[Image: Roman Temple]
[Image: The Colosseum]

Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies

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Projects

Roman World Website for Schools

The Schools Sub-committee of the Society has proposed a fund-raising appeal to set up a new website for pupils in the second or third years of Secondary education who are studying Latin or Roman civilisation. The website will differ from the many other websites offered by scholars and amateurs by being composed by teachers with the purpose of teaching and learning in mind. Therefore each section will deal with an aspect of the Roman world and treat it in ways which will promote engagement for the pupil and particular learning opportunities. We hope that the site will reflect the spread and influence of the Romans across the Mediterranean and beyond, something which most websites currently do not, and use rarely-seen images from the resources of the Roman Society. In short, it is intended to be both scholarly and accessible. The British Museum has kindly offered its support in the use of images and assistance for this venture. For an example of a website which performs similar functions for pupils of a younger age group, see www.ancientgreece.co.uk which will be, in effect, its elder sister site.

Members of the Roman Society have watched disconsolately as the provision of the teaching of Latin in our secondary schools has been undermined. The decision of the Universities to remove the subject as a matriculation requirement in the 1960s, the introduction of the National Curriculum in 1988, and the importance attached by the government to vocational subjects and by schools to league tables have all conspired against teachers being able to offer and pupils being able to take Latin.

However, recent events seem to show a brighter picture. The decline in the number of entries for Latin GCSE seems to have been arrested; numbers for Latin A level are increasing; Classical Civilisation at GCSE and A level are increasing; Ancient History at A level is rising rapidly, and is being introduced for the first time at GCSE. Minimus continues to stir interest at Primary level in Latin and the Roman world; the Cambridge Latin Course continues to attract pupils from all abilities with its multifarious digital resources; the Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC) will introduce a new Latin examination for September 2009; the Schools Sub-committee has awarded grants of tens of thousands of pounds over the last six years to schools of every type which want to set up Latin courses from scratch.

It is to support the scholars of the future that the Roman Society should provide resources for the pupils of today.  Such a website, combining the authority of the Roman Society and the British Museum and utilising the skills of practising teachers, should become a very valuable resource and should be something which the Roman Society should be providing.

Please send your donation (and gift aid declaration) with the appeal form to the Roman Society (Centenary Schools Appeal), Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU.

 Mr Steven Hunt
Chair, Schools Committee

Imago

The Society holds an extensive collection of over 5,000 slides of buildings, monuments, mosaics and sculptures from across the Roman world - from the Antonine Wall in the west to Palmyra in the east, and from the Republic to Late Antiquity. These slides have been donated over many years and they can be borrowed by members of the Society to support teaching in schools and universities. However, slides are seen as somewhat ‘old-fashioned’ in the 21st century and recent years have witnessed a decline in donations and lending requests. Therefore, to commemorate the Roman Society's centenary, and to provide a fitting legacy for the next 100 years, the Society plans to digitise its slide collection and make this comprehensive and extremely useful resource available via the new website. Members will be able to search for images of Roman monuments and antiquities based on location, type or date, which can then be downloaded in a variety of resolutions and formats. The aim is to launch the image bank at the official centenary celebrations in June 2010, by which time we should have found a more memorable name to represent the Roman Society’s slide collection in the digital age (suggestions welcome!).

Dr Peter Guest
Chair, Archaeology Committee