Thank you so much for an amazing and fantastic two weeks of online Latin Academy! On Friday, we had our final optional discussion session to talk about this year's theme nil humani alienum, after students had presented their projects and watched the theme lecture on Thursday. The discussion was well attended, interesting, and insightful (for those who could not make it, the recording is available to watch). Students who did not attend the discussion submitted amazing and wonderful written responses to the theme lecture. Some students also submitted memes, which appear below.
Most students were intrigued by the different potential translations of the theme presented in the theme lecture. The translation of even a single word can make a profound difference in the interpretation of even a seemingly simple Latin phrase like our theme.
Many students thought deeply about the idea that the meaning of words, both in Latin and English, is not fixed. Terms like "classical" often convey attitudes and assumptions about what qualifies as a 'classic' when a phrase like "ancient Mediterranean" would be not only more specific and accurate but also more inclusive and interesting.
Some students expressed their conviction that the theme is in fact a universal statement of humanism and cosmopolitanism. Although the line occurs in a comedy, and may even be a joke, the line is written is such a way that this interpretation is not only valid and inspiring, but also may be part of what makes the joke funny.
Other students observed that, while our theme could be adapted to a sentiment like "we are all equal," this interpretation might overlook the everyday inequalities of our contemporary world. Although our theme does capture the anthropological fact of our shared human ancestry, this common humanity requires that we look for and correct inequalities created and sustained by humans.
In the end, these responses themselves were a great example that nil humani alienum. Thank you all so much for the opportunity of learning from you these past two weeks and in particular your interesting and insightful investigation of our very special theme.
ave atque vale!
This blog will document the MMXX virtual session of the Virginia Governor's Latin Academy.