A Eulogy for My Old Latin Teacher, Roger Terence Davies
|RTD, in his later years|
For duty, duty must be done
|A much younger RTD|
|Caecilius is very much alive!|
What do I remember most about Roger’s teaching? Of course, dull and stupid people often say that Latin is a dead language. In reply to this poisonous platitude, Roger would snap back straight away and he would say that you might as well say that Beethoven is dead music, or that Michelangelo is dead art or that Shakespeare is dead literature.
Humour was an essential part of Roger’s teaching. I was not at all surprised when he invited me to see a production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum because funny things were always happening in our Latin lessons.
|RTD, in thespian mode|
Roger’s generosity often took the form of taking his students to the theatre. RTD, Markoi and I were in the audience for a memorable performance of Move Over, Mrs Markham. In the interval, we met one of the actors in the bar and he said, “It’s you, isn’t it? I told the rest of the cast, there are some chaps in the front row who laugh at every single dirty joke.” Oh, the benefits of a public school education!
|The jacket he wore in "The Ghost Train"?|
|Grumio, sworn enemy of Cerberus.|
|Metella, Caecilius's dear wife|
For me, this was a rather strange experience, doing something I had not for more than forty years, like switching on a time machine. It was almost like listening to Roger’s voice once more and I even found myself leaning my head over to one side and putting two fingers on my neck. How strange that I was teaching things that RTD had taught me, forty years later and on the other side of the world!
|Roger with his hands full|
|I would like to pay tribute to the Rev. Robin Craig's excellent and very moving eulogy for RTD that he gave at Roger's memorial service.|