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Personal Statement for 2011 Entry

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					Logic suggests that the more distant in time an epoch is, the more dissimilar it will be
to our own, but is this really true? The 'Tavernas' in Pompeii appear to be a first
century equivalent to a fast food restaurant, implying History, on the contrary, follows
a cyclical nature. If true, this may create greater empathy and understanding of events
from both a modern and contemporary perspective, suggesting studying both Ancient
and Modern History is essential in charting civilisation's progression and
development.

Fascinated by British History, eras like the Reformation that demonstrate how History
impacts society's masses, enthral me. However, volunteering for Haswell History
Group and Durham Heritage Centre, I have also discovered the importance of the
'actions of the few' and am intrigued by the antics of some of Britain's most famous
monarchs; I recently read David Starkey's 'Virtuous Prince' to help realize how Henry
VIII's influences affected his reign. Tacitus' 'Annals' and Suetonius' 'Twelve Caesars'
also show how extensive the actions of the ruling elite can be, from the seeming
madness of Gaius, to Claudius' wives' and freedmen's alleged machinations. They also
demonstrate how Historians can impact our perception of events, a phenomenon that I
am keen to investigate much further.

Reading Cicero's 'In Catilinam I' during AS Latin, along with Herodotus' 'Histories' in
Classics, where the author was dubbed 'Father of Lies', elucidated historiography's
importance and showed the ancient world had many parallels with ours, whilst
provoking greater understanding of texts through analysis of their linguistic and
stylistic features. Visiting the vaults below Durham Cathedral, I examined Foxes'
'Book of Martyrs', The King James Bible and a replica of the Lindisfarne Bible,
improving my insight into Vulgate Latin and through annotations and graffiti, the
beliefs of Medieval monks and the Scottish Monarchy. I hope to increase my
linguistic skills by commencing Latin translations for Hartlepool Museum, but at
university wish to enhance this by learning to translate into Latin and perhaps Ancient
Greek.

As I am interested in Political History, I would love to study politics and beliefs in the
classical world in greater detail, especially in fifth century Athens: invaluable work
experience at Durham Oriental Museum informed me about the Greek world's
interactions with Persia during this period. Recent volunteering for the Portable
Antiquities Scheme suggested much about the Roman occupation of Northern
Britannia, while Iron Age Artefacts enabled me to compare provinces pre and post
Roman occupation and thus the lives of the so-called barbarians, including the
classical attitude to foreigners, such as is described in 'The Iliad' and Aristophanes'
'Thesmophoriazusae'.

Recreationally, I enjoy playing Eb Horn in Durham County Wind Band, teaching me
the value of teamwork and dedication. In the student council, I learned to present
structured and researched arguments and take part in effective debates, crucial if a
historian is to reach the most accurate conclusions.

For both personal and academic reasons, I am re-sitting A-level English Language to
attain one extra UMS mark and achieve my goal of three A's at A-level. My recent
volunteering has given me an interesting, diverse range of museum and academic
projects with archaeological and documentary sources that I hope will aid my
university studies and which I can build on in my undergraduate research. In future, I
wish to complete a PhD and embark upon a career, hopefully becoming a historian.
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