The Classical Association in Northern Ireland

Convener :   Helen McVeigh

Our aim is to promote Ancient History and Classical Studies and to support education in these subjects throughout Northern Ireland.

The Association in Northern Ireland was relaunched at the culmination of the 2014 Summer School organised by the Classical Association of Ireland.

Based in Belfast, we are a branch of The Classical Association of Ireland.

“Never, with dogs on guard, need you fear a midnight thief at your stalls ”

(Virgil, Georgics III, 404ff)

We are dedicated to supporting Ancient History and the Classics so our emblem is the representation of a stylized hound signifying guardianship.The dog was a popular subject for mosaics on the entrance floors of  Roman homes and a recurring graphic motif in early Irish Latin manuscripts. Narratives featuring hounds were frequently incorporated into the earliest oral and written traditions of Northern Ireland.

Hound from the Book of Kells (7th Century Ireland-Scotland)

Illustration from the Book of Kells

The Roman senator and orator Quintus Aurelius Symmachus, (circa A.D. 340 – 402 ) wrote a letter to his friend Flavianus (c. A.D. 393). In this he described an astonishing event he had witnessed in Rome when a group of Scotti men came into the city accompanied by seven of their dogs. These creatures were so fierce that he wondered if they had not been transported there in secure iron cages.

“ut nunc septem Scotticorum canum probavit oblatio, quos praelusionis die ita Roma mirata est, ut ferreis caveis putaret advectos”. (Epistle 2.77) 


A guard dog mosaic from the Casa di Orfeo, VI.14.20 in Pompeii. (Naples Archaeological Musuem)


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