The Power of the Vote

In the last two lessons we have been exploring one of the most important and exciting ancient Greek inventions: democracy. We looked at the two ancient Greek words which give us the word democracy – “demos” meaning “people” and “kratos” meaning “power”. We discussed how before the Greeks introduced democracy, cities were ruled by “archons”,…

A Morning of Ancient Greek Myths

Today, we were very lucky to be able to welcome Ben Haggarty to the Iris Classics Centre to deliver fascinating and engaging workshops to three different groups. In the first session, Ben encouraged the students to look at some classical objects, such as a Greek jar, and to think about the stories that might lie…

Introducing the Presocratics

We started back this term on a completely new module! After some warm-up Latin verbs and nouns, I explained that we were leaving behind the Trojan War and Dark Ages, and skipping forward in time to around the sixth century BC. Around this time, a group of early thinkers, known as the Presocratics, emerged, and…

Work on New Classics Centre Banner Begins

This term, thirteen students from Years Seven and Eight are working with local mosaicist Clare Goodall to turn the winning entry in last term’s Classics Banner competition into a beautiful mosaic sign for the Iris Classics Centre to replace the old, faded one. The winning entry below was designed by Peter Goodrich Jones, and chosen…

Io Saturnalia!

In our last lesson of term, we celebrated Roman-style with a Saturnalia. The Romans celebrated one of their moment important festivals starting on 17th December. People would decorate their homes with wreaths, exchange gifts with poems attached, have banquets and wear colourful clothes. They even wore a hat, called a “pilleus”. All this probably sounds…

Introducing the Mycenaeans

In today’s lesson, we began to explore the Mycenaean Civilisation. The Mycenaeans flourished from around 1600 BC to around 1100 BC, and the Linear B tablets at Knossos and on other sites are some of the pieces of evidence we have which show that they invaded these Minoan sites and took over their palaces. We…

Linear B Workshops

Year 8 Latinists were very lucky to welcome Dr Philomen Probert to their lessons this week. Philomen is a lecturer at the Department of Linguistics and Classics at the University of Oxford, and she visited to show how Linear B worked and what it was used for. She brought a range of different examples of…

Piecing Together the Palace

In this week’s lessons, we have been exploring the challenges of reconstructing the past from fragments of archaeological evidence. We looked at some of the striking reconstructions of the palace at Knossos which Sir Arthur Evans undertook; these have been a big part of what has made visiting and viewing the ancient site so alluring…

Classics Banner Competition: Entries and Winners!

Last term, we launched a competition to design a new banner for the Iris Classics Centre. Over many years, the original banner above the window of the classics centre has been bleached by the sun, so we are in need of a new one! We were very fortunate that classicist Professor Mary Beard offered to…

Persephone in the Underworld: New Perspectives on Ancient Stories

In today’s lessons, we were very fortunate to be visited by three students from the University of Oxford’s Greek Drama team, Nina, Ollie and Charlotte, who delivered workshops introducing their forthcoming musical production at the Oxford Playhouse, Persephone. Persephone is a retelling of the myth of Persephone’s abduction to the Underworld by the Greek god…