Submission Deadline: Poems should be a maximum of thirty lines, and should be submitted by email to by December 12th, 2011.

The Iris Project is a grassroots educational charity, which introduces the languages and culture of the ancient world to UK state schools, particularly working with schools in inner cities and deprived urban areas.

Information about the poetry contest can be viewed by clicking below:


Loudoun Locals: You may now register online for meetings of the Reading Group, Vergil’s Voice: A Study Group for Teens Who Love Reading Latin Literature.


Q: Dr. Matteo, is there anything fun to do around DC while we’re getting ready for a new school year?

A:  Without a doubt, do not miss the Capitoline Venus on view at the National Gallery of Art West Building until Monday 5 September 2011 ONLY.

In this post, I can give you a very general account of why this statue is so important.  First of all, she was unearthed in a garden in the seventeenth century, virtually intact except for a missing lost (quite common with statuary) and a missing wrist/hand.  For more detail, please read the excellent Exhibition Brochure [<— CLICK HERE ].  The reception of this statue is truly fascinating.  Praxiteles had carved a wondrous female nude, called the Aphrodite of Cnidos (where the goddess was worshipped), sometime around 360 BC.  That statue was copied for many reasons, particularly the depiction of feminine beauty, exemplified in pudicitia pose that marks Venus’ modesty. Since she is in the act of covering herself, it was thought to be a modest, rather than immodest, gesture that Praxiteles captured in marble.  The statue we have in the National Gallery of Art is a Roman copy.  Pliny the Elder, who perished following the eruption of Vesuvius, knew of the statue.  We believe that the statue was lost when, in 475 AD, the Byzantine capitol, Constantinople, was consumed in fire.

How amazing then, is it that someone digging found this priceless work of art in a garden near Rome in the seventeenth century (roughly 1670’s).  In the eighteenth century, you would do work in conservation/restoration, namely, repairing such statues, if you wanted to be a renowned marble-carver, such as the great Canova became in the nineteenth century.  Pope Benedict XIV had Venus’ nose and hand repaired, and had her on display in the wondrous Capitoline Museum.  The Capitoline Museum is the oldest public museum of art in the world; prior to the Capitoline, you would have had to have known a very rich, patron collector to have seen a work of this authenticity, historical significance, and quality.

For this reason, it is a particular honor that the Capitoline Venus is on view at the National Gallery of Art, due to the Dream of Rome project.  Please make time to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime treasure.


Q:  What if I want to enjoy the great outdoors and learn more about classical civilization at the same time, and do that before school is in full swing?

A:  Legiō XX is planning to encamp at the Virginia Scottish Games on the weekend of 3-4 September 2011.  If you click on either of those names, the information shall appear to you in another window! They can also be found on facebook: Legiō XX [CLICK ON IT] and Virginia Scottish Games [CLICK ON IT].