Classical Association of Ireland Newsletter June 2020

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Photo (c) Selga Medenieks


Editorial Dear Members, I hope that this Newsletter finds you and your families safe and well in these strange times. Although the lockdown and ongoing restrictions forced the cancellation of recent plans, nonetheless these pages are bursting with news of our Association's activities. You will begin to notice new features in this issue (and soon on the CAI website) intended to widen our pool of contributors and coverage of all things Classics-related occurring in Ireland. You are warmly invited to submit articles and reviews for publication! Not a writer? Send a photograph instead! To kick things off, I have shared here above one of my favourite travel snaps, taken at the Greek theatre of Taormina, Sicily. I look forward to seeing yours! Selga Medenieks

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Classical Association of Ireland

PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS 2020 By CATHERINE WARE On 7 February 2020 at UCD Emeritus Professor Brian McGing gave his Presidential Address to the CAI. The Chair of the Association, Dr Catherine Ware, began by welcoming all the members and friends of the Association. As well as congratulating the students who would receive medals for their academic achievements, she reminded the audience that the teachers deserve special thanks as they are the ones who inspire a love of Classics in the next generation. She then introduced the Honorary President of the Association, Professor Brian McGing, as an outstanding teacher and one whom a colleague described as possessing ‘an irreplaceable and effortless mix of erudition, gravitas and irreverence’.

Photo (c) Joan Wright



Photo (c) Alan Betson Prof. McGing has been a mainstay of Trinity College Dublin, having studied Classics there as an undergraduate. After an MA and PhD at Toronto, he returned as a lecturer in 1978, becoming a College Fellow in 1989 and Regius Professor of Greek in 2006. He also served as Public Orator and was invited to become a member of the Royal Irish Academy (he was also a Humboldt Fellow and a Member of the Royal Flemish Academy). Prof. McGing was instrumental in the establishment of the Centre for Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies and served as long-term editor of the classical journal Hermathena. Prof. McGing’s research is wide-ranging, including the Hellenistic kingdoms of Asia Minor, Jewish history, the history of Egypt, Greek papyrology, Polybius and Appian. His books include a study of Mithridates of Pontus, the Greek papyri in Dublin (he has been very involved in the collections of the Chester Beatty library), a co-written work on ancient biography, a study of Polybius’ histories and, recently, three Loeb volumes of Arrian. As the Chair observed, there could be few people better qualified to speak on the topic ‘Why bother with ancient Greece and Rome in the 21st century?’ In a fascinating paper, Prof. McGing explored three specific areas: Classics and Irish identity, Classics and the Humanities (and the ever-burning question of employment for graduates of classical disciplines), and the relevance of the classical past to the modern world. He looked at the influence of the Gaelic revival on the perception of Classics in Ireland, arguing for a remarkable fusion of the two traditions:

Above: Prof. Brian McGing with Centennial Medal awardee Jane Brazil, and teachers Bronwin Ambrose and Martina Kent of Mount Anville Secondary School. Below: Prof. Brian McGing congratulates Jack Henderson Medal awardee Liam Flanagan of Gonzaga College.

Photo (c) Joan Wright


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Photo (c) Alan Betson

Prof. Brian McGing with Award winners Cara McCaul from Holy Faith Secondary School, Jacques Murphy from Gonzaga College, Liam Flanagan from Gonzaga College, Jane Brazil from Mount Anville Secondary School, Malachi Hannon from Gonzaga College, and Fiachra Oisin O’Caoimh from Gonzaga College.

Pearse’s funeral oration for O’Donovan Rossa, for example, is entirely concerned with Irish heroes but the rhetoric comes from Greek and Roman oratory. Citing Joyce, Heaney, Carr, and Longley, Prof. McGing showed how the classical world is part of the Irish identity. Nobel Laureates are all well and good – but what about jobs? Prof. McGing answered his imaginary critic by citing statistics: companies such as Google have learned to prefer the ‘soft’ skills learned by studying the Humanities to the practicalities of STEM. But, he continued, it should not be a conflict. The classical world can help us examine modern society. Drawing on his research into Greek history, Prof. McGing compared the workings of democracy in classical Athens with today and how the comparison might make us reconsider the modern division of wealth and the unaccountability of our politicians. The talk was very well received (and generated considerable discussion at the reception afterwards). Dr Maeve O’Brien of NUI Maynooth responded formally with thanks on behalf of the Association. There followed the presentation of medals for notable achievements in secondary school examinations in classical subjects. The oldest of the prizes, first presented in 1994, is the Jack Henderson Medal, which is awarded to the student who achieves the best overall mark in any of the classical subjects (Latin, Greek, or Classical Studies) in the Junior Certificate examinations. The Jack Henderson Medal for 2019 was awarded to Liam Flanagan of Gonzaga College, Dublin, for his mark in Ancient Greek. His teacher was Ms Aryn Penn.


The Centennial Medal, first awarded in 2008 and named in commemoration of the centenary of the Association, is awarded to the student who achieves the best overall mark in any one of the classical subjects in the Leaving Certificate. The 2019 Centennial Medal was awarded to Jane Brazil of Mount Anville Secondary School for her mark in Classical Studies. Her teacher was Ms Martina Kent. The ‘President’s Awards’ subject medals were instituted in 2017 for the students awarded the highest marks in the remaining classical subjects in the Junior and Leaving Certificates. The medal recipients for 2019 were: - Fiachra O’Farrell of Gonzaga College for the highest mark in the Leaving Certificate in Latin; his teacher was Ms Aryn Penn - Malachi Hannon of Gonzaga College for the highest mark in the Leaving Certificate in Ancient Greek; his teacher was Mr Daniel O’Connor - Cara McCaul of Holy Faith Secondary School for the highest mark in the Junior Certificate in Classical Studies; her teacher was Mr Ian Maguire, and - Jacques Murphy of Gonzaga College for the highest mark in the Junior Certificate in Latin; his teacher was Ms Aryn Penn. With the conclusion of the formal programme, everyone adjourned to a reception in the foyer. The CAI would like to congratulate the students, teachers, and parents for their achievements and to wish the students all success in their future careers. Our thanks also go to UCD, particularly Dr Alex Thein, and the organisers of such a pleasant evening.


Curriculum Review Did you know that in 1969 more than 7,500 students sat the Leaving Certificate examination in Latin, and that this constituted nearly half of the overall Leaving Certificate cohort of that year? These facts any many more (thank you, Margaret Desmond!) are included in the ‘Background Paper and Brief for the Review of Leaving Certificate Classical Languages’, which was discussed and approved by the Board for Senior Cycle in its (online) meeting in May. Once it is noted by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, this document will form the starting point of a long-awaited review of the Leaving Certificate courses in Latin and Ancient Greek, both of which have remained essentially unchanged since the 1960s. The review of Leaving Certificate Latin and Ancient Greek will conclude a full overhaul of the school curriculum in the classical subjects. This process has seen the introduction of a new Junior Certificate subject, Classics, combining Classical Studies, Latin, and Ancient Greek, which is currently in its first year of teaching. It has also led to the development of a new Leaving Certificate course in Classical Studies, which was approved last year and should reach schools in 2021. The review of Latin and Ancient Greek will begin in the autumn with the aim of producing a new Classical Languages course specification for teaching beginning in 2022. The new specification, to be written by a development group with broad representation, will bring the languages in line with the other new Classics courses, and it will take into account current developments in language teaching nationally and internationally. As always, the review process will include a public consultation, for which input will be sought from CAI members in due course. Martine Cuypers (Classics development group, NCCA)

REVIEW An Accessible Iliad: a 21st Century Rendering of Homer’s Iliad by Emer Jackson pp. 313 + xviii, 2019 This version of the Iliad by Emer Jackson, a graduate of NUI Maynooth and a member of the Classical Association of Ireland, is a much-abridged translation, aimed primarily at ‘the ordinary reader’ who may find many elements of the original too off-putting or distracting. To achieve this the author has omitted ‘irrelevant passages and repetitions, compressing long-winded descriptions and ‘brutally synopsizing those chapters which deal interminably with the ebb and flow of the fighting’. Almost half of the original is omitted. A good example is Book II, which omits much of the debate about continuing the war and the entirety of the ‘catalogue of ships’. But gone, too, are many of the striking similes, which vividly portray the feverish movements of the assembling troops. On the other hand, Book XXIV with its moving description of Priam’s encounter with Achilles for the recovery of Hector’s body deservedly retains its full impact, as it is largely uncut. The volume reads well, with considerable narrative vigour. But does this kind of editing do justice to the work? One remembers the experience of many students who failed to reach, or if they did, failed to respond to the impact of Book XXIV or the pathos of the death of Hector, overwhelmed after having ploughed their way through the many battle scenes. And I recall the practice of a former mentor and Professor of Greek who omitted all the battles when reading the text with his students. This volume may well communicate to these readers something of the essence of the epic poem and could provide a good launching pad for them to grapple with the fuller version, which is indeed the expressed intention of the author. For undoubtedly there is much to be regained from the original, not least in the sympathetic encounter with a society whose values, experiences, and modes of expression are so different from our own. Andrew Smith


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COVID AND THE BARBARIANS By PATRICK J. RYAN A few years ago in our Limerick CAI group, we read C. P. Cavafy’s ‘Waiting for the Barbarians’. Now an unseen enemy stalks the land, and in time to come we will no doubt look back on 2020 as the dividing line between the ante-Covid and post-Covid worlds. The Association’s Facebook page carried recently a link to an Italian remake of the Bayeux Tapestry (Corona Tapestry!) circulating the blogosphere, courtesy of Simon Ditchfield (see the front page of this Newsletter). Hic est coronæ virus qui imperat, indeed. ‘Barbarians’ is set in an unspecified location and time within the Roman Empire, but could as well be set in our own. There is a stifling sense of lockdown and isolation from the outer world – if indeed anyone is out there. Cavafy (1863–1932) spent all of his adult life in the Greek expatriate community at Alexandria. His Greek is timeless; it draws from all aspects of the language: Ancient, Koine, Medieval, Katharevousa, and Demotic. “Of course”, he said, “one should write in the language of the people, but the artisan of words has the duty to combine what is beautiful with what is alive.” (Bien, P., 1964. Constantine Cavafy. New York, p. 43.) You can hear readings on YouTube: 'CAVAFY Waiting for the Barbarians' (in English, read by Hari Politopoulos): watch?v=Ajy55VtGbzY 'Καβάφης - Περιμένοντας τους βαρβάρους' (in Greek): watch?v=tR1gzZml4ow

An excellent online resource for modern Greek literature is the Center for Neo-Hellenic Studies (Σπουδαστηρίο Nέου Eλληνισμού) at Athens, which also has audio readings of this and many other entries:


WAITING FOR THE BARBARIANS What is it we are waiting for, gathered in the square? The barbarians are coming today. Why is there such great idleness in the Senate house? Why are the Senators not making laws? Because the barbarians are coming today. Why should the Senators be making laws? The barbarians, when they come, will make their own. Why is it that our Emperor awoke so early today, and has taken his position at the great city gate sitting on the throne, in state, wearing the crown? Because the barbarians are coming today. And the Emperor is waiting to receive their leader. Indeed he is going to present him with a parchment scroll. In it he's conferred on him many titles and honours. Why is it that our consuls and our praetors have come out today wearing their scarlet togas with their rich embroidery, why have they donned their armbands with all their amethysts, and rings with their magnificent, shining emeralds; why are they carrying those precious maces today, beautifully crafted in silver and gold? Because the barbarians are coming today; and things like that bemuse the barbarians. Why do our greatest orators not come today as usual to deliver their addresses, each to make his speech? Because the barbarians are coming today; and they're bored by eloquence and speeches. Why has such uneasiness taken hold of the people, and why such confusion? (How serious their faces have become.) Why is it that the streets and squares are emptying so quickly, and everyone is going home in such deep contemplation? Because night has fallen and the barbarians haven't come. And some people have arrived from the borders, and have said there are no barbarians any more. And now what is to become of us without the barbarians? Those people were a solution of a sort. Constantine P. Cavafy (trans. CAI, Limerick Branch)


Photo (c) Christine Morris


The Classical play is a beloved tradition of Trinity College Dublin’s Classical Society. This year we performed and adapted Terence’s Andria, or The Girl from Andros. It was relatively accessible to a modern audience, albeit with a few outdated concepts and the obvious problem of men talking about and making fun of women and slaves, which we tried our best to deal with while remaining authentic to the Roman origins of the play. The plot is a classic Roman comedy: a love affair with a prostitute comes between a father, Simo, and his disobedient, passion-stricken son, Pamphilus; a devious slave attempts to navigate between the two and causes chaos, while remaining loyal to the son throughout to help him trick his father. There are very few women with speaking roles in this play, despite its title. The ‘Girl from Andros’, Chrysis, is dead before the action even begins. Glycerium, another ‘girl from Andros’, is never seen on stage, and her fate is consistently debated over by men. Simo wishes to punish Pamphilus for having a love affair, but he doesn’t have grounds to prove it, so he stages a fake wedding to his friend Chremes’ daughter, Philumena (who also has no speaking roles in

the play). Philumena was originally Pamphilus’ betrothed, but when the love affair between Pamphilus and Glycerium is discovered, this betrothal is compromised. Pamphilus’ best friend Charinus is also in love with Philumena, but his anguish is for comic effect as the stereotypical young lover: he does not have the privilege of being a main character and getting a spotlight shone on his happy ending. By the end, Glycerium is revealed to be Chremes’ long-lost daughter, and so she is happily married to Pamphilus, with the consent of both fathers (but never the explicit consent of the girl herself). The plot is filled with many tricks, counter-tricks, jokes about infant exposure, sleazy legacy hunters, strict fathers, and rebellious sons, who are give melodramatic monologues about their passionate love for the wrong girls. We retained much of the story in our production, except for adding extra scenes for Glycerium, giving her a say in matters that Terence did not afford her, and bringing in Chrysis as a ghost commenting whenever Simo makes snide remarks about her (which he does, often). We also added a joke at the end about Philumena not actually existing, because she was not

Photo (c) Emma Baer-Simon present in the play: the final scene (our own interpretation of an epilogue) showed Chremes putting on a long wig and saying, “Simo, there was no other daughter!”, while Charinus wallowed in anguish in the background. We wanted to highlight the silence of women in Roman comedy, but also keep within the genre and maintain the lighthearted, comic tone of the play. The complicated plot was difficult for us to understand even after months of rehearsals. For this reason, we focused on the memorable characters. The actors invented some of their own lines to add our own original twist, as Terence did by adapting Greek plays to suit his Roman audience, and to adapt the humour to something colloquial for our modern audience. As classicists we have to critique as often as we admire, and drama is a very flexible medium in which to explore this. It was very much a group effort, between audience, actors, costumers, and the directors: in the end we had performed a classic, recognisable to anyone who had studied it, but also enjoyable for anyone new to the world of classical drama, buzzing with the laughter of the moment, both within the theatre and outside in our world, with characters and spontaneous moments of comedy that none of us will forget any time soon.


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JULIUS CAESAR: TRANSITION AND TRANSLATION By TOM SEAVER Members may be interested to know that reading groups have been formed recently in various Branches to tackle a Latin translation of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (the groups have, of course, had to disband temporarily on account of Covid-19). I’m referring to Henry Dennison’s work, dating from the 19th Century, which may be acquired on line from Amazon as a Kindle e-book. Dennison’s is, of course, a prose translation – I mean, who would venture to write more than a few verses of Latin in Iambic Pentameters! Even Catullus didn’t attempt that! I don’t intend to quote the translation at length in this article, only to take some of the passages that most people would be familiar with in the original. Many of us will have had some acquaintance with Shakespeare’s play from our school days and we can be forgiven if we recall unhappy times, when we were required to learn large chunks of it in preparation for examinations. I wasn’t the only one of our group who remembered when, as a reward for diligent study, the class was taken to a presentation by the renowned Anew McMaster and his troupe of actors – in those days they toured all over Ireland. (McMaster’s repertoire included all the plays prescribed for the Department examinations, with McMaster himself always in the leading role.) Many of us reluctant Shakespearean students were glad afterwards to have been introduced to the stage productions. Julius Caesar was first produced in 1599 and is plentiful with sayings like ‘Greek to me’, ‘give up the ghost’, ‘the dogs of war’, and ‘the (most) unkindest cut of all’ that have found their way into popular usage. One mustn’t forget, of course, that Shakespeare relied on Thomas North’s translation of Plutarch’s Lives, published in 1579, for several borrowed words and phrases. The opening line of the play goes: Hinc, domum, ignavi, apagite, domum (‘Hence! Home, you idle creatures, get you home’ of the original). A very good start, although one or two of our group raised an eyebrow at apagite, a word masquerading as the Imperative of a pseudo-verb! This scene shows the Tribunes of the Plebs, Flavius and Marullus – both pro-Pompey and therefore anti-Caesar – ordering the rabble, who had come to cheer Caesar, to clear away, while reminding them of their political volte-face and of the gross ingratitude of their behaviour to Pompey, their former hero. Caesar himself, attended by supporters and accompanied by his wife, Calpurnia, appears in the second scene and is, it has to be said, none too gentlemanly in his attitude to the lady. It’s the Feast of the Lupercalia (celebrated annually in February). A soothsayer appears suddenly warning Idus caveto Martios. Caesar dismisses the warning:


‘He is a dreamer; let us leave him.’ Dennison’s Somniat iste; eamus is pithier by a long shot! The pejorative iste – that fellow! – shows Caesar’s disdain. We thought him arrogant there! Two of the main conspirators, Brutus and Cassius, now take the stage, with Cassius aiming to win the other over to his own point of view that Caesar is a tyrant and must be got rid of. Cassius had fought against Caesar at Pharsalus, the first battle of the Civil War, but had been pardoned and even promoted by his conqueror after Pompey’s death. Brutus held the office of Praetor, was a genuine aristocrat, a philosopher, and a ‘good man’, married to Portia, daughter of the famed Cato. Now, could Cassius win him over? ‘Why man, he doth bestride the narrow world like a Colossus’ is Cassius’ appraisal of Caesar’s power, which Dennison renders Quid mirum, mi bone! Ille, veluti colossus alter, orbem hanc angustum … superstat. And he goes on to ask Brutus why people like them are treated as secondclass citizens? The answer is simple: Non astra, mi Brute, sed nosmet ipsi inculpandi, si inferiors existimus (‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars/ But in ourselves, that we are underlings’). And, the good Brutus is won over. Caesar re-enters the scene after the Lupercal Festival Games and spots the conspirators walking along the street together. He studies Cassius in particular and doesn’t like the look of him! ‘Yond Cassius has a mean and hungry look;/ he thinks too much: such men are dangerous.’ Now look at the Latin! Cassius iste aspectu macro nimis aridoque est. Cogitat nimis. Tales cavendi sunt. It’s interesting that Dennison puts cogitat in front of nimis. One is reminded of Hamlet here, maybe: ‘There’s nothing either good or bad but thinking …’ As the plot thickens, other conspirators are introduced: Casca, Cinna, Ligarius, and a few more. Cicero refuses to join them. In the meantime, both Portia and Calpurnia are worried about their menfolk. Calpurnia has had a bad dream, which initially causes Caesar not to venture out to a meeting of the Senate. Portia, on the other hand, implores of Brutus to explain why he sneaks out of bed at night. What are those men she has seen outside with their faces hidden in their hoods – the ancient hoodies? – up to, she asks. Bravely she exclaims: ‘I have a man’s mind, but a woman’s might.’ Vir corde, viribus femina sum is the rendering, nicely juxtaposing ‘man’ and ‘might’ in the Latin. Brutus will explain all to her later! The ladies in our group gave a knowing nod! Caesar changes his mind and decides to go to the meeting of the Senate after all. He calls for his toga after listening to the positive spin put on Calpurnia’s dream by Decius. He is also strongly influenced by the latter’s hint that it would be joke-of-the-year if the meeting had to be postponed until Calpurnia had better dreams! Praeterea jocus et ludibrium esset, si quis dicere posset, Senatum dimissum esse, donec Caesaris uxor felicius somniaverit.


The third Act, which our group hasn’t yet read, begins with Caesar making his way through crowded streets to the Capitol – actually, to an annex of Pompey’s Theatre. (The Senate had been meeting here since its usual meetingplace, the Curia, had burned down in the rioting of 52 BC). He observes casually Idus Martii aguntur and the soothsayer, who happens to be standing nearby, immediately retorts: Immo, Caesar; sed non exacti sunt. Indeed! The Ides have come, aye, but not yet passed. The conspirators are among those escorting Caesar on his mission. Some approach him with requests. One of them, Metellus Cimber, makes an appeal that his brother’s sentence of exile be revoked. Both Brutus and Cassius add their pleas for Caesar to grant a pardon. But Caesar will not be moved, as he outlines in a speech arrogantly asserting his own greatness. ‘I am constant as the northern star,/ of whose true fix’d and resting quality/ There is no fellow in the firmament.’ This is translated Ego autem constans sum, stellae instar, quae Polus dicitur. This is more than the conspirators can stomach and they attack their prey together, dealing him thirty-three fatal wounds. The last one to cast his blow is Brutus. Caesar can’t believe Brutus could be a killer and utters his last words to him: Et tu, Brute? Tum cadat Caesar. (‘Then fall, Caesar!’)

The elation of the conspirators after the assassination resembles that of the Third Estate following the Fall of the Bastille. Cinna roars: Libertas! Libertas! Mortua est tyrannis! Cassius follows him: Quidam ad pulpita publica; proclament populo libertatem; servis manumissionem. (‘Some to the common pulpits, and cry out,/ Liberty, Freedom and enfranchisement.’) The Funeral Speeches, first, that of Brutus, then Antony’s, follow in the second scene. No need to translate Amici, Cives, Quirites, commodate mihi aliquantisper aures vestras! There are besides, many memorable lines, such as: ‘Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.’ I was curious to see how Dennison would handle ‘ambition’ in this line, especially as the adjective ‘ambitious’ occurs all of five times in this part of Antony’s speech. We have to give him credit translating it in a mere seven words: ambitiosi, ut opinor, durior materies est. Cleverly, he avoids the abstract noun and uses the adjectival form ambitiosus as a noun; he then uses ut opinor to get around ‘should be’. Shakespeare here is all but untranslatable. Antony continues with his speech after the citizens demand that Caesar’s will be read. I am reminded of my own school days when I read the first verse now. Those of us who had failed in the complete recitation of

The aftermath of Caesar's assassination in the 2007 production of Julius Caesar at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, directed by Jason Byrne and designed by Jon Bausor. Lighting design and photo (c) Paul Keogan.


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‘Friends, Romans, countrymen …’ were ‘out in the line’ and awaiting the worst! At this point, our teacher was approaching us menacingly, with cane in hand, and mischievously quoting what Dennison translates Si lacrymae vobis insunt, date lacrymis viam. Our execution duly followed! If we had tears, not many of us shed them! However, the teacher also had his soft side. Further on in the speech he won back our favour by asking with feigned seriousness – and we always knew the answer! – what terrible mistake Shakespeare had made in the line ‘This was the most unkindest cut of all’. Here, Shakespeare presents another teaser to the translator. But, can anyone do better than Dennison: Proh ictum omnium inhumanissimum? A casual reference to Caius Octavius, Caesar’s grand-nephew, and heir, is an important cue to the action about to unfold in the last two Acts. Act Four begins with the Triumvirs, Antony, Octavian and Lepidus, marking off those for execution under the proscriptions of 43 BC. Lepidus has to agree to sign his brother’s deathwarrant. But Antony has a poor opinion of him: ‘This is a slight unmeritable man.’ Levis iste; nullius pretii vir, says Antony. Octavian doesn’t agree. A difference of opinion between them presages events that will unfold several years hence. Meanwhile, Brutus and Cassius are having a falling-out in their camp, pitched near Sardis, in Asia Minor – it’s building up now to a military showdown between their army and the forces of Antony and Octavian – and Cassius accuses his friend of being involved in a bribery scandal. Quod in me injuriose egisti, Brute, vel ex hoc patet. (‘That you have wrong’d me doth appear in this.’) He goes on to explain how Brutus has hurt him. Brutus counters: aiunt te munera tua indignis auro vendere. (‘You yourself / Are much condemned to have an itching palm.’) The accusations continue to fly in both directions until a poet intervenes and berates both of them: Proh pudor! O quid erit? Dux a duce magnus amandus. Ne sit vos inter rixa. (‘For shame, you generals! What do you mean? Love and be friends, as two such men should be.’) However, this cuts no ice with either Brutus or Cassius. Bad news about Portia now hits Brutus hard: Mortua est. Information that the armies of Antony and Octavian are in Thessaly and on their way with hostile intent depresses him. He confides to Cassius: O Cassi, plurimus dolor cor meum aegrum facit. (‘O Cassius, I am sick of many griefs.’) To which Cassius replies: Philosophia tua nihili est. In other words: ‘Your philosophy isn’t worth a


Stills from the filming of MGM's Julius Caesar, 1953. Above: Caesar (Louis Calhern) and Antony (Marlon Brando) take a break after a certain dramatic event ... Below: Antony addresses his friends, fellow Romans, and countrymen. Brando received a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his performance.


damn.’ Further disagreement between them as to whether to stand their ground in Asia Minor, or to march to meet the enemy in Greece doesn’t help things either. Brutus is philosophical nevertheless and, in a discourse with Cassius, feels that they are in with a chance of victory – if they move now! Quippe in rebus humanis, ut in mari, inest aestus … This is the well-known passage: ‘There is a tide in the affairs of men …’ spoken by Brutus, the philosopher. Cassius is not so sure but reluctantly agrees to march and fight it out at Philippi. They decide to rest for the night, during which Caesar’s ghost appears to Brutus and confirms Philippi as the rendezvous. Quare ades? Brutus asks. Ut moneam te Philippis me visurum. (‘See you at Philippi!’) The fifth and final act plays out with the double battle of Philippi. Nothing light-hearted about the action, except, perhaps, Cassius’ dies natalis, which coincides with the day of the battle. In a rather pessimistic speech he confides this much to his general, Messala, but concludes despairingly: exercitus noster iacet, veluti in mortem designatus. This for Shakespeare’s ‘Our army lies, ready to give up the ghost.’ Another of Cassius’ aides, Pindarus, tells him to flee: abi, domine. But the game is up and he dies, by running on the very sword with which he had killed Caesar, with Pindarus holding the weapon. Says Pindarus: Iam ultus es, O Caesar, eodem, quo periisti, ferro. What irony! When news of Cassius’ death is passed on to Brutus, he insists on seeing the corpse and in paying his respects to the body of the friend he had bonded with in good times and

in bad. Among his departing words are: Ultime Romanorum, valeas. (‘The last of all the Romans, fare thee well!’) With that, he joins the fray and is matched with Cato, another philosopher, or at least the son of one! Cato falls, but not long after that Brutus himself is captured. His game is now up and, rather than fall into Antony’s hands, he commands his aide, Strato, to hold his sword while he runs on it, uttering his last words: Mi Strato valeas. Caesar, iam tandem requiescas, Shakespeare’s ‘Farewell, good Strato! Caesar, now be still:/ I killed not thee with half so good a will.’ We see the last of the action with tributes paid to Brutus not alone by his own men, such as Strato and Messala, but also by Antony and Octavian: Hic istorum omnium nobilissimus Romanus, says Antony: ‘This was the noblest Roman of them all.’ Dennison’s translation is faithful to Shakespeare all the way. Our members have found it rewarding to read the Latin first, before checking with the original. Patrick Ryan has been doing Trojan work in guiding our group. He’s ambidextrous, as well as being bilingual! Anticipating how Dennison translates some passages has become a sort of game with us, because he will sometimes translate a word or phrase in a way one wouldn’t expect. And who’d have guessed it! This makes the project a challenging but very worthwhile exercise. I hope other reading groups are enjoying it as much as we are in Limerick: we look forward to resuming our readings once Covid-19 has passed!

A scene from the acclaimed 1937 Mercury Theatre production of Caesar: Antony (George Coulouris) kneels beside the body of Brutus (Orson Welles). The play drew analogies between Julius Caesar and fascist Italian PM Benito Mussolini.


JUNE 2020


During these extraordinary times, when we can’t meet in person, we have had to find alternative ways to connect with others. Sporting events have been cancelled and other events, at which large audiences are expected, have moved online. The Hay Festival is a festival for literary types – think Glastonbury but without the mud, and with books instead of bands – held in Hay-on-Wye, a small town in Wales, for approximately ten days each May. This year the festival had to be cancelled and the organisers decided to move everything online. An online event might feel somewhat ‘less’ than an event in which the norm is consists of the audience, surrounded by likeminded people, and the author, right there on the stage, but I am sure I am not alone in appreciating the opportunity to ‘attend’ the Hay Festival in any capacity. Three wonderful authors, whose books take ancient myths and repackage them to make them accessible to non-specialists, were speaking at the Hay Festival. The first of these was Stephen Fry (above). I admit a strong case of bookcase envy after glimpsing Fry’s amazing bookshelves behind him. With a glass of rosé in his hand, and fashionably late (20 minutes), Fry read from his new book, entitled Troy, the third in his series of books on the myths of ancient Greece. He told the story of the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, the entrance of Eris, and the devastation that this foretold. He continued with the birth and survival of Paris, and concluded with the story of how Thetis tried (and failed)


to make all her children immortal. A Q&A session followed during which Fry confessed that, for him, the most touching scene in ancient literature is the description in the Iliad of the grief of Achilles when he is told of the death of Patroclus. When asked which hero might be most suitable for the current situation, Fry answered that, of course, it must be Asclepius the god of healing. I was delighted to hear that there will be a fourth book in the series, one in which Fry explores the returns home of Menelaus and Helen, Agamemnon, and Odysseus. Natalie Haynes is one of the most important contemporary advocates for classical studies in these islands. She has been a great friend to CANI, and CAI members might remember seeing her at the summer school held in Queen’s University Belfast in 2018. She has visited Belfast several times, most recently in February of this year to speak to and inspire a lecture theatre full of high school students. Haynes continues to write and perform during the lockdown, publishing weekly videos discussing poems from Ovid’s Heroides, and making regular appearances on literary podcasts. The latest series of her radio show, Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics, has just finished its run on BBC Radio 4. Her most recent book, published in 2019, tells the story of the Trojan War from the point of view of the women: those who were captured and those who were left behind. Haynes’ contribution to the Hay Festival involved a very impressive whirlwind re-telling of Homer’s Iliad, accompanied by ‘livedrawing’ from political cartoonist for the Observer, Chris Riddell (right). The UK was in the midst of the 'Dominic Cummings’ affair, and characters from the world of politics (including Cummings, Johnson, and Trump) made


appearances on almost every page of Riddell’s illustrations! Haynes’ wit and storytelling talent is always a joy to hear, and to watch the illustrations unfold was breathtaking. The winner of the 2020 Classial Association (UK) annual prize, Daisy Dunn, was the third classicist to feature in this year’s Hay Festival line-up. Dunn’s most recent book is entitled In the Shadow of Vesuvius: A Life of Pliny. I am particularly interested in her children’s book, Of Gods and Men: 100 Stories from Ancient Greece and Rome, because I believe we must catch potential classicists when they are still young: children adore these myths and legends and we should all be doing what we can to instill a love of these ancient stories in the young people we know. Regardless of whether these young people progress into studying Classics at secondary school or beyond, there is surely much to be gained from learning about these ancient civilisations. Dunn began by comparing the Hay festival with the city Dionysia: both are a celebration of words. She invited the audience to imagine they were in the theatre of Dionysus in Athens, and despite some sound issues, we were treated to stories from the Greek myths including a musical recitation in Greek from the Chorus of Sophocles’ Ajax. Dunn discussed characterisation and plot devices in such diverse plays as Euripides’ Hippolytus, Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus, Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, Euripides’ Medea, and Aristophanes’ Thesmophoriazusae. During a Q&A session, Dunn reiterated the importance of ensuring that it is possible for young people to read ancient texts in school, and that these works can be studied under the auspices of drama studies or English. She recommends Oedipus and Ovid’s Metamorphoses as excellent starting points. During the period of lockdown in Northern Ireland, my family and I have been lucky to continue with our regular work/schoolwork at home. My students have adapted well to online classes and that ‘smartpen’ my husband bought me last Christmas has been a life-saver (for those unfamiliar, I write with my smartpen on special paper and it appears on the screen). While we all miss the personal interaction which has necessarily ceased over these past months, we are blessed that technology allows us to continue to communicate by text message, phone call, even video-call, and that events such as the Hay Festival are accessible to a virtual audience, members of which may never have had the opportunity to experience them in person.

Classics Now – Hold the Date! Classics Now is a new cultural festival taking place in November, in Dublin and beyond. It will invite diverse audiences to explore contemporary artistic interpretations of the literature, ideas, and art of ancient Greece and Rome. Over a weekend, the festival will showcase the current burst of artistic and intellectual engagement with Classics by artists and thinkers, both international and Irish. In addition to five formal events, there will be a range of free events, including readings and performances in public spaces – art galleries, museums and libraries, with a number of events aimed at second and third level students. The programming will combine artists working in different genres and forms in imaginative ways – public interviews, discussion (both ‘live’ and online), readings, film screenings, theatre and dance performances, and exhibitions. Keeping a close eye on guidance for public gatherings over the coming months, the organisers aim to create a festival that will be a hybrid of digital and ‘live’ events, acknowledging that the digital sphere is an increasingly essential public space, post Covid-19. With funding from the Arts Council of Ireland, Classics Now is being developed by a steering committee with representation from the Classical Association of Ireland, Classical Association of Ireland - Teachers, and the Classics departments of Maynooth University, Trinity College Dublin, and University College Dublin. Classics Now will test new ways of approaching wider cultural partnerships, increasing audience impact, and funding, in the hope that more Classics Now projects will follow.

Helen Meany (Curator, Classics NOW)

Classics Now will take place in Dublin and online from 12-15 November 2020. Full programme information will be available from September, and will be on:


JUNE 2020

Photos (c) Joan Wright

CAI Branch News DUBLIN This academic year has been bursting with events, lectures, meetings and, unfortunately, some recent cancellations and postponements. In October Meredith Cutrer (UCD) gave a most interesting illustrated talk entitled ‘Late Antique Egypt and the formation of early Irish Monasticism’. In November it was the turn of Giacomo Savani (UCD), whose intriguing talk entitled ‘An elusive legacy: the rediscovery of Roman Baths in 18th century Britain’ linked in nicely with the Latin Reading Group's study of extracts from De architectura by Vitruvius under Giacomo's guidance. December saw Adrian Gramps (TCD) challenge us with his talk on ‘Love, Death and Time in Bion's Lament for Adonis’, complemented by the Greek original and English translation of lines 1-98. We welcomed in the New Year on 31 January with our annual Branch dinner, attended by thirty members and friends at Chez Max, Palace Street, Dublin, which was rather raucous maybe because it coincided with a rugby international weekend in Dublin, but, to the best of my knowledge, we all survived more or less intact (panem et circenses)! Some snaps above, courtesy of Joan Wright. In February we had the CAI Presidential Address in UCD. ‘Why bother with Ancient Greece and Rome in the 21st century?’ was the title of Hon. President Prof. Brian McGing's thought-provoking lecture. This was followed by the presentation to secondary school students of medals for achievement in the 2019 classical subject examinations, namely the Jack Henderson medal, the Centennial medal,


and the CAI President's medals, and culminated in an enjoyable reception. Unfortunately, the March lecture ‘People power: Classical Athens and 21st century populism’ to be delivered by Roslyn Fuller did not take place due to Covid-19, nor did the scheduled April lecture by Rebecca Usherwood entitled ‘How to retire if you are a Roman Emperor’. The venue for all the above lectures was Room K217 in UCD. The CAI Dublin Branch Committee met there several times during the year but the pièce de résistance for the Committee came in December when we gathered in Dominique Geary's home in a most convivial atmosphere, an event which made being on the Committee well worthwhile! Recent activities of the Dublin Reading Circles The Ancient Greek Reading Circle (TCD Classics Seminar Room): • In September Bridget Martin led with Sophocles’ Ajax, lines 485-539 and 578-595. • In October Alastair Daly was the guide through Herodas, Mimiamb 20. • In November Seán McCrum steered us through later Byzantine texts, including Theodore Prodromos, Poem 7. • In December we studyied, under the eye of Martine Cuypers, excerpts from Aelia Eudocia, Homeric Centos, chosen for us by Guy Walker. • January was the turn of Paddy Sammon with Acts of the Apostles 27:1-32.


In February Paul Corcoran led us through Psalm 23 and John 10:1-30. • Andrew Smith took to the helm in March with Thucydides, Book 2, 40. The session to be led by Alexandra Madela in April, on Hesiod’s Theogony, will now be held via Zoom (from Berlin!) on 22 June. The Latin Reading Group (UCD Room K217): • In October, Geraldine FitzGerald and the group worked through Catullus, Poem 64 (Extracts). • Alan Tuffery took over in early November with Horace, Book 1, Odes 11, 23, 37, and 38. • Later in November it was the turn of Giacomo Savani to bring us on our journey through extracts from Book 5 of De architectura by Vitruvius. • The New Year kicked off with Adrian Gramps leading us through Propertius, Book 1, poem 19, and Book 2, poem 13. • February saw Gearóid Ó Broin guide us through excerpts from Apuleius, Metamorphoses, the stories of The Golden Ass, and Cupid and Psyche. • March was the turn of Virgil, Aeneid, Book VIII, lines 306369, in the ever capable hands of Andrew Smith. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 circumstances, the April session had to be cancelled. It was planned that Joan Wright would lead us through Virgil, Aeneid, Book VIII, lines 675731. Similarly, in May Alex Thein was to share some Latin inscriptions with us. The Ancient Greek Study Group This group has been studying Reading Greek, Text and Vocabulary, and translating Homer's Odyssey, Book VI. For information on the Ancient Greek Study Group, the Ancient Greek Reading Circle, and the Latin Reading Group, please contact Liam Bairéad, convenor of all three groups, at

The Classical Association of Ireland – Teachers The CAI-T supports all second-level teachers of ancient Greek, Latin and Classical Studies through various events. Latin Day is an annual, full-day event run by the CAI-T for Irish Leaving Certificate students of Latin. The morning session includes talks on Roman history, Roman writers, and translation skills; the afternoon session takes the form of small-group workshops on unseen translations from Ovid, Catullus, Virigil, Cicero, Livy, and Sallust, taught by Latin teachers. The event is always well-received by students and is of great help, especially to those learniing Latin on their own. Geraldine FitzGerald

CORK The Cork Branch report makes for disparate reading this time, as it ranges from November 2019 to March 2020. With all that has happened in between, details seem totally out-of-date now. We were talking about an election in November and now, at the time of writing, no new government has been formed. However, to paraphrase one Scarlett O’Hara, ‘life goes on’! Monday, 4 November 2019 saw us welcome John Ware of the History Department, UCC. John has interest in all things military and the evening’s talk was entitled: ‘Legio Patria Nostra’. The foundation of Rome’s Imperial army was discussed; Gaius Marius was the originator of the guardians of the frontier. Prior to that, the army under the Republic was a citizen militia interested only in guarding its own patch. Once Rome conquered territory overseas, this citizen army was no good! Marius changed all this, and a long service recruitment began to take place, with soldiers enlisting for terms between twenty and twenty-five years. The visual proof of this is to be found on Trajan’s Column. Here we see the uniformity of the troops and everyone carrying his own gear. “There is not so much difference between a foot soldier and a pack mule,” remarked Josephus. We learned that the eagle became the standard of the regiment and the concept of protecting the colours at all costs was paramount. Clever generals made the troops loyal to them and Julius Caesar is a prime example: the XIII legion followed him across the Rubicon, and the rest is history!! Currying favour with the troops in the first century BC was no different to currying favour with the voters of today (an election, anyone?)! 2 December 2019 brought Dr Jeroen Wijnendale from Ghent University to talk to us on ‘Political Murder in the Late Roman Empire’. What do the number of murders tell you about a state? Well, quite a lot, so it seems. The biblical reference or law of Hammurabi of ‘an eye for an eye’ might sound positively Gothic in today’s society, but in ancient Rome it was a ‘lived by’ rule. Romulus murdered Remus, the Gracchi brothers met their fate and, of course, Julius Caesar was dispatched on the Ides of March. Not that anyone was counting, but in the first century AD the imperial body count was high. Out of twelve emperors, three were murdered, one was executed, and two died in civil wars. In the second century AD, it was a similar story. Out of twelve emperors, two were murdered, one was executed, and another lost a civil war. The list continues of the fallen, some of whom thoroughly deserved to be dispatched to the realms of Pluto. Murder, it would seem, in Imperial times was a tool for political purposes! On 3 February 2020 Dr David Woods from the Classics Department, UCC, spoke on ‘Commodus, Coinage and an Ovidian Surprise’. I am always fascinated by how


JUNE 2020

much information can be gleaned from a coin, provided you know where to look. A unique gold medallion of Commodus sold lately for £180,000, a fair profit on its original value in any language. Commodus identified himself with the god Heracles and is the nasty piece of work found in the film Gladiator, which (shock, horror!) is twenty years old this year. On the reverse of this coin, the letters ‘TSOF’ appear: Transitus Solis Omnes Fovet (‘The passage of the sun warms all.’) However, TSOF is in Ovid's Metamorphoses – so could it have been a political slogan? Another coin of Commodus depicted Fortuna Manens holding a horse. This is a rare species, as Fortuna has never been found with a horse before. Horses on coins usually denote travel, either the arrival or departure of an Emperor. What does it mean for a city if luck or fortune leaves it? Perhaps this coin represents an accident the Emperor Commodus had with a horse when he was almost killed. Nero, Drusus and Julian all were Emperors with near misses, so perhaps that is the meaning here. Our final speaker for the year, though we did not know it then, was Dr John Curran from the School of History, Queen’s University Belfast. John posed the question: ‘Was Judea Rome’s Northern Ireland?’ Similarities were drawn between Northern Ireland and Judea in terms of their rulers. The North was a quagmire for trouble and Judea was a good role model! A comparison was drawn between direct rule in 1972 and Gerry Adams, and direct rule in Judea under Herod the Great in 73-74 BC. The security forces and religion were touched on, too. Greeks planted themselves in Roman towns and brought their religion with them. This was a direct contrast with Jewish religion, similar to the Catholic/ Protestant divide in the North. One final comparison was mentioned and this was the release of Barabbas by Pontius Pilate in Judea with the release of political prisoners during the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 in Northern Ireland. During the course of the lecture, many similarities were touched upon, proving the adage that ‘History repeats itself’! Alas, our final two lectures of the year fell prey to Covid-19 and we went into splendid isolation. We hope to re-emerge in the autumn of 2020 when it is safe to do so. Thank you to all the Cork Branch members and the Department of Classics at UCC for your support throughout the year. Jennifer O'Donoghue

LIMERICK The programme of lectures mentioned in the last Branch report duly went ahead. On 23 October, Patrick Ryan gave us ‘Match of the Century! Certamen Homeri et Hesiodi’ (The contest of Homer and Hesiod). This was followed by a lecture by Dr Matthew Potter: ‘From Augustus to Nero: the Julio-Claudian Emperors.’ Finally, Ms Paula Keane, our own Branch Chairperson, under the title ‘Magic, Myth and Medicine’, gave a brilliant lecture, which led to lots of discussion afterwards, especially about the Hippocratic Oath. Covid-19 has put paid to all but one of the Spring Term’s programme of four lectures. On 11 February, Dr Matthew Potter spoke on ‘Cleopatra, last of the Pharaohs’. This lecture, we were reminded, commemorated the 2050th anniversary of the death of the lady. (Horace’s Cleopatra Ode was quoted afterwards, amid keening by members!) Three other lectures programmed have had to be postponed indefinitely. These are: • ‘Augustine: a Journey in Faith and Life’ by David Kelly O.S.A., Limerick Branch; • ‘Lady Kavanagh on the Nile: traveller, painter, antiquarian’ by Emmet Jackson, Department of Archaeology, University of Exeter; and • ‘Re-reading Virgil’s Aeneid’ by Dr Andrew Smith, Emeritus Professor of Classics, UCD. The play-reading of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in the Latin translation by Henry Dennison began on Wednesday, 29 January, with a group of six participants in the Limerick Education Centre. Further sessions took place on 26 February and 11 March. Covid-19 then caused any further readings to be postponed, but it is hoped to resume when things get back to normal. Likewise, the Annual Branch Dinner has had to be postponed. The Summer Soirée in Patrick Ryan’s Newport retreat, where a play-reading of Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus was to have been the centrepiece, will also, almost certainly – unless drastic changes are made to current restrictions of movement – have to be postponed. Tom Seaver (Branch Hon. Secretary)

CAI Languages Summer School: Cancellation Following the development of COVID-19, the CAI Languages Summer School due to take place in June has been cancelled. However, the Summer School is set to run in June 2021. The courses have been redesigned recently to suit a younger audience of school pupils, and promise to create an exciting new opportunity for students who wish to learn Latin and Greek, and to pursue the ancient languages in their academic future. For further information, registration queries, etc., please contact Cosetta Cadau at Cosetta Cadau



VALE John Noel Barry It is with great sadness that the Cork Branch pays tribute to John Barry, who passed away on 5 March 2020. John had been a lecturer in the Department of Classics, UCC, for many years and was a stalwart member of the Classical Association of Ireland. John was a true Cork man, never straying far from his alma mater, though a stint as a Fulbright Scholar in 1968 took him to the State University of New York at Buffalo. In 1972 he returned to UCC and remained teaching and researching until retirement beckoned. As well as teaching and supervising many PhD and M Phil students through the years, John was a founder member of the Centre for Neo-Latin Studies in 1999 and became a co-director in 2009 until his demise. He wrote on various aspects of Irish Latin writing and the classical influence on Irish scholarship, and was a contributor to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. The co-editing of Great Deeds in Ireland: Richard Stanihurst’s De Rebus in Hibernia Gestis was the culmination of years of work, often painstaking and tedious, but always striving to produce a faithful account. John also made an enormous contribution to the late Denis O’Sullivan’s Natural History of Ireland. John was a great friend to the Cork Branch of the Classical Association of Ireland. He was always willing to give us a talk and indeed the last time Cork hosted the summer school in 2017, he spoke on ‘Spinning A Yarn’. He may have been a great Latin scholar and a superb Classicist, but above all, he was a truly nice man. As a former student, I think I can speak for the multitudes who came away from his lectures enlightened and informed. His was the gentle approach, never insisting that what he said was the only interpretation, and always encouraging us to look deeper. His partnership with his wife Carmel only served to reinforce his scholarship. It was always ‘Carmel and John’, and while their interests diverged in the Classics, their love of scholarship was complementary. Hers was the organised, methodical approach, his was the abstract. John's ability to recite English, Italian, Irish, Greek, and Latin literature, whether in the erudite or rascally vein, will mean that he is well placed to argue his point with the late Chris Gaynor and the plethora of ancient Greeks and Romans in the great hereafter. I have it on good authority that his own Latin translation of Molly Malone at a conference in Tubingen 2005 was such a crowd-pleaser that it has been sung every year since at the Schola Latina in Cork. To Carmel, their son Hugh, and family, we extend our sympathy on their sad loss. Jennifer O’Donoghue (with sincere thanks to David Woods and Jason Harris for their assistance with this tribute)

Eavan Boland The distinguished poet Eavan Boland, who died on 27 April 2020, was Honorary President of the Classical Association of Ireland for the year 2000. Her Presidential Address took place in the then-Industry Centre UCD Belfield on the evening of Thursday, 30 November. She addressed a very enthusiastic audience on the theme of ‘The Living Language’. Her concern was with the question of why a language lives and how it dies – if, indeed, it ever does die; and with the issue of translation. Her address began with one poem, Padraig Colum’s A Poor Scholar of the Forties; its centre was formed by another poem, her own The Latin Lesson; and it ended with a translation (done by herself at the age of twenty-one) of Horace’s ode, O Fons Bandusiae. The whole address was infused with the poet’s love of language, and particularly of the Latin language of which she said: “I don’t believe I could ever have been a poet in the way I became one without Latin. I would have been so much poorer as a person without Latin. And yet today we see this beautiful, complicated and central language slipping away, not just from our schools and universities, but from the esteem in which a great language deserves to be held.” Going on to list the “three most magical books of my whole lifetime”, she named: “my first volume of Yeats’s poetry, my first books of Sylvia Plath’s poetry and my Arnold’s Latin Grammar”, and continued, “And among them all, it was probably Arnold’s grammar that was most truly the magic carpet for me.” Not only has Ireland lost an outstanding poet with the death of Eavan Boland, but the Classics, and particularly the Latin Language, has lost a wonderful champion, who will be sorely missed. atque in perpetuum, soror, ave atque vale The full text of Eavan Boland’s Presidential Address to the CAI can be found in Classics Ireland (2018), volume 25. Joan Wright


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