Monday, May 27, 2013
What is it about your field that is fascinating to you?
Reading ancient Roman literature is so thrilling to me because it is a way of communicating with people from the past. It is exciting to hear those ancient voices, and important too, since they wrestled with many of the same political and philosophical problems that we still do today.
What is it about the classics that means people still take the subject?
If people are interested in ancient history, archaeology, the history of literature, or Christian theology, then a grounding in Latin and Greek is important. But I also teach a popular course in Boston called 'The World of Rome' for students who have no prior experience in studying the ancient world, on day-to-day life in ancient Rome. Most of my students will go on to major in science or engineering or economics, yet they also love being immersed for a time in a world so different from their own. How did Romans protect themselves from malaria? What kind of insurance did Romans have? What were Roman views on educating women? These are some of the questions my students had this semester, and they all raise fascinating issues.
Do you encounter many people who think classics is not a worthwhile pursuit? How do you respond to them?
Classics is important not simply because it helps you to understand the origins of our language and culture. It also challenges you to understand the ideas and values of people distant from yourself, whom you will never get a chance to meet face-to-face. That kind of empathy and imagination is truly valuable in the 21st century world.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
- affero: to bring to, report, announce
- aufero: to take away, remove, steal
- circumfero: to carry around, spread around, divulge
- confero: to bring together, collect, discuss
- defero: to carry down, transfer,
- differo: to postone, delay, put off, scatter, disperse
- infero: to bring in, carry in, import
- offero: to offer, present
- perfero: to carry through, endure, suffer
- refero: to bring back, withdraw, return, report
- suffero: to bear, endure, suffer
- transfero: to transport, convey, carry across
Thursday, April 4, 2013
'utere sorte tua. miseri te si qua parentis
tangere cura potest, oro (fuit et tibi talis
Anchises genitor) Dauni miserere senectae
et me, seu corpus spoliatum lumine mavis, 935
redde meis. vicisti et victum tendere palmas
Ausonii videre; tua est Lavinia coniunx,
ulterius ne tende odiis.' stetit acer in armis
Aeneas volvens oculos dextramque repressit;
et iam iamque magis cunctantem flectere sermo 940
coeperat, infelix umero cum apparuit alto
balteus et notis fulserunt cingula bullis
Pallantis pueri, victum quem vulnere Turnus
straverat atque umeris inimicum insigne gerebat.
ille, oculis postquam saevi monimenta doloris 945
exuviasque hausit, furiis accensus et ira
terribilis: 'tune hinc spoliis indute meorum
eripiare mihi? Pallas te hoc vulnere, Pallas
immolat et poenam scelerato ex sanguine sumit.'
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Friday, February 15, 2013
"Latinitas Sinica" (Centre for Latin Language and Culture in China) is the name of a study centre established at the prestigious Beijing Foreign Studies University, the Chinese university specialized in foreign languages and cultures and officially opened on June 15th, 2012...
In the last years some very significant Master and Doctoral Dissertations discussed at the Sinology Center were based on original material – often unpublished manuscripts – written in Latin.
Michele Ruggieri, Matteo Ricci, Philippe Couplet and innumerable other early sinologists wrote about China in Latin.
As the Sinology centre aims at a thorough knowledge of Western studies about China, it cannot neglect the vast amount of historical material produced in Latin.
For this it was necessary to have students and scholars specialized in, or at least familiar with, this language...
Latinitas Sinica is a specialized institution dedicated to the study and promotion of Latin Language in China by:
- Supporting the learning and teaching of Latin Language in China;
- Promoting research in China in the field of Latin Language and Culture;
- Researching the area of Latin Sinology;
- Researching the area of Early Latin to Chinese Translations;
- Offering to Chinese society various services related to Latin Language and Culture, being a reference for institutions around the world interested in Latin Language in China;
- Publishing every year an issue of a "Journal of Latin Studies in China".
Monday, February 11, 2013
When she sees the Trojan battle-lines and the troops of Turnus the Fury, changed suddenly into the form of that small bird which, sitting late at night on tombs and deserted buildings, often sings her ill-omened songs through the shadows - changed into this shape the fiend throws herself again and again into the face of Turnus, shrieking and beating upon his shield with her wings.
But when ill-fated Juturna, his sister, recognised the sound of the Fury's wings she tore at her untied hair, marring her cheeks with her fingernails and bruising her breast with her fists.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Out of interest, I thought I'd put together a similar list for NSW Schools, based on the Sydney Morning Herald's rankings from last year's HSC.
2. North Sydney Boys High School
3. North Sydney Girls High School
4. Sydney Girls High School
5. Baulkham Hills High School
8. Sydney Boys High School
9. SCEGGS Darlinghurst
10. Sydney Grammar School
17. Pymble Ladies' College
19. SHORE - Sydney Church of England Grammar SChool
21. St George Girls High School
23. Presbyterian Ladies College Sydney
24. Ravenswood School for Girls
26. Meriden School
28. Ascham School
30. St Aloysius' College
37. Loreto Normanhurst*
39. Gosford High School*
40. The King's School
42. St Catherine's School
44. MLC School
45. Barker College
47. Queenwood School for Girls
49. St Ignatius' College
54. Santa Sabina College
64. Newington College
67. Cranbrook School
69. Canberra Grammar School
80. The Scots College
91. Trinity Grammar School
I think that makes 15 out of the top 25 schools (six of which are academically selective government schools, I proudly note), and 32 out of the top 100. If I happen to have left a school out please let me know. Schools with an asterisk have some Latin but don't offer it to the HSC (as far as I know or can find out). The only schools I can think of which offer Latin and aren't on this list are Redlands, St Josephs, Hills Grammar and Kinross-Wolaroi.
Disclaimer: I actually think ranking schools is pretty problematic, that the relationship between wealth, offering Latin and school success is a murky one and that it's not worth reading too much into this table. That is, schools which offer Latin tend to be those which attract students from wealthier families and so will probably get good academic results regardless of whether they offer Latin or not.