χαίρετε, ὦ μαθηταί - chairete, ō mathētai! Hello, students!
I'm beyond excited that we'll be learning some Greek together this summer! This will be your chance to figure out what all those "squiggly letters" mean, other than being weird symbols from math class. Remember what it was like to learn Latin for the first time, including some of the games we can play in an online environment! Not to mention all of the similarities you'll find between Latin and Ancient Greek!
Our focus in Ancient Greek class will be on building vocabulary and reading. We'll do a little bit of grammar along the way, but it won't be the center of our attention. And since we can't do much with the language until we understand the alphabet, we'll start Academy today with a mini-session on the Greek letters - and yes, I'm going to make you sing the alphabet song, even though you're on the other side of a Zoom screen. 🤗
After that, we'll dive into a small sampling of stories from Ancient Greek literature, tackling a different genre every day. First up - Homer's Odyssey to give us a flavor of epic poetry: it'll be Odysseus in Polyphemus' cave. Then we'll read a few scenes from a tragedy with Aeschylus' Agamemnon and explore what happens when Klytemnestra sees Agamemnon return from Troy (hint: she's pretty mad... oi moi!). On our last day, we'll explore the genre of comedy with Aristophanes' The Birds, where we're building a safe haven for birds in Nephelekokkugia ("Cloud-Cuckoo-Land").
Each of these stories will play off of our theme for Academy this year - colamus humanitatem. What does it mean to be human, how do you protect humanity, and what do birds have to tell us about ourselves? Whether you've read some Greek before or not, there's something here for everyone as we journey into Ancient Greek together!
-- Mr. Jefferson, your διδάσκαλος
salvete homines !
magister Cavedo adsum. I am very excited to be giving our theme lecture on colamus humanitatem this summer. In a typical, in-person summer, the theme lecture is at the end of the first full day (tonight!) and is all about setting the tone and getting things off to a good start. In virtual academy, the theme lecture is the very last activity and allows me to have the last word on our theme after you all have worked out your wonderful theme projects and taken these amazing classes with our fabulous instructors. Until then, I encourage you to think about all the different ideas colamus humanitatem could mean, in particular the verb colamus, from general to specific, from literal to abstract. Translation is interpretation and while we need not commit to any one translation of our theme we want to consider as many interpretations as possible with a clear mind and open heart.
Another fun new activity is the afternoon reading group. Each afternoon you will rotate through the reading of a short passage with each of the instructors related to both their class and the theme. I am excited to share the text that our theme comes from with you this week!
Thank you for making this academy special! See you soon.
Salvete omnes! Hope you all are as excited for the Academy to start as I am. A word of advice: get yourself in on the discord conversations! I’m new to Discord myself, but it’s really easy and simple to get the hang of. Check out the “Media” channel if you wanna chat about music, films, podcasts etc. Pop in on the “fine-arts” section to talk visual arts and performative arts. Or chat sports in the “sports” channel if that’s more your speed. Get on discord for all the good stuff. Memes. Conversations in Latin. Gaming. The bottom line: Break out of your comfort zone, see who shares common interests with you, generate some fire memes, and pick up some killer recommendations from your new friends at Academy this week.
In the vein of breaking outside your comfort zones, get excited for my elective on Classical Reception in Colonial-era Mexico! I never got the chance to learn about anything like this when I was in high school but I think it’s super interesting to learn about how Greco-Roman antiquity has had a heavy impact (for better or worse? TBD...) waayyyyy beyond the Mediterranean world over the past couple millennia. Hope to see you there :)
Lizzie the RA
Looks like it's about time to get this show on the road! Latin Academy is always one of my favorite times of the year. It's a great opportunity to just nerd out about all sorts of Classics-related stuff with a group of people who are really interested in what I love to teach! We've got a pretty killer program set up for you all, and I hope you all are as excited as I am. Though people often meme on the Latin teachers for teaching 2000+ year old material, we're actually a pretty hip crew...wait, do the children still call things "hip?" You know what, no nevermind, it doesn't matter! Your lessons will likely be a little more varied and interesting than in a traditional school year, and we'll be taking advantage of all sorts of digital resources and games to make sure you get the most out of the next two weeks.
So, that said, ALL ABOARD THE HYPE TRAIN, WOO WOO!!! It's Latin Academy time beginning tomorrow morning! If you're impatient, some people are already starting to filter into the Discord. Come on in, the water is fine! It's definitely not a river of fire or forgetfulness or...
Numismatics, Epigraphy, and dating methods... Oh my!
In the archaeology class we will be exploring our theme, Colamus Humanitatem, from several angles. The first is the most straightforward: how does the study of cultural, material remains help us understand what it has meant to be human across time and space. To those ends, we will examine the impacts of imperialism both on the colonizer and the colonized by looking at several types of sources about Trajan's Dacian Wars. These include written accounts, archaeological remains from Dacia, and Roman propaganda in coins and monumental structures. We will also be learning how to read coin and inscription abbreviations.
The second layer of the class is to learn how archaeology works and how that process has changed over time. Since archaeology has played an intrinsic role in how we study humanity over the past two centuries, we will interrogate the procedures for limitations and bias. This will ultimately help us better understand how we have constructed and nurtured the narrative of humanity.
Finally, we will question who has been left out of the narrative entirely and how that impacts us as a discipline and a society. For a preview, check out National Geographic's in-depth analysis of Trajan's Column.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments below.
Snakes, spiders, ravenous dogs, oh my! And these things used to be human, you say?
This summer, our theme is COLAMVS HVMANITATEM. With your theme projects, you will explore exactly what this means. That being said, my hope is that in this class we will discover what happens when our theme is absent. What happens when we strip someone of their humanity?
In this course, we will critically examine monsters. We are going to do a deep dive into monster theory: what makes them scary, what connects them, what makes them popular, and what makes them…human. Monsters, after all, are our children. We created them, so we should learn what they represent to each of us.
Each class, we will study a set of thesis statements concerning monsters. We will look at some modern examples before critically examining classical monsters via Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Specifically, the stories and mythology of Medusa, Arachne, and Scylla will be our primary lens to look through as we examine the implications of Ovid’s text. Additionally, we will explore some of our own fears and experiences that have shaped our conceptions of humanity and monstrosity.
Sounds heavy, right? Noli timere! As much as monsters can be scary or dark, we are going to have a lot of fun together. I personally can’t wait to hear the stories and connections you all make to your experiences and interests. The beautiful thing about monsters is that they are always evolving, catering themselves to each cultural moment and context. And sometimes things get hilariously weird… I’m looking at you Tribbles!
You don’t need to do any prep work beforehand, other than having your notes and minds ready to begin. I am looking forward to seeing you all soon!
This blog with document the 2021 session of the Virginia Governor's Latin Academy.