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Courses and events 2019       

One-day courses unless indicated


University of Oxford

The Song of Arms and a Man

Saturday 15th June

Details and preview





Gloucester Cathedral

A day with Horace's Odes

Saturday 24 August 2019





Fishbourne Roman Palace, Sussex

Latin for Beginners

Saturday 16 November 2019





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Courses are presented by George Sharpley

Latin for Beginners
Spend a day on classical Latin, with a look at Latin words at the root of English ones. See how the language works, enjoy some ancient gossip, learn more about ancient writers, and hear their work read aloud.



The Song of Arms and a Man

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

     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 the 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.



Horace's Odes
How unique a poet is Horace? He belongs to a well-established tradition of preclassical Greek lyric poets, he reproduces their forms, themes and functions, and even their metres in the Latin language. He absorbs literary mannerisms of 3rd century Greek poets from Alexandria and also from recent Roman poets like Catullus. After him come medieval verses which echo similar themes, and Renaissance and later poets who deliberately seek comparison (Ben Johnson, Marvel, Pope and others). He is one link in a long chain of lyric poetry. And yet he has an extraordinarily distinctive voice. None of his themes and topics are new (e.g. invitations, celebrations, goodbyes, praises, erotic desires, farewells to love, reflections on friendship, how to live, and not least what to drink). It is possible that there may be more poems lost to us which are close models. But somehow Horace stands out as one of the most original poets in all antiquity, for his humane, ironic outlook, his unpredictable switching of direction (scene, characterisation, emotional focus, tone, slipping into humour or irony and back again); and above all what one scholar called the ‘miracle of sound’: his choice of words, in their time fresh and colloquial, and their enchanting (and for us challenging!) arrangement.


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Latin language classes, courses, readings, books and films