GLA TAs SUMUS!
On Tuesday, the 2020 GLA Electives went LIVE. Each TA created a lecture for the students to be able to pick which topic appealed most to them. The topics included women writers, whitewashing, and word puzzles. Academy students were encouraged to watch as many as they wanted, however were required to watch at least one. They were also given some optional engagement pieces to weigh in on some of the questions posed by the lectures.
Although the engagement piece was optional, many of the students still responded and we were very impressed with the overall participation.
Lexi on Ancient Women Writers responses:
Students responded to questions regarding the credibility of stories written by other sources, since it is very uncommon to have any actual literature surviving today.
Below are some responses regarding the story of Telesilla of Argos told to us by Pausanias:
“Too often, minorities and women are only seen as 2 dimensional figures. I feel that knowing both her bravery in the scenario and her talents in the arts are necessary to showcasing the complexity and capabilities of women that were not really accepted at the time.” -awesome Latin Academy Student
“I think this story is interesting because it really characterizes Telesilla as formidable andalmost masculine since she was able to defend her city better than the men in the military who were killed by the Spartan army. Her power in and of itself makes her appear more masculine; however, her strength isn’t physical, it’s more-so mental, taking on a more traditionally feminine quality. Maybe this story sets up the possibility that Sappho has the power to influence others without physical violence and that her intelligence and emotional resolve is more influential than brutality and ferocity. I think this story in some ways vaguely alludes to her talent for poetry as it shows Telesilla’s mental strength and thoughtfulness.” -terrific Latin Academy student
Below are some responses regarding Aelia Eudocia, who may have been banished by her husband on claims of adultery:
“To me the story sounds very apocryphal, especially considering the already notable connection in Christianity between apples and women committing grave sins that get them banished. But I think it definitely gives some insight into how women were treated and the high standards to which they were held by Christian society. Even within the story, she was essentially banished because too many people regifted an apple. Though that is supposed to be indicative of her infidelity, it is still a very large punishment for an alleged crime.” -astonishing Latin Academy student
Sallie on Hollywood Whitewashing the Mediterranean responses:
Whitewashing is a difficult topic to talk about for anyone, and it was so encouraging to me to hear from so many students who were willing to discuss it with me. It was hard to pick out just a few comments to share, as there were so many gems.
When discussing 300: “One main thing I noticed is that the ‘good guy’ in stories like these is always white, and the ‘bad guy’ are always foreign, and often times of color. This pushes a one sided narrative that villainizes people of color, while upholding fairer people as the good guys. The Persian character is characterized as very ‘exotic’ and having a near god status, almost other-worldly. This characterization drives a sentiment of ‘otherness’ about the Persian king in comparison to the spartan character, which could have negative affects on peoples perceptions of those belonging to a similar racial/cultural group.” -wonderful Latin Academy Student
When discussing Cleopatra: “The Sphinx-Bearers are clearly coded as if American slaves, performing inordinate labor for a single mistress, dressed in garb meant to humiliate, all indication of the individual removed… We are not meant to see the Sphinx-Bearers as royal servants, but we are meant to see them as slaves.” -amazing Latin Academy Student
When discussing Exodus: Gods and Kings: “Another part of this is religious- we see this with white portrayals of Jesus, many of the apostles, and the Jewish people- they were from the middle East and weren’t white, but white Europeans have an easier time accepting their religious forebears as one of their own.” -incredible Latin Academy Student
When discussing what to do about it: “Whitewashing is a problem because it is unfair for people of color to lose their history. Furthermore, children grow up without seeing their skin on screen or in toys, teaching them lighter skin is better. It is extremely racist and ignorant to have a white person play a role meant for a person of color. In order to help end whitewashing, we need the school system to teach children about the actual history without it glorifying white people. In addition, rolls that are meant for people of color will be casted correctly, and toys will come in different races and ethnicities.” -inspiring Latin Academy Student
JP on Latin Puns, Wordplay, and Puzzles responses:
Here are some of my favorite comments from students about Latin puns.
“Talking about Vergil's pun on the Iliad: We had a nice lecture on how Vergil used Homer as a reference for many of his stories, but discovering this little word play made it 10x better. It was also interesting because it was like Vergil wasn’t trying to hide the fact that he was referencing Homer, as if he wasn’t concerned with being accused of plagiarizing.” -stupedous Latin Academy Student
“My favorite of all the puns shown in the video was the simple “Carpe, Carpe!” pun. It reminds me very much of the experiences I had with the Latin teacher at my school... Even though I do not remember specific examples, seeing this pun (along with the Quintus one at the end, which is similar in a way, relating to the silly Roman names), sparked the memories of the many times my teacher and I would come up with puns that drew a groan out of the both of us. I am both a lover and a hater of puns, and it is one of the many reasons I fell in love with Latin; it’s even easier to find word plays within it than the stupidly complex English language.” -awe-inspiring Latin Academy Student
“The apparatus criticus can further understanding of a Latin passage because it shares various ideas of text from various different people. It helps to display what others thought of the text, and can help a reader try to get a better grasp of the reading. It’s almost like a footnote, which gives different alternatives that help to support the context that the story/message was in, which can help a reader understand it from more of a modern perspective. With this, a reader can adequately read a Latin passage and make sure that they truly understand what is happening because they’re given the various ways to translate a word or phrase in the best possible way.” -magnificent Latin Academy Student
Big GRATIAS to the awesome students who engaged with our lessons. Your personalities and insight make this online academy feel like an in-person academy, and we couldn’t be more grateful for that.
We are excited to see the students’ theme projects in the coming days to cap off a wonderful academy.
This blog will document the MMXX virtual session of the Virginia Governor's Latin Academy.