This week I’ve been meeting new Open University students on A276, A330, A863 and A864 (Latin, Myth and the MA modules). I’ve been sending out welcome messages and hearing a little bit about people’s backgrounds and experiences. It’s always a humbling time, with stories about chronic illness, mental health challenges, the lives of student-carers, and all the shocking and devastating events which wreak havoc on the path we expected life to take. This year has been no exception. I often wish that other students could hear the stories that I hear, because the determination people show in pursuing their dream as a part-time learner is inspirational. Open University students really are remarkable, and I consider myself privileged to work with them!
Anyway… this post is aimed at those who are new to Classics this year, and who are feeling a bit like they’re walking into an unfamiliar room blindfolded. I thought it might be useful to offer a round-up of some places to start. If my more classically experienced readers have resources to add – or if you have any tips for new Classics students – please do leave a comment at the bottom. And if you’re new to the OU, to Classics or to this website, feel free to leave a ‘hello’ too!
Here are my top places to start if you’re completely new to Classics:
Online: for thought-provoking stuff and the occasional giggle, check in on Eidolon from time to time; and for regular thoughts from ancient texts, read Sententiae Antiquae.
Books: Stephen Fry’s Mythos and Mary Beard’s SPQR are recent classical bestsellers. Female-centred retellings and translations have recently been hitting the headlines and prompting discussions about gender: books include Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls, Madeline Miller’s Circe and Emily Wilson’s translation of the Odyssey. If you’re interested in the wider context of Classics, you could check out Neville Morley’s Classics: Why it Matters or the recent compilation Forward with Classics.
Audio: BBC’s ‘In Our Time’ offers some really useful discussions on specific topics, like this recent episode on the Iliad. You’ll also find lots of links to regular podcasts in my Weekend Reading posts.
Television: Two of today’s high-profile TV classicists are Dame/Prof Mary Beard and Prof Michael Scott. Their programmes have inspired a lot of people to take up Classics – and they come with accompanying books!
This week’s links from around the internet
Classical Studies Support
If you’re new to my site and starting an OU module, here’s a quick roundup:
Material relating to A276 (Latin) here.
Material on A330 (Myth) here.
Some useful stuff for MA students here.
And a whole lot of random articles (some by fellow students) in the Library.
Below you’ll find my usually weekly collection of interesting things from around the internet; I post these every Friday night for you to read over breakfast during the weekend, instead of the Sunday papers!
Long-sought church under a lake? – The Daily Beast
Finding a sphinx – BBC
Lincolnshire building site discovery – BBC
New universities website – The Guardian
Greek stuff at Belsay Hall [I’ll be visiting this!] – Institute of Classical Studies
Greek literature and feminism in fashion – The Guardian
Comment and opinion
Trojan Women and refugees – Eidolon
A racist vision of Greece – Pharos
Reading the Odyssey – CNN
Unpicking culture and identity – Le Temps Revient
Reviewing Rodin – Lytham St. Annes Classical Association
Routines and cultural scripts – Classical Fix
The legacy of Spartacus – The Conversation
Remembering Rome – Sydney Morning Herald
Reviewing the Bacchae – Daily Breeze
Encountering wax babies – The Votives Project
On redefining ‘Classics’ – The Times Literary Supplement
Hadrian and Pompey – Following Hadrian
Roman fire brigades – Wanted in Rome
Old age and lonely Romans – The Petrified Muse
Archers on an urn – Ancient World Magazine
Reviewing a Latin movie – Carmenta
Ancient burials of pets – The Crux
Podcasts, video and other media
Villa of the Papyri – When in Rome
Talking about Amazons – Ancient History Fangirl
On sophists and sophistry – Words for Granted
Death, dying and killing – The History Network
Hadrian, beards and murder – Our Fake History
Talking about ancient slavery – The Partial Historians
Martha C. Nussbaum on the history of fear – The Ezra Klein Show
The history of automata – In Our Time
I’m saving up for a ‘Flocci non facio’ stamp. That’s an expression I haven’t heard in some years! – Etsy
9 thoughts on “Weekend Reading: Welcome, new Classicists!”
Not really a tip, but more of a welcome! I’m sure that you’ll love Classical Studies. It’s so far reaching that you can do almost anything with it.
All the best and enjoy
Thanks Tony – and new students should definitely check out your own website, https://classicalfix.com/, which is turning into a great resource!
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Thanks to you too Cora Beth! I’ve just added some more Latin Grammar & vocabulary sheets, they are free for anyone to use & if anyone has any feedback then feel free to get in touch!
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Hello to all new OU Classicists from this seasoned OU Classicist. You’re about to embark on a potentially life-changing, and certainly life-enhancing, voyage of thought-provoking experiences, adventures and excitement. Enjoy yourselves thoroughly!
My top tip – sign up to this site IMMEDIATELY for your unmissable weekly Classical fix ✊😊
Thanks Steve! I’m pretty sure nobody knows more about studying Classics at the OU than you do…! And for those starting A276, I’ll be directing you frequently to the Latin tips written by Steve, here: https://classicalstudies.support/about/the-latin-page/advice-from-steven/.
Hi Cora Beth, this is also a farewell to your old students… (sniff 😪) Got an email yesterday from my new tutor and although I’m disappointed to lose you, like the dog attached to the back of Seneca’s bike I’m learning to accept my fate 😔 Thanks for all your support last year and good luck to your new students, you’ve got a great didaskalos!
Sorry to lose you, Leigh – and the other 8 from our old A863 group who’ve gone on to other groups for A864. But I’m sure you’ll be well looked after! I have to admit, though, that I’d love to read your dissertation when it’s done…!
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Cora Beth, don’t know whether this may be any use to your new students on A296 but when I was doing the course I made up a course on Memrise consisting of all the vocabulary from that module. The link is here: https://www.memrise.com/course/1510120/a296-total-vocab/ . Some of my fellow students found it useful, maybe it might be useful again. Sandie
That’s brilliant, Sandie – thanks for sharing! I’ll include the link in the Latin resources on this site.