Primordial Soup

We are delighted to announce that "Primordial Soup: Tales of the Greek gods in Oxford", a graphic novel written by Year Eight Classics students at Cheney School between September to December 2020 is now out!

You can read the full book here (please click on the cover):

In September 2020, two Year Eight Latin classes at Cheney School took part in a project to design, write and illustrate a graphic novel which imagines the primordial Greek gods in modern day Oxford. They found out all about the different primordial gods, explored the art form of the graphic novel, and looked at how ancient characters have been imagined in different settings. They then chose characters and storylines, and worked together as a group to decide how to plan the story arc and what to call it. In the end, they settled on having a compilation of mini stories, which they called “Primordial Soup”! 

We are very fortunate to have been supported in this project by two creative artists. Ahmed Alameen, a Kuwaiti author who has created a graphic novel based on characters from the epic Gilgamesh, gave virtual workshops on how to design a graphic novel. 

We are also very lucky to have been joined in this project by Oxford Brookes University Artist Lydia Hall. Lydia worked with the students on the artwork for the story, and turned their artwork and ideas into a cohesive graphic novel. You can see her beautiful illustrations in these pages! 

We are grateful to be have been supported by a grant from Classics for All for this exciting initiative.

We hope you enjoy these stories!

Lorna Robinson, Director of the Iris Project and Classics Centre at Cheney School

Garden Tales Series

We are starting a new lockdown project this Monday! Each day, we will produce a different sheet detailing a plant, its Latin name, some facts about its use by the Greeks and Romans, the myth explaining how it came into being, and some activities for children!

You will be able to download the sheets using the links below.

We hope you enjoy our Garden Tales!

The Tale of Laurus Nobilis

 The Tale of the Anemone

The Tale of the Lotus Tree

The Tale of the Hyacinth

The Tale of the Aconite

The Tale of the Asphodel

The Tale of the Fig Tree

The Tale of the Narcissus

The Tale of the Elm Tree

The Tale of the Pomegranate


The Tale of the Rose

The Tale of the Giant Fennel


The Tale of Spearmint


The Tale of the White Poplar


The Tale of Ivy


The Tale of Calamus

The Tale of the Chaste Tree


The Tale of the Poppy

The Tale of the Plane Tree

The Tale of Frankincense

The Tale of Iris


If you want to explore trees in the ancient world, you can visit this fascinating blog by Dr Andrew Fox.

Distant Lands: Telling Tales Part 2

We are delighted to announce the publication of Distant Lands this April!

Distant Lands is a companion volume to Lorna Robinson’s Telling Tales in Latin. Also narrated by the poet Ovid, who tells the tale of his own exile, along with more well-loved tales from his Metamorphoses. Introducing readers to the history of Ovid’s life and exile, as well as an introduction to the geography of the Roman Empire, Distant Lands will engage pupils in stories such as Lycaon, the wild man who became a wolf, and Pyramus and Thisbe, the love-struck pair who whisper through a crack in their adjoining wall. These stories are woven into Ovid’s account of his last night in Rome, his dramatic journey across the seas, and the strangeness of the new world that he discovers.

Soham De’s illustrations bring Ovid’s stories alive and make learning Latin an imaginative journey of discovery while Lorna Robinson continues to build on the Latin vocabulary and grammar introduced in the first book in the series. Each story is accompanied with creative activities that update the stories around contemporary issues from history, geography, philosophy and literature.

Lorna Robinson has a doctorate in Classics from University College London and is the founder and director of The Iris Project, which promotes the study of Classics in state schools. Soham De is a graphic artist who works for an architectural firm. Evelien Bracke provided advice on the Latin text. She is senior lecturer and schools liaison officer at Swansea University.

Distant Lands costs £10 and is available to purchase in bookshops or to order online.

Praise for the previous book in the series, Telling Tales in Latin:

“Really inviting and engaging, with clear explanations and beautiful and fun illustrations by Soham De... Excellent for projects introducing... An inviting, absorbing and embracing learning experience.”

The Classics Library

Iris Festival of Natural History, Classics and More, 27 March 2019

Festival posterWe are delighted to announce the Iris Festival of Natural History, Art and More on 27th March, 2019.

This event will be a large community event to celebrate the Rumble Museum at Cheney School as it continues the process of becoming the first Arts Council Accredited museum in a state school.

There will be five main discovery zones: Natural History, Art, Archaeology, Storytelling and Anthropology. Each zone will contain activities, stalls, exhibitions, workshops, and a wide range of visiting museums with artefacts to handle and explore. There will  be shows including animatronic dinosaurs, as well as the opportunity to see birds of prey! There will also be fossils pits, an opportunity to make your own prints at a printing press, the Story Museum's Little Shop of Stories, an ancient Greek daily life museum, Roman music, artists' exhibitions, as well as a cafe serving refreshments and hot and cold drinks.

The event will include expert talks as well as a wide range of stalls, activities and exhibitions. Visitors will be able to follow an exciting new model Dragonfly Trail as they explore the site, with each discovery zone containing striking decorations, workshops, stalls,  performances and activities themed on different aspects of museum learning.

The stalls, activities and exhibitions run from 3.30 until 6pm. It is free and caters for all ages. Primary and secondary school groups are warmly welcome.

The following talks will also take place throughout the afternoon and evening:

3.30 - 4pm - Professor Richard Fortey, Natural Historian and Palaeontologist

4.15 - 4.45pm - Professor Helen King, 'Ancient Greek Magic and Medicine'

5.15 - 5.45pm - Peter Randall-Page, Artist and Sculptor, Royal Academician

6 - 6.45pm - Will Gompertz, BBC Chief Arts Correspondent

The festival itself does not require booking unless you are visiting with a school group. Talks do need to be booked, and can be done so by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Telling Tales in Latin Teachers Guide

Below you can download for free the Teachers Guide for the Latin course/storybook Telling Tales in Latin. The guide contains lesson ideas and activities, translations of all Latin text, running OCR Entry Level Latin vocabulary for each chapter as well as practice sheets which are based on OCR Entry Level requirements.  There is also an appendix containing the curriculum strand connections for each chapter of the book.

Telling Tales in Latin is published by Souvenir Press and available in all good bookshops. It can also be ordered on Amazon and as a Kindle edition.

 Telling Tales in Latin Teachers Guide

 Telling Tales in Latin Curriculum Strands

The Iris Project
24 Green Ridges

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