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Another Latin triumph for Minimus the Mouse – University of Reading

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Another Latin triumph for Minimus the Mouse

Release Date 31 March 2005

A Roman BuildingMinimus the Mouse, whose primary school Latin course has already sold 60,000 copies and is used in 1,500 schools, has done it again. His author, Barbara Bell, has won the first ever Classical Association prize for 'the individual who has done the most to promote the study of language, literature and civilisation of Ancient Greece and Rome'. The prize, which will be given annually, was made possible by a generous donation to the Association by Sir Jeremy Morse, former Chairman of Lloyds Bank and Chancellor of Bristol University. The cheque for £5,000 will be presented to Mrs Bell at the Classical Association Conference at the University of Reading on Friday 1 April. Mrs Bell, who teaches Classics at Clifton High School for Girls in Bristol, said: "When I was working with the Joint Association of Classical Teachers, I received dozens of enquiries about teaching Latin to young children. I was also becoming increasingly concerned about children's understanding of English grammar. "I had learned all my English grammar through Latin so I decided to write a simple introduction to Latin for young children. The ideas is to make Latin accessible to a new generation of children. Now, children as young as six come up to me to tell me that Latin is so cool – lingua Latina mirabilis est!" Minimus, published by Cambridge University Press, introduces Latin to 7-13 year-olds. The books centre on a real family who lived at Vindolanda, close to Hadrian's Wall: Flavius the fort commander; his wife Lepinda; their three children; assorted household slaves; their cat Vibrissa – and Minimus the mouse. Pupils learn basic grammar and Latin vocabulary as well as the history and culture of Roman Britain. The Classical Association conference is an annual event, hosted by a different UK institution each year, which provides an overview of the state of Classics today. It usually attracts 300+ delegates from a broad constituency of academics, postgraduate students, school teachers and other 'friends of Classics', from both the UK and overseas. At Reading this year, between 1st and 4th April, 144 papers will be delivered in parallel sessions, on a wide range of topics in Greek and Roman history, literature and art, and the reception of Classics in more recent media. 'Imagining Alexander' is the theme of one such session, picking up on Robin Lane Fox's opening lecture Alexander: myths and making, on his experiences as historical advisor for Oliver Stone's Alexander the Great. The theme continues on the Saturday evening with a performance by the Thames Consort of Handel's Alexander's Feast in Christ Church. End Notes for editors Minimus - Starting out in Latin, for 7 – 10 year olds, was published in 1999 and was followed in 2004 by Minimus Secundus – Moving on in Latin, for 11 – 13 year olds. The Minimus books are illustrated by Helen Forte and published by Cambridge University Press. For more information, see http://www.minimus.com. For full details of the conference programme, see http://www.rdg.ac.uk/classics/CA. For further details of the Classical Association, see http://www.classicalassociation.org, or contact Clare Roberts on 020 7862 8706, or office@classicalassociation.org. For further information, please contact: Professor Helen King Department of Classics School of Humanities University of Reading, Whiteknights Reading RG6 6AA, UK Tel. +44 (0)118 378 6993 Fax. +44 (0)118 316 661

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