Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer Latin Institute - DAY 30

Day 30 was yesterday, July 23, 2012.

It was the beginning of Week 7. If there is a "hump" week in the Summer Latin Institute, we are now over it. Six weeks down, four weeks to go.

We finished reading Cicero's First Oration Against Catiline. I covered the 8:30 a.m. optional homework review and graded the daily quiz. These days, quizzes consist of a sentence or two from the previous night's reading, plus a syntax question or two, plus occasional principal parts. All in ten minutes. The Day 30 quiz was a doozy: the Cicero passage was a full 50 words and we asked three syntax questions. Some students did not have enough time to finish. But most did very well.

Starting this week, lunchtime optionals are sight reading, not grammar review. On Day 30, Patrick led students in reading a selection from the Rhetorica ad Herennium, a first-century BCE text on rhetoric formerly attributed to Cicero but of unknown authorship.

After lunch, Akiva presented a lecture on postclassical Latin, which is what we are reading this week in our afternoon prose survey. Today's afternoon prose was a selection from Tacitus' Annals, but later this week students will be reading selections from Augustus' Confessions, Einhard's Life of Carlemagne, and the anonymous Gesta Romanorum, a medieval compendium of anecdotes and tales probably compiled around the beginning of the 14 century and providing source material for vernacular authors including Chaucer, Boccaccio, and Shakespeare.

I led the afternoon optional sight reading of Pliny's letter to Tacitus about writing on his wax tablets while sitting at his hunting nets, encouraging Tacitus to bring a loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and a stylus and notebook next times he goes hunting, and ending with the memorable declaration, "Diana wanders the woods no more than Minerva."

Does all of this sound too good to be true? Tell your friends. Tell your students. Just think—You could be doing this next summer!

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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