This summer I will be teaching an interdisciplinary course about Greek and Roman art and literature in the age of the Julio-Claudian emperor Nero called oderint dum metuant. In this class we will (1) practice reciting Latin poetry with selections from Lucan's epic Bellum Civile, (2) situate the elaborate and exquisitely decorated fresco mural paintings that are preserved in Nero's domus aurea within the larger context of ancient Greek and Roman painting, (3) cultivate Latin left-to-right reading strategies and apply them to Pliny the Elder's anecdotes about Greek artists, and (4) develop the ability to articulate a specific written position as economically as possible.
Each class will begin with a brief selection from Lucan's Bellum Civile, which is an epic poem about the civil war between Julius Caesar and Pompey the Great that was written during the early years of Nero's reign, in order to develop an understanding and appreciation of the artistic qualities of Roman poetry. After an introduction to the domus aurea on the first day, we will spend several classes investigating the surviving visual evidence, as well as scientific analyses and reconstructions, of Greek and Roman tomb, panel, statue, and wall paintings in order to shed light on the function, significance, and reception of Neronian art in first century Rome. Each lesson on ancient painting will be accompanied by a short Latin anecdote about a Greek artist from Pliny the Elder's post-Neronian Natural History that will reveal imperial Roman artistic tastes and aesthetic notions of ancient Greek and Roman art and also provide an example of accessible and delightful Latin prose for the practice of left-to-right reading strategies. Finally, we will end each class with a short writing exercise, i.e. less than or equal to one sentence, related to the questions raised by the materials covered in the day's lesson so that you may improve your ability to articulate an original, direct, and targeted position concerning the relevant images, texts, and issues with the utmost clarity, specificity, and nuance.
There are no prerequisites or assignments to complete before you arrive, and, other than the sufficiently advanced grasp of Latin grammar and syntax required to earn admission to the Latin Academy, I assume no prior knowledge of any of these topics, authors, or works. I imagine that much, if not all, of what I described above might be entirely new to you and that is totally okay. It is my hope to introduce you to new ideas and concepts related to what you already know so that you enjoy the opportunity both to acquire new knowledge and also to deconstruct whatever preconceptions you might have about Nero, art, or literature.
I am looking forward to meeting and getting to know all of you. Latin Academy is my favorite but it wouldn't be a thing if it weren't for the amazing and fantastic students we have the opportunity to teach. I hope the end of your school year goes well and that you enjoy what little vacation you get before Latin Academy begins.
This blog will document the MMXVII session of the Virginia Governor's Latin Academy. After elections are held, the aediles will be responsible for its upkeep.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgOffice Phone: (804) 496-1589
c/o Governor's Latin Academy
P.O. Box 5005
Ashland, VA 23005
Download these and use them to help with packing:
GLA Clothing Checklist
GLA Essentials Checklist
GLA School Supplies & Optional Checklist
Again, these are not required and I would only get one from each category, if any.
a. Conversational Latin for Oral Proficiency
b. Cassell's Concise Latin-English, English-Latin Dictionary
c. Collins Latin Concise Dictionary
a. Homeric Greek: A Book for Beginners
b. Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon Abridged
c. Pocket Oxford Classical Greek Dictionary
Daily Life Books
a. Everyday Life in Ancient Rome
b. Peoples of the Roman World
c. A Day in the Life of Ancient Rome
d. Daily Life in the Roman City
You will need Roman clothing for several of our activities. You might not always have much time between these events, so you might want to bring more than one outfit.
An Overview I & II
Simple Tunica, Stola, and Palla Patterns
Legio XX's Civilian Clothing
Another Simple Dress Pattern
Simple Tunic and Toga Patterns
Legio XX's Military Clothing
Officers of the Academy
Censors: Xavier W. and Frances H.
Consuls: Hannah K. and Sayeed A.
Praetor: Jake B. and Claire M.
Aedile: Britney P. and Caroline M. (that’s us!)
Tribune: Ana S. and Min Jae K.
Quaestor: Anna L. and Charlie M-B