The Classical Association in Northern Ireland’s visit to Lumen Christi College
On Friday 24th February, Dr John Curran and Dr Peter Crawford visited Lumen Christi College in Derry/Londonderry on behalf of the Classical Association in Northern Ireland. They delivered a very informative and engaging talk entitled “20 Things Every Latin Student Should Know About Ancient Rome” to members of the Lumen Christi College Latin Club, other interested students, and senior staff. There was an impressive turnout of approximately 20 students and senior staff for this much-anticipated event.
This fascinating presentation covered a wide variety of topics, beginning with the mythological origins of Ancient Rome and the influence of surrounding cultures, such as the Etruscans and the Greeks, on the Romans. The two esteemed speakers moved on to discuss the Pantheon of Gods and religion in Roman society. A topic that generated much excitement amongst the students was the Roman Army, especially the wonderful replica sword that Dr Crawford used to demonstrate Roman fighting techniques, which the students found to be particularly engaging. One student remarked that “The best part was definitely holding the sword.” Another student agreed: “I loved the sword.”
Dr Curran and Dr Crawford then explained the expansion of the Roman Empire to the pupils, as well as the Punic Wars. Ronan found this particularly engaging: “My favourite part was when they spoke about the Empire.” Many students found the variety of diagrams and maps used in this section helpful and informative. The students also expressed that they thoroughly enjoyed the section on Hannibal and his elephants, with one student remarking that: “My favourite bit was the bit about Hannibal.”
The speakers then moved on to discuss the concept of ‘paterfamilias’ and the patriarchal nature of Roman society. Dr Curran and Dr Crawford successfully explained this difficult concept in a manner that was relevant and appropriate to the age range of the students present by drawing comparisons between the power structure of Roman families and the royal families of Europe.
Other topics discussed included slavery in the Roman Empire, Roman trade, and Roman literature (in particular, the Aeneid). Towards the end of the presentation, the speakers brought the story of Rome into a modern-day context by explaining the Latin origins of the spells in the ‘Harry Potter’ series, and the use of Latin names in the ‘Hunger Games’ series. The students found that link between modern pop culture and the Ancient world to be particularly relevant and interesting. One student commented: “I thoroughly enjoyed the entire presentation, particularly the references to pop culture and how many franchises derive from Latin.”
Photos were taken of the event. An article about the talk also featured in the school newsletter, which can be viewed at the following web address: http://www.lumenchristicollege.co.uk/newsletter
All in attendance have expressed their appreciation and enjoyment of the event, and the students in particular expressed that they felt inspired and informed by the presentation.
I would like express my gratitude to Dr Peter Crawford and Dr John Curran for devoting their time and expertise to come to Lumen Christi College and deliver such an informative and engaging presentation. Furthermore, I would like to thank the Classical Association in Northern Ireland for making such events possible across Northern Ireland, work that is both enriching and inspiring. I look forward to many such events in the future.
Latin Club Founder
Lumen Christi College
CANI would like to express our own thanks to Lumen Christi College, the Latin Club and in particular Ava Wilson for inviting us to speak. It was for this kind of event that CANI was originally formed, and with so many enthusiastic pupils attending and asking questions, it is clear that interest in the Ancient World is alive and thriving in Northern Ireland.
As this was part of the CANI4Schools initiative, these talks are now part of our list of available resources should you, your school or group be interested in hosting a similar event.