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Coming to Oxford

15th June 2019


The Song of Arms

and a Man


Details and preview


Tickets and location


Following performances in Gloucester and Bristol, this ancient story of a refugee leading his people from the east is coming to the University of Oxford on 15th June 2019.


 See preview with Emma Kirkby as Juno


    The Song of Arms and a Man tells the story of Aeneas’ escape from Troy, his stay with Dido and his struggle to fulfil his destiny as founder of Rome. These readings from Virgil's Aeneid are selective, but tell the whole story of the poem, rarely heard, in a unique presentation of the original Latin verse, echoing the ancient culture of public performance of poetry.

     George Sharpley's adaptation of this extraordinarily musical poem is read by Emma Kirkby, Matthew Hargreaves, Elizabeth Donnelly and Llewelyn Morgan. The Latin readings are introduced with an English narration. This is for all, including those new to Latin.


Matthew Hargreaves


Elizabeth Donnelly as Venus





Next event


University of Oxford

The Song of Arms and a Man

Saturday 15th June 2019


See all classes and venues



Online supports

for published courses

The Complete Latin Course


The Complete Latin Course

Get Started in Latin

Get Started in Latin

Catch up with mulus

and his friends

Get Started in Latin - a translation of the story


Why Latin in cathedrals?

In the 8th and 9th centuries there was a renaissance of learning in Europe, and Latin was at its heartin cathedrals and monasteries.

At that time the overlord of a large part of western Europe, Charlemagne, had many new cathedrals and monasteries built. He instructed them to teach Latin, to produce more scribes to work in the courts and more priests to use the one language shared across Europe.

The Latin of Charlemagne’s day was a broad sweep of literature. There were liturgical and religious texts, laws, histories, administrative records (then, the clergy did all the ‘clerical’ work), works of fiction and poems, and also the treasured books of a much earlier time.

These pre-Christian writers – poets, historians, orators, storytellers and letter-writers reflected values of a quite different world; but they were too good to ignore. The great classical writings of Cicero, Virgil and Ovid, whose stories of mischievous gods and whimsical goddesses were treated as allegories, were copied and kept alive in the cathedrals and monasteries like Gloucester above.


Latin Voices

Why hear Latin?

Emma Kirkby reads from Aeneid 11: Diana prepares to avenge the death of her favourite, Camilla.

Matthew Hargreaves reads from Aeneid 6, Virgil's story of Aeneas visiting the underworld.

Martial's doctor leaves him feeling even worse.

Catullus to Lesbia:

let's live and love

Virgil's distraught hero Aeneas has lost his wife. Here he is comforted by her ghost: read by George Sharpley

Carpe diem, says

Horace to his girl.

More readings

Ovid's story of

Narcissus and Echo


Why would the ablative case help detectives solve a murder mystery?

Practise all the cases

with cartoon exercises

Latin Qvarter readingsAudio CD of

Teach Yourself Complete Latin

George Sharpley reads from Gavin Betts' course.

Grammar & vocabulary support


Verbs: all conjugations


Nouns, adjectives & pronouns


Useful vocab, incl. principal parts


Latin language classes, courses, readings, books and films