Saturday, July 7, 2012

Summer Latin Institute - DAY 19

Day 19 was yesterday, July 6, 2012.

Morning drill was fun...some nice chunks of slightly adapted Cicero on old age (De Senectute).

Afternoon sight was fun, too. We did Propertius 2.11, in which Propertius is really mean to Cynthia. Don't tell anyone, but I snuck some renegade Martial in, too. When I did sight on Day 18, there was not enough material in the text to fill the time, so I scribbled Epigrams 9.63 on the board, and the kids loved it. We got to talking about how Phoebus made a living as a sex worker, and I told them there was another poem indicating that he did quite well for himself. So we looked at that one yesterday, Epigrams 1.58.

I understand perfectly well why poems like these were not included in the curriculum when the program debuted 40 summers ago, but I think their time has come. I realize that introducing new material into the curriculum formally needs to be done very deliberately and by faculty consensus; but in this instance I feel like I was just sending up a couple of trial balloons with a small number of students with whom I have a very good rapport. They really enjoyed the poems. They're not only raunchy; they also introduce a lot of important social history regarding sex and gender dynamics and aspects of ancient socioeconomic reality that might otherwise go unaddressed.

Anyway...afternoon lecture was another stunning performance by my colleague, Patrick Gaulthier. He is a simply excellent Latin grammar teacher. Our students learned about all sorts of impersonal verbs, including verbs of emotional distress and verbs of necessity and propriety, and what constructions they take. Then Akiva Saunders led them them through Catullus 3, in which Lesbia's sparrow dies. I did a quick romp through Vocabulary Notes, and we were off to the weekend.

More soon... 

Note: The opinions expressed in this blog entry are those of the blogger, and do not represent the opinions of the CUNY Latin/Greek Institute, its students, faculty, or administration.

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