When SeniorNet.org ceased to exist, we feared our Latin lessons would do the same. Fortunately for us, Ginny, Marcie and Jane worked their magic and Senior Learn sprang into being.

With each term numbers have grown and it is evident that Latin still holds a fascination that never falters. Students from all over the world meet daily to learn, read, translate and to get to know one another, and, as a bonus, gain high grades in the National Latin Exam!

"Ecce," our online magazine, was placed on hold for a while but the time now seems right for Issue V. I hope you find its content interesting and informative.

It never fails to surprise me how willing some well-known people are to share with us their knowledge and thoughts about Latin and about the Romans. Professor Mary Beard is Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Newnham College. She is the Classics Editor of the Times Literary Supplement and was Visiting Professor of Classical Literature for 2008/9 at the University College of California, Berkeley. When I e-mailed her to ask permission to use one of her articles she replied favourably in under an hour and she wished us well. Her "Ten things you thought you knew about the Romans but didn't," certainly surprised me. Hollywood films may have a lot to answer for.

Lucylibr was fortunate enough to attend Professor Beard's lecture at New York library in November, and so we have her first-hand summary of what the Professor had to say about the subject, "Do the Classics have a Future?"

Boris Johnson, born in New York of British parents, and a US citizen until 2007/8, was a former Member of Parliament for Henley and Editor of the "spectator" magazine. He was appointed Mayor of London in 2008. At Balliol College, Oxford, he had read Literae Humaniores and he is truly passionate about the teaching of Latin at British schools. When approached, though unable to contribute something aimed specifically at "Ecce" readers because of work commitments, he suggested that we might like to use an edited version of a speech he gave at King's College, London.

Passionately, and good-humouredly, he had warned his audience "My message to you tonight is, we've got to step up the fight. The barbarian hordes are all around us." Hopefully, as students of Latin, we can partially exclude ourselves from the latter even if Caesar would have thought otherwise.

Sian Phillips, the actress whose portrayal of Livia is still considered a master-class in acting, loved Latin at school. Read more about her here in our magazine and online, and, if you can, beg or borrow the BBC TV production "I, Claudius," available on DVD and well-worth viewing.

Quite a few of our students are fortunate enough to have visited, or even live, in places that some of us can only dream about. Barbara (Hidaroupe) writes about Trier, Germany and her photos bring the places she writes about vividly to life. Mike's account of his stay in Capodichino makes fascinating reading.

Cielolama writes about the Villa Romana del Casala in an original way as we see the villa and its wonders through the eyes of three young men seeking refuge. The mosaic images are bright and glorious and cover approximately 3500 square meters in over 40 rooms, as Cielolama points out. It's surely a sight not to be missed by one fortunate enough to visit Sicily today.

Others come closer to home. Joyce writes about the "Seven Hills of Rome" . . . not the ones in Italy but, surprisingly, a place in Georgia, U.S.A.

Gay, from Somerset UK, has much to say about the get-together our Latin students held in New York. The photographs speak for themselves and it is obvious a good time was had by all. It was truly a case of arriving as strangers, leaving as friends.

It seems that hardly a week goes by without some "new" Roman find being made somewhere in the world. Read all about the discoveries of villas, including the first one found in mid Wales; of sculptures and hoards of coins still being unearthed. In his article Geoff writes about the latter. We learn that prior to Julius Caesar, busts of Gods, or allegorical symbols, were placed on coins. Thanks to the images of Emperors we are able to identify each coin and so add to our knowledge of the Romans.

More poignant are the discoveries of skeletons. Forensic scientists can discover quite a lot about these but the story of how they came to meet their deaths is one we can only guess at. That little family group: what happened to them? The young couple found still holding hands after countless years, what was their story?

As I wrote earlier, I hope you enjoy this issue. If you contributed, all thanks. If you didn't, then start thinking about Issue V1. It is after all, your magazine.


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