It's JP here, one of the TA's for the Academy this summer, and I wanted give y'all a little taste of what my elective this summer is going to be.
I will be discussing ancient Roman puns, word play, and little hidden riddles! Back when I attended Academy in 2016, a guest speaker came and delivered a lecture on Latin puns. Ever since, I have been addicted to any and every instance of ancient, witty turns of phrase. Ranging from authors like Plautus, through Vergil, all the way up through the middle ages, the writers of Latin literature snuck in little gems for their readers to find, and I want to expose you to those gems so you can start to find them for yourself!
In my lecture, I will show a few famous examples of puns and word puzzles (or rebuses as they are known by scholars), and then introduce a gold mine of word play, Petronius's Satyricon. We'll then look at two examples of puns from the Satyricon and discuss a passage that is filled with little rebuses. As a useful tangent, I will also introduce y'all to the apparatus criticus, a helpful tool for truly studying any Latin passage. Lastly, we'll finish up with two passages in which you get to try to find the word play! I'll go over them at the end so it will be okay if you don't see them right away. My hope is to open your eyes to the world of Latin puns so that you can be on the look out and find them in any of the works that you read!
I look forward to meeting you all!
- JP Wilusz
Salvete amici amicaeque!
Magistra Miller here, along with an old friend, Suetonius, to help me introduce my Latin Academy lesson, entitled Monimenta Romana.
urbem neque pro maiestate imperii ornatam et inundationibus incendiisque obnoxiam excoluit adeo,
ut iure sit gloriatus marmoream se relinquere, quam latericiam accepisset.
Finding Rome’s architecture both lacking in imperial dignity and prone to floods and fires, Augustus
improved the city so greatly that he could rightly boast to have found it sun-baked brick and left it
Suetonius, De Vitae Caesarum, Divus Augustus, 28.3
In my lesson, Monimenta Romana, we will take a glance at a handful of monuments in the city of Rome, while using ancient texts, like this passage from Suetonius, as our major source of information and commentary. Because of the quantity and influence of Augustus’ building projects, we will largely be studying works of architecture built under his reign.
We will focus less on the technical architectural aspects of these buildings, and more on their status as monuments, structures which are meant to serve as reminders, from the Latin monere. We will begin to answer questions such as how did powerful Romans use structures to send messages? What did these intended messages tell us about the Roman people? What can we learn from ancient texts about structures with minimal ruins?
Along the way, we may also encounter some history, some poetry, some Roman daily life, some emperor-mocking, and some GREEK. I’m looking forward to taking this tour with you, and I can’t wait to meet you all, and discuss these questions further!
It's Mr. Jefferson, and I'd love to give you a little taste of my Latin Academy class. We'll be talking about copying, stealing, reusing, repurposing - what is plagiarism, and what is originality? Is it possible to reuse someone else's work without just feeling derivative?
There's a famous line from Picasso, "good artists copy, great artists steal." (There's plenty of other versions of this quote from other people, like Igor Stravinsky and Steve Jobs. So make of that what you will...) The idea is that if you make a weak imitation of something, people will always think of how the original was better. But if you steal it, make it "your own" (while still reminding people about the original), you can create truly great art.
This is one of the inherent questions of "intertextuality" and "models." Through my class, I hope that you'll have a chance to explore the idea of intertextual allusions and literary analysis.
We'll start by reading an episode one of the earliest epic poems in existence - Homer's Iliad. Set towards the end of the Trojan War, it's a war story. Patroclus kills Sarpedon, Hector kills Patroclus, and Achilles kills Hector because of Patroclus' death. Then we'll read an episode from the quintessential Roman epic poem, Vergil's Aeneid. Set during Aeneas' attempt to settle a new city, it's another war story. Pallas kills Italians, Turnus kills Pallas, and Aeneas kills Turnus because of Pallas's death.
Vergil is using a well-known storyline from the Iliad (and Sarpedon's name even gets mentioned!), so is Vergil just copying Homer? Why would he want to use a Homeric storyline? What is Vergil trying to accomplish by making us think about Homer?
Like Mr. Gallagher, one of the things that originally drew me to Classics was reading mythology. But as I read more, I learned that mythology really is literature - authors would write stories, and put their own spin on the myth. So on Wednesday, we'll read some mythology together and talk about why Vergil wrote his story the way that he did.
Get ready to dive into some authors of mythology! I look forward to working with you all this week!
-- Mr. Jefferson
Thank you for your patience while the Latin Academy staff worked to get everything set up for our first ever Latin Academy online! There are a couple of things you need to do by midnight tomorrow (Friday, June 19):
1. Join our Google Classroom. Please check your email for the code. Some of your email addresses may not be compatible with GC. This will almost certainly be the case if you're using an email address provided by your school. If you try to sign up and it says you can't, you will need to use a different email address. If you don't have another email address, you will need to create one.
2. Create a Zoom account if you don't have one already.
3. Send me the email address you use for Zoom in the Google form sent in the email. You MUST be logged into your Zoom account when we have Zoom meetings.
4. Change your last name in your Zoom account to just your last initial. This is hugely important for privacy issues! Also make sure your first name in your Zoom account is the name you want us to call you.
5. Watch the orientation video on GC and check out the other materials in the GLA Online Orientation.
Our first mandatory Zoom meeting is on Monday! I will answer any questions about the curriculum, procedures, etc. during that meeting. If you have technical issues or other questions, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Salve! It's Lexi Harrell, one of your TA's for the academy this summer! When I was in high school, I obviously knew that women in the ancient world wrote (at least the wealthy women), but I could not name one woman, let alone read any of their work; I was introduced to my first woman writer, Sulpicia, just in the past year! Once I read her, I decided to learn more about these women and how esteemed those writers were, although we today may not even know their names.
For my elective, I decided to delve into this topic more, allowing myself to do some more research into some amazing Greek and Roman women writers. We will look at some women who wrote as early as 600 BCE, and some as late as the 430s AD. These women wrote all sorts of different genre's, but it seems that a lot of their work did not survive today. Those that did, however, we will look at through translation and the original. This is more of an overview and introduction to some amazing women, and I know that a whole elective could be focused on just one woman; however, I wanted to open your minds first and see if you are as interested as I am.
We start with the love poet Sappho, and end with the Christian Empress Aelia Eudocia, and a whole bunch in between. We will see how some information about these women are recounted by other male travel writers, mainly Pausanias and Suetonius. And finally, we will get to hear a voice that is not heard often. I really hope you enjoy it and enjoy the ability to reflect on what some of these women did. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me!
Gratias tibi ago!!!
Mr. Gallagher here! I love mythology, and I was originally drawn to Classics in the first place because of the wonderfully rich stories of authors like Ovid and Homer. As I learned more and more about mythology, I grew enamored with Medea in particular. I loved her growth as a character, and that lead me to want to learn more about her, and in turn, more about the other witches and magical women of the ancient world.
While many of you may have heard of the most famous mythological witches like Medea or Circe, there are a number of other really cool magical women from the ancient world that get overlooked. In my class, I'll be showing you some of these witches (such as Lucan's Erictho or Horace's Canidia) while exploring the very idea of a witch itself and the perception of witches in both the ancient and modern world.
We'll be looking at everything from laws to gravestones to epic poetry to elegiac poetry in our quest to understand the Roman witch. Some of the witches will be focused on making love potions, while others will be gathering morbid ingredients to draw the moon down from the sky or even resurrect the dead! Buckle up, it's going to get a little bit spooky!
This is Noah Cogan, one of the newest Latin Academy teachers on the block, coming to you with a description of my class this summer.
As I mentioned in my introductory video, the title and, to a certain extent, the substance of my class is inspired by Billie Eilish’s song “Bad Guy.” According to Eilish, she wrote the song to make fun of how individuals present themselves. In an interview with 102.7KIISFM she states “if you’re going around all the time saying like, ‘Yeah, I’m bad, I’m always breaking rules, and doing this and doing that.’ You’re not.”
Like most people listening to “Bad Guy,” I was immediately reminded of the portrayal of villains in Roman historical literature (I’m honestly surprised that Billie Eilish didn’t reference this in her interview, but her true fans get it). When I read Livy’s account of the Punic Wars, Sallust’s description of the Catilinarian conspiracy or Caesar’s sketch of the Gallic Wars, what strikes me most is the way in which each author portrays the major antagonist in each conflict. Livy, Sallust and Caesar portray Hannibal, Catiline and Vercingetorix respectively as not altogether evil. Instead we read a mixed characterization as each author creates space in their text for a discussion of what, in their eyes, are the positive traits and actions of these villains.
In my lecture, I will provide you with a brief description of each author and their work. Then we will examine their characterizations of these villains in detail, looking particularly at word choice and how descriptions of the antagonists compare to those of the protagonists. Finally, we will draw our conclusions about the reasons for these nuanced portrayals and reflect on what we can learn from them and apply to our everyday lives.
Thanks for taking the time to read about my class and I look forward to meeting you all later this summer.
This is Lead TA Sallie Blanks and I am here to tell you about my elective this summer.
Electives are sort of mini classes that the TAs create for you to enjoy, usually on topics we find interesting within classics. You have a choice of which elective you want to watch, but I encourage you to check them all out. You won’t regret it--sine dubio!
This year mine will be all about Hollywood films whitewashing the Mediterranean. I say Mediterranean because we will talk about ancient Greece, Rome, AND Egypt in film. And if you’re saying to yourself, “What is whitewashing?” or maybe, “What’s the big deal? Rome and Greece were and are white…” DEI is this the elective for you. And I don’t mean that in a bad way— I actually chose to teach this topic because I had zero exposure to it when I was a student at academy. So if you have no exposure to talking about whitewashing, film, or race, noli timere! I would love for you to participate.
What we will essentially do is first talk about what whitewashing is, then dive into a condensed, very brief history of race studies in classes just to dip your toes in the water. We will watch a couple clips from movies and talk about them. Of course, this is a prerecorded lecture, so I will offer you the chance to pause the video and share your thoughts on a google doc or peardeck before offering some of my own.
So why should we care about whitewashing? Why does the portrayal of people of color or lack thereof matter in film? What preconceived notions do we have about the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians because of their media portrayals? And what can we do about it? It’s my hope that we will explore these questions together and provide some clarity on each one. Keep in mind, nil humani alienum. We may be diving into more familiar territory than you think. I added a little preview below.
Can’t wait to meet you all in a few weeks!
This blog will document the MMXX virtual session of the Virginia Governor's Latin Academy.