Friday, 26 July 2013

Panoply at the Association for Latin Teaching

This week we were pleased to make an appearance at the annual conference of the Association for Latin Teaching (ARLT) ARLT has been supporting the teaching of Latin, Greek, and Classical Civilisation for over 100 years. The conference is an opportunity for secondary school teachers to meet and share ideas, hear about new trends in research or pedagogy, hone their skills, and enjoy themselves. This year’s conference was held on the beautiful campus at the University of Roehampton, and Dr Susan Deacy gave a lecture about Roehampton’s rich neoclassical history and the opportunities that presents for teaching neoclassicism. Prof. Peter Jones spoke about women in Homer, there were sessions on Latin pronunciation and GCSE and A-Level set texts, and Prof. William Fitzgerald of King’s College London lectured on the Aeneid. There was even a performance of Medea the Musical, and an outing to the British Museum’s much celebrated Pompeii exhibition.

My contribution was ‘Teaching with Animations of Ancient Vases,’ a presentation outlining the range of activities that can be done in class around the Panoply animations. This covered using the animations as a springboard into discussions of related topics – such as The Cheat for the Olympic Games or Clash for the Trojan War, using the animations to lead discussions of specifically related points, such as Pelops for chariot-racing, and using them to link to more loosely related topics, such as Pelops for the background to the Trojan War. We also looked at using the animations for teaching about vases themselves, such as comparing the representations of horses in Pelops, The Cheat, and The Amazon (this week’s new animation). The second half of the session looked at storyboarding – which is a great learning activity. There are lots of example storyboards in the info pages of the Panoply website, and for more detail on how to include it in teaching, visit: to see a how-to guide in the annotated presentation slides.

It’s always a pleasure to hang out with classics teachers, and it was great to get some really positive feedback about the animations and some expert input into our plans for a curriculum-based teacher’s pack. Many thanks to all the teachers who took part!

Roehampton in the summertime

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Medusa at the Party

This week’s animation features a new exploration of the Medusa myth in a story by pupils from Addington School in Reading. The cup, or kylix, they were working with shows Medusa’s head on its shallow inside. The kylix would be used for drinking from at symposiums, and would be filled from larger vases. In this case, the Medusa face would be staring up at the drinker as he neared the bottom of his cup – a good reason to keep it well-filled.

There are images of symposiums in the album below, and visit the Medusa info page (in Ure Discovery - Medusa) for more on Medusa, gorgons, and the animation.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013


Another new animation up today. This week Pelops, as seen by pupils of Kendrick School in Reading. Check out the Pelops Info page for more on the Pelops myth, including some outstanding statues from Olympia.

Busy preparing for the ARLT summer school later this month, (that’s The Association for Latin Teaching In my session I’ll be sharing ideas about using animation in teaching. Please get in touch if you have any suggestions or questions you’d like answered

Wednesday, 3 July 2013


The second of eight new animations created for the Ure Discovery trail is now up on Panoply! The animation was storyboarded by pupils at Addington School, a school in Reading for pupils with special educational needs. The Addington pupils created the story and storyboard as an interpretation of an archaic Athenian vase. They also excelled in the creation of other artwork based on the vase, producing the majority of the pieces displayed in the Ure Discovery exhibition.

Heracles is shown on a huge number of Athenian vases of the sixth century BCE. It seems that the aristocrats who ruled Athens then associated the city (perhaps even themselves) with Heracles, Athena’s favourite (see the work of the great vase scholar, John Boardman, on this topic). This made Heracles popular, but once democracy was developed at the end of the sixth century, Heracles’ popularity declined at Athens, and Theseus became more prominent on Athenian vases.

Heracles remained extremely popular in the Peloponnese and other parts of Greece, and interest in him never totally died out even in Athens. Heracles remains the subject of interest today. Last month an international academic conference, Hercules: A Hero For All Ages, was held at the University of Leeds . A quick look at the abstracts in the download section of the conference site will show you the enormous range and depth of research currently going on into this great hero.

This is the vase used in the Heracles animation. It's really quite small, only about 20cm high.