The Reading Ancient Schoolroom welcomed just over 100 participants on 27th and 28th January 2016. Above, girls from Farnborough Hill school recite Homer from papyrus rolls with Emma Aston. Below, girls prepare to do those recitations by reading the papyri.
Participants also practiced writing on wax-covered wooden tablets.
Participants also learned to write with reed pens on ostraca (pieces of broken pottery); the ostracon below contains the Greek alphabet, and the papyri contain the Iliad (in Dryden’s English translation).
New this year were an abacus and counting boards for the maths teacher, who made Roman numerals far more fun than anyone had thought they could be.
Students waiting to enter the schoolroom learned how to write Roman graffiti with quill pens.
After leaving the schoolroom, participants were treated to an object-handling session in the Ure museum.
The schoolroom is staffed entirely by volunteers, and we would like to express profound gratitude to all the 2016 volunteers: Reading Classics staff Eleanor Dickey, Emma Aston, Christa Gray, Amy Smith, Peter Kruschwitz, Barbara Goff, and Bill Beck; Ure museum staff and volunteers Jayne Holly-Waite and Charlotte Williams; Reading graduate student Kate Cook; Reading undergraduates Katie Taylor, Charles Stewart, Charlotte Edwards, Alexandra Turner, Simone Knol, Freya Hendy, Clare Lehovsky, Tania Spicer, Lydia Walmsley, Tamsyn Rowe-Hellewell, and Anna Godsell; and Oxford Classicists Philomen Probert, Daniela Colomo, and Dawn LaValle.
Katie and Christa:
Emma and Charles:
Published by Hortensii
Hortensii is a group of people inside and outside academia who want to alleviate the difficulties facing PhDs without permanent academic jobs. (We take our name from the Roman Quintus Hortensius, who in c. 287 BC sponsored the Lex Hortensia giving civil rights to Roman plebeians; our photograph is of Benjamin Franklin, who would also have wanted to help.) We think that even given current unpleasant realities facing academia many positive steps could be taken; see ‘What to do and why’ for exactly what these are, but to oversimplify grossly our goals are both to reduce the oversupply of disappointed would-be academics and to make life easier for PhDs who choose to remain in academia without a permanent job. We welcome anyone who shares these goals and is in broad agreement with our proposed actions to join us and help implement them, and we ask people with other agendas to respect ours and leave us to it. We are not fighting against anyone or anything and are not affiliated with any movement, political party, or country. Nor are we trying to help individuals gain employment or to interfere in any way with decisions on who should get the limited number of academic jobs available; as we have different subjects and different views on what constitutes good academic work in our fields, we wish to avoid internal dissension by remaining strictly neutral in such matters so we can work together to make life better for a group that badly needs such help.
At present the contact person for Hortensii is Eleanor Dickey, a Classicist at the University of Reading in England (https://reading.academia.edu/EleanorDickey).
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