Monday, December 29, 2008

2009 National Mythology Exam

If you haven't registered for the 2009 National Mythology Exam, the deadline is fast approaching. The National Mythology Exam is sponsored by ETClassics, Excellence Through Classics, a standing committee of the American Classical League. Forms are due on January 15, 2009 and a study bibliography will be sent upon registration receipt.

The National Mythology Exam is a multiple choice exam designed for grades 3-9. It is also open to students in grades 10-12. Many English, art, social studies and history teachers include this exam as part of their yearly curriculum. The NME consists of a 30-item basic exam plus additional sub-tests, based upon the student's grade level. Visit the ETClassics website for complete information, including sample test questions, packet previews, internet resources, and much more!

ETClassics also sponsors the Exploratory Latin Exam, which closes its registration on March 1, 2009.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Felicem Diem Christi Natalem Omnibus Exopto!

(Merry Christmas to Everyone!)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bless Your Ipod with Some Latin!

According to USA Today, the Vatican has given its blessing to the iBreviary, an add-on application for the Iphone and Ipod Touch that assists the faithful, especially ordained clergy, in praying the Liturgy of the Hours.  This daily prayer includes the office, lauds, daytime prayer, vespers and compline.  

Currently, iBreviary supports five languages for the main part of the program -- including Latin -- with plans for additional languages to be added.  Unfortunately, only Italian seems to be supported in the additional features which link daily Mass readings and traditional Catholic prayers, though updates are planned.  iBreviary is currently available in iTunes App Store for 99 cents.  

Read Sacred Texts: Vatican Embraces iTunes Prayer Book. (USA Today, December 23, 2008)

Also available for the iPhone & iPod Touch is Holy Rosary, which is a fully functioning graphically-based virtual rosary.  This program includes the text of standard Rosary prayers in Latin, as well as English, Spanish, Italian and French. 

Not religious in nature are a variety of other widgets in the iTunes App Store: Latin-English mini-dictionaries, quotation and poetry collections, and a Roman Numeral converter.

Friday, December 19, 2008

O Abies! (O Christmas Tree!)

Nuntii Latini, the weekly Latin news from Finland, reports on the Arbor Natalicia Vaticana (the Vatican Christmas tree). There's also a story, De Muneribus Nataliciis (Regarding Christmas Gifts), which describes some of the presents Europeans are giving to each other this year. You can also find free audio podcasts of past Nuntii Latini programs on Apple Itunes.

Also, don't miss seeing Olympia, the world's Tallest Snow Woman. Olympia is, of course, named after Mount Olympus, the home of the Greek pantheon of mythological gods and goddesses. (Gratias tibi ago to Melissa Bishop of Creative Classical Curriculum for this link!)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Playmobil Romans Know Latin!

Our Playmobil Roman Arena set arrived! We bought the smaller set and decided to get some extra Roman soldiers nd gladiators to go along with it. Plus the Roman family, which we will name Caecilius, Metella, Quintus and Caecilia.

While wrapping the arena to put under the Christmas tree, we realized that the parchment that the Caesar character holds has some actual Latin on it. It's a list of Latin maxims including "Alea iacta est," "Dum spiro, spero," "In hoc signo, vinces," "Repetitio est mater studiorum," "Primus inter pares," "Fiat lux," "Quod erat demonstrandum," "De gustibus non est disputandum," and several others.

Very, very cool! Excellent attention to detail!

Io Saturnalia!

Today is December 17, the day that the ancient Romans began celebrating their week-long winter festival, Saturnalia, during which time schools and businesses closed, fans attended gladiator games, presents were exchanged (especially candles, according to William Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities), and parties took place at all levels of Roman society.

Sound familiar?

Of course, not everyone celebrated the Roman winter holiday by gaming or feasting. Pliny the Younger writes in Epistula II.17 about withdrawing to his sitting room to read and study quietly while the rest of his household made merry.

For Christmas and Saturnalia ideas, see previous Latinteach blog entries labeled Holidays.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Classical Christmas

There are just a few more days before Christmas break and winter holidays begin. Here are two more sites you may find useful for December planning.

The Association for Latin Teaching (ArLT) has a brilliant collection of resources for Classics teachers planning Christmas celebrations, including Latin carols, a selection of Nativity readings excerpted from the Vulgate Bible, plus the "Messianic Eclogue" from Vergil, greetings, quotations and clip art for cardmaking, as well as some factual information about the Roman Saturnalia.

If you're looking for some religious Christmas lyrics, the Latin Library's Christian Latin Hymni et Cantica has several songs appropriate for the season.

See all Latinteach blog entries labeled Holidays.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

No Escape from Pompeii

Discovery Channel News reports the reconstruction of the final hours of a prominent Pompeii family who perished following the 79 AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius, by analyzing the layers of volcanic ash and examining the DNA from skeletons found in the home. This is a perfect opportunity to show the connection between science and the study of Latin and the Classics. This article is accompanied by some excellent links to a slideshow and podcast and extension activities. Latin teachers who use the Cambridge Latin Course Unit I will find this reconstruction particularly relevant, but it will be of interest to anyone fascinated by life in Ancient Rome. A great deal of our modern understanding of the Ancient Romans comes from the archaeological evidence excavated at Pompeii and Herculaneum, in combination with accounts from historical and literary texts (see Pliny VI, 16, 20 for a Latin language account of the catastrophe.)

If you live near or will be travelling to Washington D.C. this winter, the National Gallery of Art is hosting Pompeii and the Roman Villa, a major exhibition featuring art, objects and artifacts pertaining to the disaster. Visit the NGA site for video background, exhibition guides, links to podcasts from behind the scenes, and information about related tours, lectures and talks.

Friday, December 12, 2008

More Christmas and Saturnalia Suggestions!

Ancient Roman nobility enjoyed feasting on stuffed dormice. However, it's likely that your students would prefer these chocolate Christmas Eve Mice from A Taste of Home cooking magazine. If you're looking for an authentic recipe (the ancient Romans didn't have chocolate), A Taste of Ancient Rome by Ilaria Gozzini Giacosa (translated by Anna Herklotz) includes one.

By the way, Caroline Lawrence, author of the Roman Mysteries series has completely redesigned her website. Your students will enjoy the first installment of her new online newsletter "Dormouse." This month features a fun quiz with questions that show the parallels between our modern Christmas celebration and the Roman Saturnalia.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Who Says Rome Wasn't Built in a Day?

You can build Rome in your very own house on Christmas morning!

We ordered the Playmobil Romans for Christmas! Playmobil is a German toy maker that designs high quality playsets that include medieval castles, modern cities, zoos and much more. This year, they have released a set that includes the Colosseum, a Roman naval ship, gladiators, a Roman family, and of course, Gauls and barbarians.