CANI4Schools: Events and Resources
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.
The Open University and the Classical Association in Northern Ireland were extremely proud to host their joint Greek Tragedy and Epic for Schools event in Queen’s University, Belfast.
After a welcome and introduction from Dr John Curran (QUB/CANI) and Dr Janice Holmes of the Open University, Dr Laura Swift (OU) entertained and educated with her talk ‘Sophocles, Heaney and the Manipulation of Myth.’
From how the “vested emotional interest” in Greek myth is perhaps best displayed today in ‘fan-fiction’ through the terrible opening night of Phrynichus’ The Capture of Miletus to Alfred Hitchcock’s film-making advice for adding suspense to an otherwise boring conversation by putting a ticking time-bomb under the table, Dr Swift presented the “familiar but flexible” nature of Greek myth.
Dr Swift highlighted how receptions of the title character in Sophocles’ play Antigone and her opponent Creon can change. Most appropriately given the surroundings, it was the adaptation of Seamus Heaney that drew much attention, in particular his depiction of Creon, the seeming “ideal politician” who slides into paranoid tyranny under the guise of patriotism – an ancient rendition of George W Bush and the Patriot Act: the corruption of power at work once more.
Dr William Allan (University College, Oxford) followed up with a look at the frequently unheroic Homeric Hero, ranging from Achilles the “touchy psychopath,” the honourable death-seeking Hector, the Cyclopean cheese-stealing Odysseus to the modern day Batman vs Superman.
Dr Allan demonstrated that the hero of Homeric tradition could not only fight well but could be expected to speak and think well, but with the proviso that Greek heroes were and indeed are only interesting when they failed to live up to these ideals. For every glorious victory in combat, tremendous feat of endurance or skill, eloquent speech or ingenious Trojan Horse plot, there was a less than heroic catastrophe – Achilles got his friends killed through his own haughty stubbornness; Hector doomed his own city through his need for a gory, honourable death; Odysseus, for all his smarts, got many of his men killed through his own stupidity and selfishness while Batman and Superman went to war over a misunderstanding that would have been simply fixed through a brief conversation.
We at CANI were thrilled by the numbers of schools represented in the audience, all keen to bolster their knowledge and understanding of tragedy and epic poetry by listening to and conversing with two such prominent classicists as our speakers. It demonstrates that interest in the Classics continues to be strong across Northern Ireland and beyond.
As Dr Curran said in his introduction to the event, this was kind of event encapsulated the two main raisons d’être of the Classical Association in Northern Ireland – promoting the Classics and providing help to schools, so for so many to show their interest by attending is a great boon to the aims of CANI.
CANI would also like to thank not just Dr Swift and Dr Allan for taking the time out of their busy schedules to travel to our shores to present their excellent, thought-provoking talks and to all the attendees for making the event such a success, but also Janice Holmes, Jennifer Shepherd and the Open University in Ireland who did so much to make this great event happen.
Dr Peter Crawford
For more photos and a couple of taster videos from this tremendous event over in our Greek Tragedy and Epic for Schools Gallery
Greek Tragedy and Epic For Schools
The Classical Association in Northern Ireland and The Open University are delighted to present two lectures on Greek Tragedy and Epic for 6th form students of Classics, Classical Studies and English Literature
Friday 15th April
The Peter Froggatt Centre, room 02/017
Queen’s University, Belfast
1.15 – 2.00: ‘Greek tragedy and the manipulation of myth’ (Dr Laura Swift)
2.15 – 3.00: ‘The Homeric hero’ (Dr William Allan)
**PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS A SEPARATE EVENT TO THE Exploring Greek Literature: Epic and Tragedy EVENT AT STRANMILLIS COLLEGE 11am-1pm
EVERYONE IS WELCOME TO EITHER (OR BOTH!)**
Dr Laura Swift (The Open University)
A Classics graduate of the University of Oxford, Dr Swift’s research interests lie in Greek tragedy, in particular on the relationship between the tragic chorus and other types of choral song performed in Greek society.
Dr William Allan (University College, Oxford)
Originally from Fife, Dr Allan studied Classics at Edinburgh and taught at Harvard before moving to the University of Oxford. He is particularly interested in archaic and classical Greek tragedy and epic.
If you are interested in having some of your students attend this event, please, do not hesitate to get in touch with us through any of our contacts
‘The Barbarians and the Fall of Rome’
376 – 476
Natural Causes, Murder or Something Else?
This booklet focused on the last century of the Roman Empire in the west and the affect that barbarian invasion had on its downfall. By using primary sources – monuments, coins and quotations – and a few later pieces of art – the period is reconstructed in an informative and entertaining way.
· The introductory section provides a Historical Outline of the period, while a Source Criticism gives a brief breakdown of the literary sources used from Ammianus to Zosimus. These are presented with advice as to how they should be treated.
· The topic is then broken up into distinct periods within that century. These are then subdivided into sections about specific events or people such as Adrianople, the Sack of Rome, Attila the Hun etc.
· Accompanying each quotation and image is a brief Interpretation section, to encourage the student to question whether or not what they are being told in the source is a reliable depiction of its subject.
· Further Reading bibliography for those students and teachers who want even more depth.