Thursday 28 April 2016:

Classical Association Narrative and Lament in Aeneid 2

We were delighted to welcome Dr Helen Lovatt from the University of Nottingham. Dr. Lovatt’s talk on Aeneid 2 was an excellent opportunity for the members of the Upper Sixth Classical Civilisation set to revise the main events surrounding the fall of Troy as narrated by Aeneas himself.

Wednesday 4 May 2016:

Sixth Form Latin and Greek Scholars’ Symposium

As ever, this year’s symposium was a great success and was appreciated by the students. The presentations made by members of the department ranged widely over many fields:

literary, archaeological and historical. Mr Allen talked about the centaur in Greek mythology and its centrality in the visual culture of 5th century Greece, a symbol of barbarism, often used allegorically to represent the Persian invaders of 480-479 BC. Mr Evans talked about a Roman temple that he had visited recently at nearby Lydney. The temple was constructed In the late 4th century and it was dedicated to Nodens, a Celtic divinity who appears to have survived in the later figures of Nuada and Nudd/Lludd in Irish and Welsh mythology respectively. He pointed out how Lludd’s name survives in the place name itself of Lydney. Several model dog images have been found there, indicating it was a healing shrine; dogs were associated with such shrines and may have been kept to lick wounds.

Miss Chapman delivered a fascinating presentation on the concerns of Euripides’ tragedy, the Bacchae. She had produced the play whilst still at school: the cities of England had been convulsed by a summer of rioting and she found some disturbing echoes of the mob rule that briefly transformed the urban landscape of 2011 in the mass hysteria and fundamentalist pronouncements generated by the charismatic worship of the god Dionysus in Euripides’ powerful play. Mr Wilson spoke sensitively about the poetry of Sappho and delivered a fine reading and interpretation of Catullus 51. Mr Wright addressed the pupils on the subject of Masinissa, an individual most famous for his role as a Roman ally in the Battle of Zama and as husband of Sophonisba, a Carthaginian noblewoman whom he allowed to poison herself to avoid being paraded in a triumph in Rome.

Finally Miss Stewart gave a spirited (!) talk about magic in the Greek world: curse tablets, amulets, the “evil eye”. This was a subject about which the pupils were totally ignorant and which they enjoyed learning about.

Tuesday 7 June 2016:

Remove Latin and Greek Scholars’ Field Trip to Caerwent and Caerleon.

Not many people realise that two of the most important Roman sites in the UK are to be found just over the Severn Bridge and close to the city of Newport. Caerleon was an important legionary base, home to the second Augustan legion that completed the conquest of Wales in the 70s AD. Although much of the site lies beneath the modern day village, one can still view the largest amphitheatre in Britain as well as the legionary baths. Pupils enjoyed the opportunity of translating the Latin inscriptions from the many tombstones on display in the museum. Meanwhile, Caerwent possesses some of the best preserved Roman fortifications anywhere in northern Europe – we walked around the town walls in the company of Mr Wright who enthused about their construction. Returning to Cheltenham we stopped at Tintern in the beautiful Wye Valley and enjoyed an ice cream and a cup of tea.

Tuesday 28 June 2016:

Wilson Challenge

We had 13 Sixth form entries for the Senior round of the Wilson Challenge – each was charged with investigating a work of art or building from Classical antiquity that has been lost to us; each participant had to explain its significanceto a demanding panel of judges that was composed of Mr Wilson himself, Miss Hildick-Smith, Miss Stewart and Mr Wilkes. The range of the pupils’ explorations was impressive and we were treated to presentations on The Colossus of Rhodes, the Library of Alexandria and, inter alia,the lost city of Heracleion. The winning presentations were from the following:

1st Patrick Coniam on a highly original take on the Venus de Milo

2nd Dominic McClaran for his investigation into the Antikythera Mechanism

3rd= Beth Leishman on the Library of Alexandria and Eliot Tottman on the statue of Zeus at Olympia