Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sign up for the Dickinson Latin Workshop

Time is quickly running out to register for this year's Summer Dickinson Latin Workshop, which is focusing on Cicero's meditation on the Roman constitution, De Re Publica,

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Felicem Natalem Diem, Urbs Roma!

Today is Rome's birthday. The traditional date of the founding of the eternal city is April 21, 753 B.C. and it is from this day (A.U.C. or ab urbe condita, translated "from the founding of the city") that Romans expressed their history in relation to the Roman Era. April 21st was also known as the Parilia (or Palilia), the festival that the Romans considered sacred to shepherds. Romulus and Remus, credited with the founding of Rome, were the foster sons of the shepherd Faustulus. They were considered to be the biological sons of the Roman god Mars. The story of the birth of Romulus and Remus as well as the founding of the city is told by the Roman historian Livy. The modern Latin writer, Lhomond, who wrote in the late 1700s retells the story in easier Latin in his book De Viris Illustribus Urbis Romae A Romulo ad Augustum.

Kentucky Educational Television has some activities for teachers and students who would like to celebrate Rome's birthday. Scroll down the page to find some suggestions, including raking campus grounds and planting a tree (perhaps coinciding with tomorrow's Earth Day), then celebrating with a feast! KET has a birthday song you might sing in Latin too! There are some other ideas there you might use throughout the week, as April had many holidays sacred to the Romans.

Charlotte Yonge, a Victorian author from England who wrote for children , tells the story of The Founding of Rome at Project Gutenberg.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Texas Classics Week!

Gratias tibi ago, Karen Moore of Latin Alive!, for letting us know that this week (April 21-25, 2009) has officially been proclaimed Texas Classics Week by Governor Rick Perry!

Bolchazy-Carducci Announces a Second Series of Summer Online Webinar Courses for Latin Teachers

Bolchazy-Carducci has just announced the program for their second annual series of online web-based seminars for Latin teachers. More than just an online lecture, attendees can dialogue with each other and the speakers live, view presentations, and explore teaching materials used by the speakers themselves. And you don't have to buy plane tickets, arrange for your mail to be held, put your pets in a kennel, fly across the country, or even leave the comfort of your own home!

This summer's line-up includes courses designed and presented by experienced Latin teachers covering a diverse range of topics: Vergil, Catullus, Cicero, etymology, Roman culture, and Latin 2.0. There will even be a Virtual Conventiculum featuring two sessions from expert Latinists Terence Tunberg and Milena Minkova!

These courses are suitable for the newly-minted Latin teacher as well as the experienced veteran seeking professional development. (You may be eligible for credit hours towards recertification; be sure to check with your school, district, or state to confirm.)

June 9:
Ronnie Ancona
— New Ways of Teaching Vergil's Aeneid

June 17:
Helena Dettmer
— The Agony and the Ecstasy of Catullus' Love Affair with Lesbia

June 23:
Anna Andresian
— Using Oral Latin in Your Classroom

July 9:
Bill Dominik
— Exploring Etymology in Your Latin Classes

July 16:
Rose Williams
— Oral Latin via Readings in Roman History

July 21:
Jayne Reinhard
— Roman Art and Archaeology for Latin Teachers

July 23:
Jayne Reinhard
— Daily Life in Ancient Rome

July 30:
Laura Gibbs
— Latin 2.0: Personal Learning Networks

August 6:
Rose Williams
— Learning Latin Pronouns via Roman Mythology

August 13:
Jon Hall
— Latin Oral Interpretation and Performance via Cicero

September 23:
Terry Tunberg & Milena Minkova
--Training Techniques for Spoken Latin Expression (beginners)

September 30:
Terry Tunberg & Milena Minkova
— Virtual Conventiculum
(advanced -- no English will be used)

For more detailed descriptions and to sign up online, please visit

The cost for each individual webinars is $99.00. You may select any three for $249.00, or take all 12 for $749.00. Register online at the above web address, or phone 847.526.4344.

Class size is limited to 30. Minimum enrollment is set at five participants unless otherwise noted with a (*) which requires a minimum enrollment of 10. If a webinar is cancelled due to low enrollment, participants can choose to take a different webinar or may opt for a refund.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

But Did They Have An Oprah's Book Club?

Classicist, author and blogger Mary Beard describes the glitzy, superficial publishing world of Ancient Rome in this weekend's New York Times Sunday Book Review. Or is she talking about London and New York City, with all the "money-­making booksellers, exploited and impoverished authors, celebrity book launches and career-making prizes." Not to mention the bookstore employees working for slave wages!

"Scrolling Down the Ages" (April 16, 2009) is a must-read!

The Books That Got Away!

Littera scripta manet, sometimes.... ("The written word endures.")

Today's Wall Street Journal has a fascinating article about the books that got away.

"Longing for Great Lost Works: From Shakespeare's 'Cardenio' to Ovid's Getic poetry, missing texts hold tantalizing possibilities." (April 18, 2009)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Resquiescat in Pace, David Parsons 1937-2009

David Parsons, who taught Latin, Greek and Classical Civilization in England for nearly 25 years, and in his retirement managed the ARLTBlog (the Association foR Latin Teaching, UK) as well as his own Classics Teaching Resources website (see, especially, the Teaching Aids, for ideas on active learning through music and drama), passed away on Tuesday, April 14, 2009. His son has written a very moving final entry on David's personal blog, View from the Street. (View from the Street includes many videos and recordings of classical and religious music (see the sidebar), theological musings (a continuous theme), Latin prayers and poetry, as well as some Classics teaching tips!)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Beatum Festum Diem Paschalem!

Happy Easter!

You can read Pope Benedict XVI's Easter Greeting in many different languages on the Urbi et Orbi ("To the City and World") page at the Official Vatican website. The 2009 message in Latin is "Resurrectio Domini, spes nostra," which is translated, "The Resurrection of our Lord, our hope."

The Vatican's Liturgical Calendar page has a selection of Easter Music, much of it in Latin, which you can enjoy. You'll also find links to past Holy Weeks, along with the Easter Greetings from past years.

Today's Albany Times-Union (New York) has a wonderful feature entitled Enduring Symbol (April 12, 2009) about the different types of Christian crosses. In this article, you can read about the different types of crosses and view some very lovely images. On some of the crosses, you'll see IHS, which are taken from the first three letters of the name of Jesus (Ιηςυσ) in Greek. Other crosses include the Chi Ro, (X Ρ) which are the first two letters of Christ (Χριςτοσ), also from the Greek alphabet.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Does Grammar Help Shape How We Experience the World?

Listen to the most recent broadcast of National Public Radio's Krulwich on Science ("Shakespeare Had Roses All Wrong," April 6, 2009) for a fascinating discussion of how grammar affects how we experience the world. Do speakers of languages with grammatical gender may perceive their environment differently depending upon the gender assigned to specific words? You'll have to listen to the broadcast to find out the answer.

BBC News Explains the Geology of the Italian Earthquake

The BBC News explains How the Italy Quake Happened

Monday, April 06, 2009

Central Italy Devastated by Powerful Earthquake

Rescue efforts are continuing in the central Italian towns located in the Appenine mountain range. The current death toll of 150 is expected to rise and tens of thousands of people are now homeless.

More video is available from the New York Times: "Deadly Earthquake Shakes Central Italy."

The Guardian (UK) news site has an interactive map which shows the proximity of L'Aquila, the epicenter of the quake, to the City of Rome, as well as Naples, where Mount Vesuvius, Italy's active volcano, is located.

The tremors were powerful enough to be felt in Rome and the Telegraph (UK) and New York Times both report that the Baths of Caracalla, near the Aventine Hill, have suffered damage.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Renewed Promotion of the Classics at the Ivy Colleges reports that Harvard is encouraging the study of the Classics, astronomy, and other undersubscribed majors by increasing the number of freshman seminars taught by highly regarded professors. Other Ivy League schools are also increasing their efforts to sell the Classics, Near Eastern, and Islamic studies.

With the stratospheric cost of tuition these days, this article points out that choosing a major in an uncommon field very often comes with the benefit of small, personalized classes and more individualized attention.

Majoring in Classics doesn't necessarily lead to genteel poverty. Check out the National Committee for Latin and Greek's website out for a list of famous Classics majors who found gainful and sometimes even lucrative employment!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Latin Inscription Disputes Popularity of Robin Hood

The March 2009 issue of the Journal of Medieval History reports the discovery at Eton College of An English Chronicle Entry on Robin Hood (Volume 35, Issue 1) by Professor Julian Luxford of St. Andrew's University.  There have been numerous stories in the press regarding this story, including the Daily Mail which includes images from the 13th century Polychronicon where the Latin inscription was made in the margins sometime ca. 1460 A.D. by an anonymous monk.  

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Diogenes and his Lamp in the NYT

An op-ed piece in today's New York Times calls to mind Diogenes, his lamp, and Greek philosophy in Cynicism We Can Believe In.