Outreach Programs

2017 Latin Forum Schedule

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Registration 9:30 - 10:00 Vollum Lounge
Morning Lecture 10:00 - 11:00 Vollum Lecture Hall
Discussion Group - Students 11:00 - 11:45 Vollum Classrooms
Discussion Group - Parent guests 11:00 - 11:45 Vollum Lounge
Latin Teacher Meeting 11:00 - 11:45 Vollum 134
Lunch 12:00 - 1:00 Kaul Auditorium
Individual Seminars - Students & Teachers 1:00 - 2:00 Vollum Classrooms
Individual Seminars - Students & Teachers 2:05 - 3:00 Vollum Classrooms
Optional Calligraphy Scriptorium 3:30 - 4:30

Reservations required

Morning Keynote in Vollum Lecture Hall

Building the Master's House: the Domus and Roman Fatherhood
Amanda Wilcox (Reed '96)
Associate Professor of Classics, Williams College

In ancient Rome, a father’s place was in the domus, a word which means both house and household. A father’s presence in the home and his judicious exercise of paternal authority were so central to domestic stability that his removal could lead not only to the ruin of his household, but also the collapse of the house itself. To gain a better understanding of this interdependence, this talk will explore several stories about Roman fathers, sons, and the houses they shared.

Optional Afternoon Calligraphy Scriptorium

For nearly two millennia the Trajan inscription in Rome has served as the quintessential model of Roman capital letters. Fr. Edward Catich described the inscription as "the best roman letter designed in the Western world, and the one which most nearly approaches an alphabetic ideal." Join Gregory MacNaughton (Reed '89), Cooley Gallery Education Outreach Coordinator, for an illustrated lecture and lettering workshop based on these most celebrated examples of Roman lettering. All materials will be provided.

2017 Individual Seminars for the afternoon sessions

I. Roman Comedy
Professor Walter Englert
This seminar will examine the nature of Roman Comedy and attempt to answer the question, "What made the Romans laugh?" We will discuss the similarities and differences between Greek Old Comedy, Greek New Comedy, and Roman Comedy, and do readings of selected scenes from the Roman comedies of Plautus and Terence.

II. Reading the Stars ... in Latin!
Professor Michael Faletra
Open a newspaper today, and you’ll find a horoscope heavily populated by Latin words: Aries (“the Ram”), Taurus (“the Bull”), Sagittarius (“the Archer”), etc. In this seminar, we will survey the ways in which peoples of the Roman Empire and of early medieval Europe thought about the heavens above and the earth below. Through discussion and hands-on activities we will investigate the nature of Roman thinking about astronomy and astrology (and other modes of premodern fortune-telling), and will think about how Latin speakers of the ancient world and beyond made sense of the universe—both the macrocosm and the microcosm—and of their place within it.

III. Uri, Vinciri, Ferroque Necari: Entertainment, Death, and Spectacle in the Roman Arena
Professor Ellen Millender
“To be burned, to be chained, to be killed by the sword” – this is the gladiator’s oath in ancient Rome. Who ended up in the arena? Who watched them and why? What role(s) did this violent spectacle play in Roman society? In order to get a better sense of these early “celebrities” and their “fans,” we will examine the literary and archaeological evidence on gladiatorial combat in Republican and Imperial Rome. Inscriptional evidence from Pompeii and other sites helps to reveal the nature of the relationship between the gladiators and their audience and the kind of performance that the audience expected from the slaves and war-prisoners who entertained them in the arena. We will also look at texts to get a better sense of how the Romans thought about such spectacles that became the most popular form of popular entertainment in ancient Rome.

IV. The Strangeness of Ovid
Professor Nigel Nicholson
Ovid was one of the greatest writers that Rome produced, yet in his own time he was often criticized for being undisciplined and self-indulgent. In this seminar we will examine some unsettling passages from Ovid’s greatest work, the  Metamorphoses, to try to understand what annoyed and disturbed his critics. Through this process we will also come to a better understanding of what epic poetry should and should not do.

V. The Great Fire of Rome: An Ancient Whodunit
Professor Jessica Seidman
The night of July 18-19, 64 AD: a typical summer evening in the bustling metropolis of Rome…until FIRE breaks out in the area near the Circus Maximus! It races through the streets of the city, engulfing homes, shops, temples, and anyone standing in its path! Six days later, the fire is finally extinguished—but rumors of an arsonist are fanning the flames of popular discontent. Did the emperor Nero and his calculating advisor Tigellinus set the fire? Or maybe it was the new, mysterious, secret sect—the Christians?  Could it have been an accident? In this seminar, you will take on the roles of the various suspects and investigate who might have had motive to commit the crime.


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