Classics news: bad and good
I am told of bad news from Scotland, where the Scottish Qualifications Authority looks as if it wants to axe Classical Greek on the grounds of low uptake. You can access the arguments via a pdf link to the 'overview' here. If you want to object, then you can email Michael Russell ([email protected]) or go the the Have Your Say section of the SQA website. Needless to say, this limits the opportunities of keen young classicists in Scottish Schools (and what an insult to the tradition of Scottish Classics).
Just as bad is the news from France, as Michael Bulley reported a week or so ago.
But classicists can be too gloomy, and they do tend to love predicting their own demise. and indeed there is some good news on the horizon.
For a start there is the Golden Sponge Stick competition hosted by Burgess Hill school, for a short story by a school student about ancient Rome. The sponge stick, as you will know, is what Romans used to wipe their bottoms.
Then, let me give a plug to the events that I have been coordinating at the Cheltenham Literary Festival in early October. Lots of classical goodies, from Kevin MacDonald and Maria Wyke and me talking about Kevin's new film The Eagle of the Ninth, through our version of the ancient Booker Prize (with Lindsey Davis, Germaine Greer, Natalie Haynes and Peter Stothard pitching their favourite classical text) and another event chaired by Charlotte Higgins to choose a favourite classical heroine, to a really up close look at a poem or two in Latin. That's the big experiment of the festival: a session on Catullus' "Odi et amo" and Horace's Plancus Ode (with me, Stothard and Llew Morgan). Do come -- you need only know two words of Latin to follow what we say..
But that's not all. We will soon get fed up with the idea that we are celebrating the 2500th anniversary of the Battle of Marathon...but some celebrations look more interesting than others. I like the look of this one.