Monday, November 30, 2009

Saint Nicholas and the Legenda Aurea

Advent is upon us and it's time to start thinking toward Christmas!

Blessed Jacobus de Voragine, a medieval archbishop and biographer, chronicled a number of stories about the saints in a book entitled the Legenda Aurea ("The Golden Legend") , including the biography of a certain Sanctus Nicolaus, whose story you can read, in Latin, on the Latin Library website. The feast day of St. Nicholas is December 6th and in some European countries this is the day that children wake up to find gifts and sweets left in their shoes . De Voragine also recorded the story of Sancta Lucia, whose feast day is December 13th, another joyful holiday celebrated in many European countries with parties, angel costumes, candles and sweets.

If you'd prefer, you can read two English versions of the St. Nicholas story from the Legenda Aurea:

First Sunday in Advent, Forty Years of Vernacular Language

An interesting article in the New York Times this weekend, entitled "Latin Mass Appeal," commemorating the 40th anniversary of the reforms of Vatican II, which brought the vernacular to the Mass, replacing Latin. Since 1969, Roman Catholic churches have celebrated Mass in the languages of the people of the parish. This op-ed explains some of the history behind the transition from Latin to modern languages, as well as the desire of many, surprisingly young traditionalists and conservatives who wish to return to the use of Latin in the Mass.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Latin Centered Curriculum

Memoria Press has set up a new Latin-Centered Curriculum online community for Classical homeschoolers who follow the dictum multum, non multa.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Conventiculum: Rusticatio Virginiana 2010

Details are now available for Rusticatio Virginiana 2010! The Rusticatio is a week of total immersion in the Latin language, designed for participants at all levels of experience in conversational Latin. It will take place July 18-24, 2010.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Classical Association of New England Newsletter: CANEns

Visit the Classical Association of New England's website to download the most recent issue of their newsletter, CANEns! Just click on the 'canens' button!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Save Classics at Michigan State University!

The Classics Department at Michigan State is under threat of closure!

Please see David Meadow's excellent commentary at Rogue Classicism, to find out what you can do to help save the Classics at this land-grant university. Then, please consider signing an on-line petition in support of MSU Classics. At the time of this blog posting, there are only 401 signatures.

Monday, November 09, 2009

More News About Latin From Across the Pond!

More news today from the United Kingdom!

The Daily Mail is reporting, "Latin in Classroom Comeback As 60 Primary Schools Make Ancient Language Compulsory." According to the article, at one point, only 100 comprehensive schools (similar to American public high schools) offered Latin. Now, one in six of all secondary level schools in the UK provide for instruction in Latin.

It's obvious that the efforts of the Cambridge Schools Classics Project and the Iris Project are making a significant impact on Classics education in Britain!

Latin Inspires, Enthuses!

See Dr. Lorna Robinson's commentary in today's Independent (UK): "Dr. Lorna Robinson: 'Latin Inspires and Enthuses Children." Dr. Robinson directs the Iris Project, a British charity promoting Classics in schools, especially government-funded schools and schools in urban areas.

Edited to add: A companion article, "Haud Mea Culpa, Domina," in the same paper reports on a new initiative to bring Latin into British state primary schools and offers some conversational Latin as well. (American teachers dealing with No Child Left Behind legislation will certainly be able to sympathize with their British colleagues and find useful the translation for "Where does my school come in the league tables?")

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Remembering the Veterans,

Read "Back From War, But Not Really Home" (New York Times, November 8, 2009) by Caroline Alexander for a wonderful op-ed reflecting this week on the sacrifice of veterans which also weaves in the ancient story of Odysseus. According to Ms. Alexander, from the songs of the ancients, we learn that it is the duty of civilians to pass on the stories of the deaths of soldiers in battle and of their returns home. It's not so difficult (though, of course, quite painful) to memorialize those who fall, but she also show how we can learn from Homer how to commemorate those who return.

Also, see previous blog entries relevant to Veteran's Day (US) and Remembrance Sunday (UK):

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Conventiculum Dickinsoniense July 5 -10, 2010!

From Christopher Francese
Associate Professor of Classical Studies
Dickinson College (Carlisle, PA)

Hear ye, hear ye, all of ye looking for a great summer experience in active Latin . . . .

Conventiculum Dickinsoniense July 5 -10, 2010!

The Conventiculum Dickinsoniense is a new total immersion seminar in active Latin. It is specifically designed for all cultivators of Latin who wish to gain some ability to express themselves ex-tempore in correct Latin.

A wide range of people can benefit from the seminar: professors in universities, teachers in secondary schools, graduate students, undergraduates and other lovers of Latin, provided that anyone who considers applying has a solid understanding of the grammatical essentials of the Latin language. A minimum requirement is knowledge of Latin grammar and the ability to read a Latin text of average complexity, even if using a dictionary often. No previous experience in speaking Latin is necessary.

Sessions will be aimed exclusively at developing ability in speaking, understanding others speaking, reading and discussing texts in the target language. After the first evening, Latin will be the exclusive language used in the seminar. Participants will be involved in intensive activity each day from morning until early evening (with breaks for lunch, etc., of course), and will discuss themes ranging from topics in books, literature and art to the routines and activities of daily life. The seminar will illustrate not only how active Latin can be useful for teachers, but also how cultivating an active facility in Latin can benefit any cultivator of Latin who wishes to acquire a more instinctive command of the language and a more intimate relationship with Latin writings.

Prof. Milena Minkova, University of Kentucky
Prof. Terence Tunberg, University of Kentucky

Conventiculum Dickinsoniense can accept a maximum number of 40 participants. Deadline for applications in May 1, 2010. The participation fee for each participant will $300. The fee includes lodging in a single room in campus housing, and two meals (breakfast and lunch) per day, as well as the opening dinner, and a special cookout at the Dickinson farm for one night. That also covers the facilities fee, which allows access to the gym, fitness center, and the library, as well as internet access. The $300 fee does not include the cost of dinners (except for the opening dinner and the cookout at the Dickinson farm), and does not include the cost of travel to and from the seminar. Dinners can easily be had at restaurants within walking distance from campus.

For more information and application instructions write to:
Professor Terence Tunberg

Edited to Add...The Dickinson Latin Camp and The Conventiculum Dickinsoniense will be held back to back, which makes it even easier for those of you who would like to attend both!!!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Two Classics Programs, Different Outlooks

The Chicago Flame, which serves the University of Illinois at Chicago campus, asks in its current edition, "Will the Classics Department Survive?" According to the article, the department is in a period of "transition" and faces the loss of both the Greek and Latin major courses.

Meanwhile, The Hawk, the student newspaper of St. Joseph's University, a Catholic Jesuit school in Philadelphia, today sings the praises of their Classics department in "Keeping it Classy: Classics Majors Experience a Unique, Intimate Program."

Post-Bulletin Teacher of the Month

Ellen Sassenberg, who teaches Latin at Mayo High School in Rochester, Minnesota, has been named the Post-Bulletin teacher of the month.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Belated Halloween

Unfortunately, this comes a bit late for this year's holiday, but for those of you who are still in the Halloween spirit, or for those of you who are hyperorganized and already planning for next year, Archaeology magazine recently ran a series of online feature articles centered around "the archaeology of Halloween, witches and witchcraft, creatures of the night, and ancient curses and magic." Archaeology is an official publication of the Archaeological Institute of America.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Look Up Latin Words and Make the World a Better Place!

It used to be that Latin students and teachers could only dream of owning a copy of A Latin Dictionary: Founded on Andrews' Edition of Freund's Latin Dictionary: Revised, Enlarged, and in Great Part Rewritten by Charlton T. Lewis, Ph.D. and Charles Short, LL.D. Retailing at $240, this authoritative reference has been out of reach for most poor but proud Classicists, who have had to make do with a school or departmental copy.

Now, Latin students and teachers can consult Lewis and Short whenever they want! And they don't have to carry around a five pound book either!

Latin teacher and entrepreneur Clint Hagen of A Third Way Technologies (a3w) has created a wonderful new version of this Latin dictionary, Glossa, which has both web-based and desktop capabilities! And it's free (thanks to a Creative Commons license), though the author does ask that you consider making a charitable donation to one of his favorite worthy causes, if you find the software useful.

The content of the dictionary is in the public domain, having been published in 1879, but until recently only available as a rather unwieldy tome! Web 2.0 has led to the creation of Glossa, as well as other virtual versions of this venerable reference (notably Lexidium for the iPhone/iPod Touch).

According to A3W's homepage, "Glossa combines a unique interface with a commitment to full exploration of a Latin word's possible meanings. The type-ahead suggest feature allows words to be found easily as you type, and the database gives you full definitions of words, including examples from Latin literature and etymologies. The sidebar shows you where you are in the dictionary, giving you the ten words before the current entry and the ten words after." This is a wonderful feature, building in the look and feel of a traditional dictionary, while adapting it to modern technology!

You can even hyperlink to dictionary entries, which I think will definitely also prove quite useful!

magnĭfĭcē! (the adverbial form of magnĭfĭcus, courtesy of Glossa!) Well done, A3W! (Glossa even supplies macrons and breves!)

Visit A Third Way Technologies and try it out for yourself!