Collective Refresh

Classics Collective is having a slight make over!

It has been three years since Classics Collective has been bringing news about Classics to your Twitter feeds and we have gradually began to spread Classics news through Facebook, Google+, Flipboard and

I still remember the first days of the Twitter feed: trawling around for established accounts to follow, scouring the internet for websites rich with Classics news and still not knowing what the account should provide and who it should serve. I wonder whether we have quite achieved a perfect mix of articles and event notifications for the wider world of Classicists?

There really is not a dearth of content-sharing Facebook pages or social media accounts available. Classics Collective has the benefit of being “edited” but the disadvantage of requiring a committed editor. It has been a busy year personally and in an ideal world tweets would be more frequent and, by responding more immediately to any published articles immediately, more comprehensive.

Some things remain the same – we tweet most Sunday mornings and evenings and we have still tweeted from every Classical Association conferences. Other things change – job and conference adverts every morning are simply impossible with a day job involved.

Things will change too. We hope to have a new logo coming soon.

We hope you keep enjoying what we provide on the accounts.

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#CA15 at Bristol

It’s that time of the year again – the time where Classicists get together in the annual CA. Bristol is playing host to this year’s conference and I will add my own welcome to all the delegates and virtual attendees to this fantastic place – a place that I also call my hometown.

The official conference website gives much detail in terms of programme, round tables, meals, excursions and all and sundries. Unlike previous year there will be no digest of it on this blog and we trust you will be amply supplied with information on that website, if not via email. Nonetheless, to keep updated via social media, please use and follow the hashtag #CA15; the official twitter account of the conference is #CAConf2015. You may also wish to be refreshed with the guidelines for live-tweeting at conference.

Bristol and Classics

Bristol has a long association with the study of Classics from the level of Minimus to megala biblia.

A look at the staff list of the Department of Classics reveal many luminaries of our age on topics from Latin love poetry to Greek lyric poetry, historiography to reception studies. The department is situated uphill (though for many travelling from the hotel to the conference venue it may be hard to imagine a place higher) at Woodland Road, a leafy street of university departments which afford good views of the City Centre and the Great Hall of Bristol Grammar School.

The university received its Royal Charter in 1907. It received much financial support from Henry Overton Wills. Wills, the first chancellor of the University, was part of the family that prospered in its control of Imperial Tobacco, the warehouses of which can still be seen at the Gorge-end of Bristol’s floating harbour. The significance of Wills is highlighted in that the centrepiece and physical symbol of the university, The Wills Memorial Building and Tower, is named after him – this building will house many events related to the conference.

For many Classicists Bristol will be most the place where those orange and blue volumes appear. In fact Bristol Classics Press was an imprint of the larger Gerald Duckworth and has recently been acquired by Bloomsbury Academic. The imprint has a long catalogue of manuals and editions and it is still growing though nowadays its connection with Bristol is (I believe – do correct me otherwise) minimal.

Though not minimal is the contribution of Minimus to the Classical scene. Barbara Bell, its fons et origo, developed the course far south of the Hadrian’s Wall while teaching at Clifton High School. The series has provided primary students with a course more suited to their needs and is used in many schools.

Bristol in brief

Once the second city of England thanks to its (very tidal) port, today Bristol is a vibrant and cultural city. At the moment it is also the European Green Capital 2015. It is famous for its Georgian architecture, association with Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Banksy.

Visitors to the city can wander around the harbour or its graffiti-filled streets – graffiti that draws visitors and artists with spray cans from around the world. A good prospect of the city can be viewed from Cabot Tower on Brandon Hill or the Clifton Suspension Bridge; a good prospect of Brunel’s Suspension Bridge, prominent in adverts such as that of Lloyd’s Bank, can be found from the Clifton Observatory. Brunel has also contributed the fine train station, compared to a cathedrals for trains, at Bristol Temple Meads.

The maritime heritage of the city can be explored by the locks of Cumberland Basin. At the end of the floating harbour one can consider how the harbour used to be tidal (as it still is beyond the locks) and the degree of success Brunel’s floating harbour (which provides the same water level throughout the day) had in keeping the trade in the city. Now the major ports are at Avonmouth – the mouth of River Avon which flows through the floating harbour and a new cut. The harbour can also be viewed from the Royal York Crescent, sitting majestically at Clifton Village. The contribution of the city to Atlantic exploration can be explored from The Matthew, the replica of its namesake which sailed to Newfoundland in the 15th century; the Steam Ship Great Britain of Brunel sits on the harbour as a fantastic museum.

If you are more inclined on experiencing Bristol, try out its accent, smile and local and don’t be perturbed if you are called a “luvver”. Try some cider or pear cider and have a pie from Bristol-based Pieminister, or visit the largest buffet restaurant by the harbour. Fans of Only Fools and Horses may also wish to find pseudo-Peckham. Whatever you choose to do in Bristol, you will be sure to be welcomed.

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Augustus digest #Aug2K

Today is exactly 2000 years after day on which Augustus died. To mark the day there are many articles and events, the links to which have been collected below.

A conference is ongoing at the moment in Leeds entitled Commemorating Augustus. The blog to the conference contains a wealth of interesting articles and information collected together by Penny Goodman: Tweets and other links, as well as update from the conference, can be gathered from the hashtag #Aug2K on various social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. For Spanish coverage, the hashtag #Augusto2014 may be more fruitful.

The following posts, a mixture of Twitter and Facebook links, will appear with the most recent first (last updated 14:05, 20th August).

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A-Level results and Clearing 2014

Thursday morning will be full of dread and excitement for many of those who are waiting for their A-level results, dependant on which on which will be university and, depending on your perception on the importance of university, life. If this is you, a massive congratulations for the effort you put in to get you this far and we hope you get the results you deserve.

Yet getting A-level results need not merely affirm any existing plan you hold, nor is failing to meet the conditions of your offer a disaster. The process of clearing, applying for university places from results day to late August, is increasingly geared towards results holders truly matching their results to the expectations of each university. Increasingly, universities are more geared towards using this process to attract students who receive a higher-than-expected result.

Now this blog is, necessarily, an expertise in Classics. The advice below is personal, but we will provide the links to the relevant external pages, whose expertise on these matters are likely to be greater than ours. You should also see the UCAS official advice for results day.

Don’t Panic

The first thing to do when you get the envelope is be of equal mind – Don’t Panic! There is a possibility that you might be happy or sad after you opened the envelope – there will be people to support you there either way.

The results that you receive might necessitate action, or open ways to new avenues. Again, our advice is Don’t Panic! Time is indeed the essence – and since any decision concerning university is going to involve three years of your life you should prioritise considerations on that time. And if you are feeling both emotional and compelled to make a decision, it is best to let the mind settle a little and use the support network you have before thinking about the decision. There won’t be ounces of time for you to do that and managing your emotions is key.

A few things that might settle your mind is having those key information (contacts, web addresses) with you for the universities or organisations that you may have to contact. You may also wish to keep the UCAS track web link handy, since it is that account that will show you whether your offer has changed from conditional (CF) to unconditional (UF) – though that may not take place at the same time as the results appearing.

If your result is as you need and you’re happy with your future plan…

Congratulations! Whether your future plan involve a gap year, immediate university, apprenticeships or work, you should give yourself a pat on the back. You might want to thank the people who get you there as well – but they couldn’t do that without you.

If your result is below the conditions of any offer…

It may still be the case that your first-choice university (or your insurance option, if your grades are below the conditions of the insurance offer) will accept you. Contact them and check with UCAS for the status of your application.

In the case of your results meeting the conditions of your insurance choice, then you will be attending university there. Congratulations! Enjoy yourself for now, then start thinking about late application to student accommodations etc.

In some cases your offer will be accepted by your first-choice or insurance option, but with changes attached. You will need to respond to them.

Otherwise, you will need to go through clearing process. The clearing process will only apply if there are no offers currently live on your application.

Keep track of the clearing process using social media. Many universities and their departments have Facebook, Twitter and other social media page that will be advertising vacancies, information that you need to make your choices and steps to take. UCAS’ presence on social media (e.g. Facebook and Twitter) will also keep you informed. Consider also following hashtags such as #UCASClearing or #Clearing.

Don’t forget the option of taking a year off. With the results now at hand you can make decisions that are more informed for next year’s entry without feeling rushed. The other advantage is that your options are not limited the vacancies there are in each institution at the time of clearing/adjustment.

If your result is far better than expected…

You can always choose to use “adjustment” – but you may be quite happy as it is and ready to celebrate anyway.


Clearing/Adjustment for Classics and Ancient History

Here is UCAS’ Clearing page.

Here are a list of university that offers some form of Classics degree, courtesy of the CUCD. You will need to check with the university for course profiles, clearing procedures and other useful information.

Here is the Guardian Universities Guide’s table for Classics and Ancient History.

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Brace Yourselves: News From Amphipolis is Coming …

rogueclassicism never fails in covering developing story that require delicate handling and specific knowledge. Here the rogueclassicist tackles the Amphipolis news item.


There has been quite the buzz about ‘that tomb’ at Amphipolis over the past couple of days and what has made it to the press — both on the English side and the Greek — is somewhat confusing. To a very large extent, the coverage is much like that of last year’s (  Alexander the Great Tomb in Amphipolis? Yeah … about that), which I encourage everyone to read to get the full back story of this. The skinny, however, is that the tomb was found originally a year and a half ago and ongoing speculation (in the media, not from the archaeologists involved, it appeared) was tying the tomb possibly to Roxane and/or Alexander IV, and even Alexander the Great was mentioned. Yesterday, there were a flurry of reports, none of which added anything new (with one exception, which we will get to) but suggested ‘something’ was happening…

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Summer School Reveries Part I – Lampeter

This time in the last two years, followers of our Twitter and Facebook accounts would be treated to the inner-workings of the Lampeter Summer Workshop. Three lessons on most weekdays with the excursions, the lectures and the workshops, on which we tweeted, and the jovial conversations academic and non-academic which were only one such signs of how much participants have always enjoyed the annual summer workshop. This year would have seen the 31st annual Summer Workshop, which had always been at Lampeter with the exception of the initial years in Aberwystyth. We are not in possession of any official statistics but, in its halcyon days, the summer school attracted well over 100 people from beyond the Kingdom’s borders to the sleepy town of Lampeter. There were Greek and Latin classes for all abilities, even Beginner’s Latin through the medium of Welsh and Medieval Latin classes.

Mari Williams, whose elegy to the Workshop you can read in the most recent CA News (June 2014, No. 50), was a long-standing member of the tutor team. Every year she managed to give tuition in Welsh with copies of Reading Latin that is English. Her passion is indomitable, whether being the question-master at the quiz or leading one of the Welsh taster classes. Her friendliness is plain for those engaged in conversation with her over a meal. The way she epitomises Lampeter evident in that the “returners” (some attendees of the Lampeter Summer School did really come back year after year) always sought her out for the latest news. Though above it all, her direction and management of the play was probably the contribution that leaves the most lasting impression on actors and audience alike.

Speak to the students, returners or otherwise, and they will tell you the about the friendliness of the Workshop and the town and how much they enjoyed their time spent practising or learning one of the two ancient languages. The Lampeter campus has its own charm and proves an excellent location for star-gazing. The town compact enough to provide all the distraction necessary to fill those afternoons when homework really should be done. The County Show that often occupied the final weekend of the Workshop also provide a snapshots of farming life, though ordering at the bar always proved to be more difficult then.

The students themselves were from all walks of life. Some were budding Classicists or ancient historians who would like a greater knowledge of the language; some were researchers of other disciplines, for example Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, music, science, who would like an aptitude in ancient language to aid or improve understanding of their work; then there were those who embodied the true sense of the word amateur, those who enjoy reading Classical text and discussing it for the sake of it – and do not mistake those classes to be lacking in rigour. To me, the greatest strength of the Workshop was in kindling, rekindling or sustaining the passion for Classics and/or ancient languages for non-specialists, the true amateur. That students returned year after year was a testament to this.

It was a great honour to have Prof Rosemary Wright to address the annual dinner at Lampeter last year to mark the 30th anniversary of the school. It was interesting to hear how she started it all from really small beginnings. Perhaps what was telling, then, was that last year’s crowd was significantly smaller than that of the year before. As it turns out, that Summer Workshop dinner would also be the last. It was remarked that the only significant change of the Workshop occurred as Aberystwyth closed their Classics department. As we reflect on the closure of Lampeter’s long-running summer school, we should lament the loss of a community that fostered the amateur’s passion for Classics and that provided a real platform for non-specialists to Latin and Ancient Greek. Not only that, but also the role played by Latin and Classics in Welsh education, be it higher education or in compulsory education.

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Medea at the National Theatre – Reviews Collected

Photo (Helen McCrory) by Jason Bell. (Source)

Medea is now open at the National Theatre and will be on show until the 4th September. On the final day the performance will also be beamed live to selected cinemas. Here we have collected together selected reviews of the play and related articles.

The reviews here are all positive and reflects on the thoughts given to make the show tragic. Indeed a refrain is how the reviewer goes through an emotional roller-coaster as the play goes on and is rather relieved to be relieved of the emotional burden of the play at the end. Helen McCrory’s Medea is also well received: McCrory’s command of voice and depiction of the changing Medea garnered her high praise.

It is, however, not a five-star performance for all the reviews, yet the reviewers all have different criticisms. An odd situation arises where one’s reviewer’s vice is another’s virtue, whether that be the split-level stage or Jason’s (Daniel Spadini) performance. If you have seen the play and would like to share your review, why not post your comments below?

Reviews – Press

The Daily Mail, Quentin Letts – An exciting, fashionable production of a horrid play: QUENTIN LETTS reviews Medea 

London Evening Standard, Henry Hitchings – Medea, National Theatre – theatre review: ‘Helen McCrory is on exceptional form’

The Guardian, Michael Billington – Medea review – Carrie Cracknell’s version is a tragic force to be reckoned with

Huffington Post, Victoria Sadlery – Review: Helen McCrory Stars in Medea, National Theatre

The New York Times, Ben Brantley – Passions Running to Art, or Infanticide

The Observer, Susannah Clapp – Medea review – clenched and forceful

The Times, Kate Bassett (paywall) – Medea at The Olivier, SE1

Times Literary Supplement, Mary Beard – Domestic violence

What’s on Stage, Michael Coveney – Medea (NT Olivier)

Reviews – blogs

Classically Inclined, Liz Gloyn – Medea at the National Theatre

Goldfrapp and the Music

BBC News – How Goldfrapp put Greek tragedy Medea to music

The Independent – Medea: How Goldfrapp scored the Greek tragedy

Helen McCrory

London Evening Standard – I was terrified of taking on this role … I thought it would give me a heart attack, says Helen McCrory


Last update: 31/07/2014, 9:47am

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