SHEFFIELD CLASSICAL ASSOCIATION
Sheffield Classical Association
Last week I was lucky enough to be invited onto Radio Sheffield-The Rony Robinson show-as part of a feature discussing Robert Harris' novel Imperium which is set in ancient Rome and whose main character is the Roman statesman, author and philosopher, Marcus Tullius Cicero. There was an archaeologist from the University, one of the librarians from the central library and me. My interviewer was fairly benevolent during the ten minutes that I was on. For instance, we had some fun with a jokey email in Latin that an 'erudite' listener had sent in. However, one thing that Rony did play the devil's advocate about was that Latin was a 'dead language' and that only 'posh' kids learned Latin. Well, the latter isn't true-it's still taught in state schools (e.g. High Storrs) in Sheffield and all primary school children learn about the Greeks and Romans! The situation was even better before the National curriculum was invented. Latin (and Ancient Greek) were the lingua franca at Westfield School in Mosborough!
Also, the other plank in my friendly interviewer's question isn't true either! Semper aliquid novi ex America! America always comes up with something new! To paraphrase and adapt a well-known Latin tag! The man in the attached video clip totally disproves the assertion. Admittedly he has done his day job in a fairly rarefied atmosphere. He's been the Pope's Latin secretary-he translates papal bulls (and tweets) into Latin but he's just been made Professor of Living Latin at an American University. All of this is part of a growing movement in American education to teach Classical literature through the medium of the actual, so-called 'dead' language!
It's getting a bit of a toe hold here. There was some activity, I think, when the Classical Association met this year and the pioneers in the field (ARLT) have been practising direct teaching methods since 1912!
In conclusion for now-there might be more to come on this topic-it seems to me that Sheffield could be a ripe and fertile field into which linguistic seeds like this might be sown! Commilitones Escafeldienses, nunc est tempus dicere Latine (fellow citizens of Sheffield now is the time to speak Latin). In an increasingly divided world it might bring a degree of unity back to Europe. It would be very pleasant to hear from anyone interested in forming a Spoken Latin Group in the city or anyone who has information about similar groups functioning in other parts of the country. Radio Sheffield is always a trendsetter! Rony Robinson, gratias tibi agimus! (Thanks!)