Marcus Aurelius, our departed deified emperor emeritus, would not be happy if he looked down from his heavenly abode and witnessed the current state of his formerly glorious empire: war looms across ‘our sea’ and dangerous cults proliferate within our borders and, due to the state of our roads in the provinces, it takes over a fortnight for word to reach us of the outcome of our brave legionnaires’ battles! An exhausted rider has just returned from far-off Goatstown with this despatch:
Mount Anville was once again the setting for the ‘Ides of March’ Classics and Latin Teachers Table Quiz and once again the ‘panis et circenses’ were staged with the most pleasant hospitality. But do not let the camaraderie amongst the small and tight Classics set fool you: this was a battle royale and no quarter was expected or given! St. Conleth’s always shows up with strength of numbers for these affairs and this time we fielded three strong teams: TYs Paul Ralph, Corey Power De Jong and Tony Barry joined Third Year Homeric Scholar Saul Burgess to form a solid testudo-formation phalanx to do the grunt infantry work. Fifth Years Oisín Herbots, Deane McElree, Sean ‘The Power’ Moiselle and Francesca Azalea performed a function befitting their equestrian status, outflanking the barbarians in a salary skirmish and then scouting for future engagements. It was left for the team in the vanguard, Sixth Year swan-songers Rían Boyle, Philip O’Hanrahan and Eavan O’Riada and Third Year Titan Johnny Barry to make a grab for the laurels and the lucre and they did not disappoint. Rían proved the most worthy of centurions and how could he not succeed, having earned his stripes squiring for the legendary Conleth’s classics alumnus Alistair Daly, whose famous riposte to the question “What were two of the rivers of Hades called?” – ‘Do you mind if I name all six?’- still echoes through the halls of Mt. Anville. Rían provided the needed discipline for a tight formation but all on the team played their part: Johnny knows the family trees of mythology, gods, monsters and heroes, better than his own and Eavan’s, whose specialty is Roman Art and History, can tell the difference between the Fourth and the Third Pompeiian Styles of Painting at fifty paces. Regular time ended with the traditional ‘Spartacus’ question and with St. Conleth’s dead even on third with St. Mary’s of Drogheda, whose edge-of-pale position belies a dedicated Classics curriculum. The games master called for solitary combat and Philip answered the call. Questions about the Athenian navy and the Corinthian order did not separate the combatants but Philip persevered and when the name of the character who links Hamlet and Homer was asked for, he icily replied ‘Laertes’. And the aes (bronze) was ours!