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Presenting a world premiere

The Song of Arms

and a Man

7pm, Saturday 9th June, 2018

The Ivor Gurney Hall

(adjacent to Gloucester Cathedral)

More information and tickets


This world masterpiece, the Aeneid, tells the story of Aeneas’ escape from Troy, his stay with Dido and his struggle to fulfil his destiny as founder of Rome. Step back two thousand years and enjoy Virgil’s beautiful Latin spoken by readers who as singers, including Emma Kirkby and Matthew Hargreaves, have a special talent for conveying classical verse. The outline of the story is presented in English: this is for all, including those new to Latin.


Why Latin in cathedrals?

In the 8th and 9th centuries there was a renaissance of learning in Europe, and Latin was at its heartin cathedrals and monasteries.

At that time the overlord of a large part of western Europe, Charlemagne, had many new cathedrals and monasteries built. He instructed them to teach Latin, to produce more scribes to work in the courts and more priests to use the one language shared across Europe.

The Latin of Charlemagne’s day was a broad sweep of literature. There were liturgical and religious texts, laws, histories, administrative records (then, the clergy did all the ‘clerical’ work), works of fiction and poems, and also the treasured books of a much earlier time.

These pre-Christian writers – poets, historians, orators, storytellers and letter-writers reflected values of a quite different world; but they were too good to ignore. The great classical writings of Cicero, Virgil and Ovid, whose stories of mischievous gods and whimsical goddesses were treated as allegories, were copied and kept alive in the cathedrals and monasteries like Gloucester above.

See all classes and venues



at cathedrals and Roman sites


NEXT  -  Saturday and Sunday,
18th and 19th August 2018
at Gloucester Cathedral


Reading the Aeneid


Over this weekend we shall be reading and discussing texts from 'The Song of Arms and a Man'.


If you enrol on this course, a ticket to The Song of Arms and a Man (9th June) is free (while places are still available).


More courses


Online supports

for published courses

The Complete Latin Course


The Complete Latin Course

Get Started in Latin

Get Started in Latin

Catch up with mulus

and his friends

Get Started in Latin - a translation of the story

Why would the ablative case help detectives solve a murder mystery?

Practise all the cases

with cartoon exercises


Latin Voices

Why hear Latin?

Emma Kirkby reads from Aeneid 11: Diana prepares to avenge the death of her favourite, Camilla.

Matthew Hargreaves reads from Aeneid 6, Virgil's story of Aeneas visiting the underworld.

Martial's doctor leaves him feeling even worse.

Catullus to Lesbia:

let's live and love

Virgil's distraught hero Aeneas has lost his wife. Here he is comforted by her ghost.

Carpe diem, says

Horace to his girl.

More readings

Ovid's story of

Narcissus and Echo

Latin Qvarter readingsAudio CD of

Teach Yourself Complete Latin

George Sharpley reads from Gavin Betts' course.

Latin language classes, courses, readings, books and films