, unfortunately, it was outside our syllabus (prosody and metric reading, that is, Virgil was def in).

dotty2 Mon 15-Oct-12 10:08:51

Tunip - umm. Maybe. I didn't do LitHum, though but one of the Classics and something courses. What about you? (Am slightly nervous of mixing RL and MN, as you can probably tell.)

I am finishing a PhD this year and (I suspect) will be unemployed next year so maybe an after school Latin club might be just the thing.

funchum8am Mon 15-Oct-12 23:40:50

dotty2 I have been thinking recently about setting up a business providing classics education for schools with no classics teachers. I can't do it myself as I don't want to give up teaching but I think there could be a market for someone who goes to schools to do both regular after school or lunchtime classes, and one-off sessions or days for schools who want to dabble. Maybe you could look into that next year?

suigeneris I am sure my tutor could sort out a reading - not sure whether to name him here or not! But he was definitely interested. He hosted a Classics in Comprehensives conference I helped organise last year, and is very generous with his time.

dotty2 Tue 16-Oct-12 09:58:09

funchum8am - I'm not sure my Latin and Greek are good enough any more, but it's something to think about. I work in a completely different academic field now but recently read a sociology work for my PhD that referenced a work by my old classics tutor from Oxford and felt I had finally completed the circle. It was very satisfying.

WingDefence Mon 22-Oct-12 11:11:23

Hi all - how are the plans coming along? Sorry I've not been on here for a week or so!

I would love a grammar refresher as well smile

Floss I'm due to have DC2 early next April so that'll be two of us!

funcham that's great that you've already sounded someone out. thanks

I also popped on here to share this really interesting story on the BBC website.

I did a module on Indo-European at uni and it was fascinating - wouldn't it be great to get involved in this project online?

WingDefence Thu 01-Nov-12 16:09:30

Have you all seen that MN Academy has beaten us to it with this Latin with Mary Beard course...?

And 'only' 199

perceptionreality Thu 01-Nov-12 16:18:41

I studied Latin, NT Greek and Class Civ - so technically a lapsed classicist I guess.

RillaBlythe Thu 08-Nov-12 10:25:38

Only A level Latin here, but I love the idea of a refresher weekend!

Bilbobagginstummy Sat 10-Nov-12 18:20:56

<sneaks in, not a classicist - did GCSE Latin though>

I saw fozzleyplum mentioned Mr Hammond. He taught me Latin, too though sadly retired before I started the GCSE course. Quite unforgettable!
I still recall Latin fundays, the people who got six in their Latin tests, the Father Brown stories and the remarkable number of Gertrudes and Claribels there were in the form.

<runs away>

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now