NORTH STAFFS BRANCH OF THE CLASSICAL ASSOCIATION

Report for the Year 2011/12

As the Treasurer reports elsewhere, we improved our already healthy financial position although for the first time for some years there was a small fall in membership, with a death and 2 or 3 departures. We now have 58 paying members, all at the full £5. (63 last year.) Unfortunately our attendances seem not just to have settled at the lower level recently noted, but dropped again, with several times only a small percentage of members present. This is something we shall need to address.

It may have been a disadvantage that for the second year running the circumstances of our speakers meant we had only one lecture before Christmas. (We also had to drop the planned lecture on Ovid because none of our preferred speakers could help us this year.) In the Autumn we opened with a reading of Libation Bearers/Choephori in translation at our Chairman's house, following which a group of members travelled together to see the Oxford Greek Play performance. This was followed by a lecture at Wolstanton) by Trevor Fear (Open) on Seneca's De Beneficiis.

In January we had a play reading of Sophocles' Ajax at The Leopard, Burslem, leading up to a return visit by Patrick Finglass (Nottingham) to speak on the play, at Keele (Hellenic Society joint meeting.) The next meeting was a prose reading, as pioneered in 2011, of Cicero's Pro Caelio, in two parts, a month apart. This preceded Jonathan Powell's lecture on the speech, and Cicero as an Advocate, at Keele. This was the Roman Society joint meeting. We are grateful to Keele SCR for free use of the room for these meetings.

Our last lecture, in May, was by Jason Konig (St Andrew's) on the Ancient Olympics, especially in the Roman period. This was at Clayton Hall Business & Language College, to which we are again grateful. It is possible however that members do not want lectures on Summer evenings. Our annual coach trip, the preceding weekend in May, was as usual open to other bodies and was to Roman Cumbria, including Brougham Castle within the ramparts of a Roman Fort, and Senhouse Roman Museum, Maryport. We are grateful as ever to Andy Fear for leading us round both sites.

The Latin and Greek reading groups have continued to run very successfully, approximately monthly throughout the year, independently of the core programme.


Events 2011/2012

NO KNOWLEDGE OF ANY ANCIENT LANGUAGE IS REQUIRED TO ENJOY AND TAKE PART IN OUR EVENTS, OTHER THAN THE READING GROUPS

PLAY READING: (in English translation) of Aeschylus' Libation Bearers

7.30 p.m., Tuesday 15 November 2011
Priest's House, St Wulstan's, Church Lane, Wolstanton, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 0EF
this precedes the independent group outing to the performance in Greek at Oxford

Copies will be available, but please bring the Penguin Classics edition, if you are able

GROUP OUTING: Oxford Greek Play

A group of Branch members went to the Saturday 19 November, 2011, 2.30 pm matinee, performance of the Oxford Greek Play (with helpful surtitles). This was being performed under the title of Clytemnestra, the next part of the Trilogy of which the branch read Agamemnon last year, though usually known as Choephori (Libation Bearers). This trip was preceded by a reading for all members of the play in translation.

LECTURE: Dr Trevor Fear (Open University)

'OF ARISTOCRATS AND COURTESANS: SENECA'S DE BENEFICIIS'
7.30 p.m., Tuesday 29 November 2011
St Wulstans's (RC) Primary School, Church Lane, Wolstanton, ST5 0EF

PLAY READING: (in English translation) of Sophocles' Ajax

7.30 p.m., Wednesday 18 January 2012
Meeting Room, The Leopard, 21 Market Square, Burslem, ST6 3DA

Copies will be available, but please bring the Penguin Classics edition, if you are able.

LECTURE: Dr Patrick Finglass (University of Nottingham)

'MYTHOLOGICAL INNOVATION IN SOPHOCLES' AJAX'
7.30 p.m., Thursday 2 February 2012
Senior Common Room, Keele Hall, University of Keele, ST5 5BG
Joint meeting with the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies

READING: (in English Translation) of Cicero's 'PRO CAELIO'

7.30 pm, Tuesday 21 February 2012
Priest's House, St Wulstan's, Church Lane, Wolstanton, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 0EF

Copies will be available of the translation in the Penguin Classics edition (Political Speeches of Cicero)

LECTURE: Professor Jonathan Powell (Royal Holloway, University of London)

'CICERO AS AN ADVOCATE'
7.30 p.m., Thursday 19 April 2012
Senior Common Room, Keele Hall, University of Keele, ST5 5BG 7.30 pm, Thursday 19 April, 2012, Keele: Lecture 'CICERO AS AN ADVOCATE' by Professor Jonathan Powell (Royal Holloway)
Joint meeting with the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies

CUMBRIA COACH TRIP

ANNUAL COACH TRIP, Saturday 19 May 2012.

As usual we will depart by coach from Keele, about 8.30 a.m., returning late the same evening. On our outward journey, we shall visit the English Heritage site at Brougham Castle, near Penrith, which was built within the walls of the Roman fort of Brocavum. Admission is free for English and Scottish Heritage and Cadw members, so please bring cards if you have them. We will seek to raise enough money to pay for group admission for the rest, but this will depend on numbers, and we will decide on the day. Members are invited to bring packed lunches to eat at the castle site before proceeding to Senhouse Roman Museum, Maryport, on the Cumbrian coast. There is an extensive collection to see there, including many altar dedications.

The Museum is run by an independent trust, so again group admission will be obtained, if possible included in the advance cost of the day. There will as usual be a halt for more leisurely evening dining on the road home, at the Longland Hotel, Tewitfield, near Carnforth, where we halted on our return from our last Hadrianís Wall visit. Those booking will be asked to choose from a menu either in the morning or in advance of the trip.

      Exhibits from the Museum Exhibits from Senhouse Museum.

Final details of costs will be given with confirmed bookings, but these are expected to be about £25, exclusive of evening meal, depending on final costs of group entry. Further details will appear on this site before the trip. The booking form may be downloaded here.

LECTURE: Dr Jason Konig (University of St Andrew's)

'THE ANCIENT OLYMPICS IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE AND BEYOND: A LOOK AT PAST OLYMPICS IN THE LIGHT OF THE 2012 LONDON GAMES'
7.30 pm, Thursday 24 May 2012
Business Centre, Clayton Hall Business & Language College, ST5 3DN

This talk looks at the history of the ancient Olympic games, which ran for more than 1000 years, from 776 BC to roughly AD 400. It focuses especially on some of the ancient documents which bring the experience of ancient athletes and spectators to life, gives special attention to Greek athletics in the Roman Empire (first to third centuries AD), when the Olympics were at their peak. Nearly every Greek city in that period had its own athletic festival, in many cases more than one, and prominent athletes were international stars, travelling far and wide across the Mediterranean world in pursuit of successive victories. It also looks as the connections between ancient athletics and the modern Olympic tradition, covering the use of classical tradition in the 1896 games in Athens and the 1936 games in Berlin, and more broadly at some of the similarities and differences between ancient and modern sport.

Annual General Meeting

The AGM of the Branch will take place at the Priest's House, Wolstanton, on Thursday 21st June 2012 at 7.30 pm.

Latin and Greek Reading Groups 2011/12

The Latin and Greek reading groups continue to meet every 3 - 4 weeks at 7.30 p.m., independently of the general programme, for those who wish to read ancient (and medieval Latin) literature in the original, and to work together on deciphering the meaning, in a relaxed atmosphere.

Last year's programme and Annual Report

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