Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Martia Dementia in the Classroom

Martia Dementia in the Classroom

The excitement of Martia Dementia has stirred up a considerable amount of internet buzz in the classics community. Our Facebook, Twitter, and BlogSpot have all seen a lively amount of activity. Now the brackets are live (and already coming in!) and the surveys ready for launch next week. Still, one question sits like an elephant in the room: How can Martia Dementia serve not just as a rewarding competition but also as something rewarding in the classroom?
An image of the BC Bracket, now
available on Twitter and our blog.

Teachers should see Martia Dementia as an opportunity for students to learn about authors they may not normally cover, or even hear about, in the standard Latin or Greek classroom. One way is for teachers to have students take a look at the bracket and pick an author they would like to present, by themselves or in groups. Depending on time, this could be a one-minute activity, where students give two important facts and one "fun" fact about the author (the "fun fact perhaps resembling something I attempted with the survey, which you will see in due time). To save time, I have already created a document so students do not have to dig up the information themselves. If allotted more time to present, students will have the opportunity to present a more expansive biography of the authors to the class.

Another way to turn Martia Dementia into a fun classroom activity is to play "Two Truths and a Lie." This option serves as a chance for students to get creative and have fun while still learning. Teachers may choose to assign authors to individuals or perhaps groups of three, or allow them to pick their own. Then the goal is for students to find and generate two truths and one lie about each author. As a group, two students can pose as truths and one as the lie and have the class guess which is posing as the lie. This task can take the form of simple presentations or can also serve as a competition where students aim to find he most ridiculous truths and make their lies so believable that they stump the classroom.

Seize the opportunity to have fun with Martia Dementia! Have you started to already? Do you have other ideas as to how you might use this in your classroom? We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comments below!

-Connor Hart

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Scandal Surrounds Martia Dementia

Scandal Surrounds Martia Dementia:
Confusion and Scandal Strike Soon After Finalized Bracket Is Released

Confusion has led to scandal here in Chicago as Martia Dementia rapidly approaches. The finalized bracket, released this past Monday, March 2, sparked cries ranging from “foul” to “outrage” that could be heard from Ilium to Illinois.

Late last night, Seneca the Elder was seen going into the very locker room his son occupied earlier that day. This led to the belief that lack of specification on the bracket was their way of covering up the fact that both would try to compete to gain votes. Though his father could not be reached for comment, the underdog Seneca the Younger spoke out on their behalf: "Calamitās virtūtis occāsiō est" (“Disaster is the opportunity for bravery”). We also reached out to his first-round opponent, Petronius, and asked if he had any comment, to which the favorite, in a very Senecan way, replied, "Nōn est vir fortis ac strēnuus quī labōrem fugit" (“The person who runs away from hard work is not a brave and active man”). We expect neither participant will back down from the competition after this.
Someone spied Pliny the Younger reaching out
to his uncle Pliny the Elder late last night.

As if this father-son attempt at rigging the competition were not enough, an outside source spied Pliny the Younger writing letters to his uncle for help in his match-up against the lower-seeded Martial. Martial, not expected to receive much help from votes, hopes the committee will leverage sanctions against Pliny the Younger. As of today, the committee has yet to determine whether or how to penalize either familial pair for their scandalous attempts.

On the eastern side of the bracket, many were confused to find the 16-seed assumed not by a Greek but by the Christian apologist Lactantius. This play-in position pits Lactantius, a dark horse, against the top seed on the Greek side of the bracket. Though reporters could not reach Lactantius for comments his opponent Homer, considered the tournament's favorite by many, had a few words to say when asked about not playing a Greek in his first round: "Not a Greek, but a Roman? ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε. And what of the Achaeans?"

There you have it! Competition is heating up in the early stages of the tournament. Stay tuned for more pregame interviews, smack talk, and more from our fierce competitors. Also, don't forget to download your bracket and cast your votes!

-Connor Hart

Friday, February 27, 2015

Martia Dementia

Martia Dementia:
Ancient Author March Madness

April showers bring May flowers, but March brings the madness, and this next month Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers will bring March Madness to the ancient world. We have created a bracket of 64 ancient authors, 32 Latin and 32 Greek, one of whom will reign supreme. How will one author rise above the others as champion of the Mediterranean? The answer is you. To the victor belong the spoils, and whoever finishes with the best bracket, spoils await, but before the prizes, here is the way the competition will work.

A volute krater in the British Museum depicts
a fight between Achilles and Hector.
The Bracket
There are two parts to the participation in this event; the first is the bracket. Contestants will need to download a bracket from below, when made available, and save it as a PDF file. Having done this, simply advance the authors of your choosing through the bracket, writing in your picks and eliminating the others, until one remains above the rest. Once filled out, send the bracket along to the email provided on the bracket. The rankings are random. There is no rater’s index or previous statistics to consider, and no author has an advantage over another. The only factor determining an author’s advancement is your participation. Filling out the bracket to be eligible for the prizes is the minimum requirement.

The Survey
To further improve your chances of winning, a survey will be available for each round (below) where you can vote for your picks or, as it gets closer to the championship, vote against any picks that might hurt your chances of winning. This aspect is separate from the bracket and not necessarily required, but actively participating in the survey betters your chances at winning. We will determine the victors of each match by who has the most survey votes by the time the survey closes.

As a company based out of the Chicago area, we cannot stress enough the importance of voting early and voting often. So when the survey goes live, cast your votes; get your friends to vote for your picks; teachers, get your students to stuff the survey with favorable votes.

Victori Spolia
The competition is not solely for bringing posthumous glory to your favorite ancient author. Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers is offering book prizes for the brackets that most closely resemble the final results; a $100 book credit will be awarded to the first-place participant, a $50 credit to the second-place participant, and a $25 credit to the person finishing in third place. Feeling like you no longer stand a chance? Do not give up! There will also be a $25 credit for having the most abysmal bracket! So get ready, and stay tuned. Brackets will be available next week and the voting madness begins March 19!

-Connor Hart

Be sure to bookmark this post, as we will post the survey links for each round as they become available here:


Round of 64

Round of 32

Sweet Sixteen

Elite Eight

Final Four (available April 4)

Championship Round (available April 6)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Update - gWhiz Latin for the New Millennium Vocabulary Apps

Study by chapter functionality is now available in gWhiz Latin for the New Millennium Levels 1 and 2 vocabulary apps. Based on customer feedback gWhiz has added the study by chapter feature to these apps.

The study by chapter function is in the app "Setting".

If you have purchased these apps run the update to add this functionality to your app.

If you have not tried these apps check them out with the FREE sample and purchase the full app with the in App purchase option.

These apps contain all of the "Vocabulary to Learn" from each level.
LNM Level 1 Vocabulary App
LNM Level 2 Vocabulary App

Master high-frequency Latin words for the Latin AP* exam with these gWhiz apps that correspond with Bolchazy-Carducci AP titles:

Caesar Selections from his Commentarii De Bello Gallico Vocabulary App
Master the 221 words in the Caesar app to be prepared to read more quickly and with greater comprehension.

Vergil's Aeneid Selected Readings from Books 1, 2, 4, and 6 Vocabulary App
Memorize words occurring eight times or more on the AP Vergil syllabus. Students who have mastered the entire set of words in the Vergil app will be prepared to read more quickly and with greater comprehension

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Classics in Pop Culture, Part III

Classics in Pop Culture, Part III

In a recent post I discussed how to effectively include pop culture in a classics course by suggesting teachers send their students on a "scavenger hunt" to find songs containing lyrics or titles in Latin and/or Greek. I followed this suggestion with another post, proposing to have students translate some of their favorite songs into Latin or Greek, going as far as composing their own music to the reworked lyrics. I also posited the idea of reworking pop songs with lyrics relevant to themes from classics history and culture. In this post, the third and final of the series, I offer an idea for a classroom project that will get students thinking of pop culture as it relates to classics. The project is one I actually did when I was a student at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and taking an introduction to Latin poetry class with Professor Elizabeth Keitel.
This bust of Catullus, a 1st
century BCE poet, rests in the
Piazza Carducci in Sirmione

The task is for students to find a song and to make an argument that the songwriter drew influences from classical literature. The goal is to find stylistic similarities, as well as similarities in diction and tone, or anywhere else. This will not only give the student further understanding of the ancient author's own choices and use of poetic and rhetorical devices, but it will additionally yield an understanding of the relevance of classical studies. (This project can also be done with contemporary poetry, but I found it most effective, and more enjoyable, when done with music.) This is how I would do it with a musician in a class covering the poetry of Catullus (translations come from Henry V. Bender and Phyllis Young Forsyth's Catullus: Expanded Edition: Teacher's Guide):

First, I would start with playing an excerpt, or the whole song depending on the allotted time, of Bob Dylan's "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go," having distributed a copy of the lyrics to the class so that they may read along. Once the music had finished, I would make my case.

"You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome
When You Go" is the fifth track off of
Bob Dylan's 1975 album Blood
on the Tracks.
In Catullus 7 the poet, when presented with the question of how many kisses would be enough for him, writes quam magnus numerus Libyssae harenae...aut quam sidera multa "as great as the quantity of sand in the Libyan desert...or as many as are the stars" (3, 7). This same juxtaposition of ideas, of the high and the low, appears in Dylan as he sings, "Dragon clouds so high above/I've only known careless love/It's always hit me from below," or again when he sings, "I'll see you in the sky above/In the tall grass." In these same excerpts is a clear attention to nature; Catullus points to the sand and the stars, Dylan to the clouds and the grass.

Additionally, in the same poem Catullus references geography and sites that would be familiar to his Mediterranean audience, such as Libyssae (3), Cyrenis (4), and Batti verteris sacrum sepulcrum "the sacred tomb of old Battus" (6). Likewise, Dylan makes mention of cities familiar to his American audience: "I'll look for you in old Honolulu/San Francisco, Ashtabula." In Catullus 2B and 3, the poet makes repeated references to mythological characters and tales, again recalling scenes familiar to his audience; Dylan repeats this with his reference to the tempestuous love affair of Verlaine and Rimbaud.

Catullus's use of polyptoton and alliteration at the end of 8 adds a certain harshness to the conclusion of his relationship: Quae tibi manet vita?/Quis nunc te adibit? cui videberis bella?/quem nunc amabis? "What life waits for you? Who now will come to you? To whom will you appear beautiful? Whom will you now love?" (8.15–17). This same harsh sound shows up in Dylan, building up to the thought of him crying: "Purple clover, Queen Anne's Lace/Crimson hair around your face/You could make me cry if you don't know."

In Catullus 5, Catullus makes a plea to his lover: Da mi basia mille, deinde centum,/dein mille altera, dein secunda centum "Give me a thousand kisses, then a hundred, then another thousand, then a second hundred" (5.7–8). Dylan's lyrics parallel this plea with remarks such as "You might be spoiling me too much love." 

Lastly, even the refrain, "Yer gonna make me lonesome when you go," and the acknowledgement that the love Dylan has will come to an end recalls Catullus's idea that nox est perpetua una dormienda "there is one never-ending night for sleeping" (5.6), though not as somberly, or the idea, quod vides perisse peditum ducas "consider as lost what you see as perished" (8.2), though not as austerely.

Through similar devices such as juxtaposition and alliteration, through use of geological and cultural scenes familiar to their audiences, and through parallel ideas such as too much love, one can make the case that Dylan had Catullus in mind as he wrote this song.

Students should be graded on the strength of their argument as much as their ability to answer any questions at the conclusion of their presentation. Additionally, the students should be able to demonstrate mastery over the Latin or Greek text and the ancient author's style and diction. This should be stress-free as much as it should be educational and, above all else, fun!

-Connor Hart

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Book Buzz: Why Homer Matters

Marie Bolchazy, EdD, recommends popular modern fiction and nonfiction with ties to Classics.

Why Homer Matters
by Adam Nicolson

Did Homer create the Iliad and the Odyssey on his own or did he build upon the oral tradition of epic songs of battle and disaster? Is the Iliad based on the Trojan War or on a war that happened much before that? When did Homer live? And, is he one person or many? These fascinating questions are covered in Why Homer Matters.

When I started reading Why Homer Matters, I struggled to find Homer’s answers to life’s important questions: Do we love others as ourselves? Do we indulge ourselves? Do we surrender when we face seemingly insurmountable challenges? How much should we fight for our principles? Homer is silent on such questions. So why does he matter? Nicolson posits that Homer’s purpose is providing enlightenment on how things are and that a detailed engagement with pain and sorrow through poetry is the way we are enlightened. He believes that the wars happened so that the poems could happen. We find the wisdom that Homer provides gradually as we progress with the reading of this book. It should be read carefully and thoughtfully and with many time-outs for reflection.

The author is a polymath; his knowledge of so many fields of study is deep and breathtaking. In this book, he weaves in information on Michael Ventris, who deciphered Linear B, and Albert Lord, who researched the oral traditions possibly underlying Homer’s epics. He compares the ethic of the Greek warriors with the code of conduct of gangs in South Central LA and East St. Louis. Nicolson also gives a very personal account of his rape by a young man in the Syrian desert and relates the episode to Homer’s warriors. 

According to Nicolson, the Iliad is not an antiwar poem. Nicolson’s primary focus is on demonstrating that Homer’s writing provides us with a vade mecum, a kind of metaphysical guidebook on how to lead a meaningful life in a world of terrifying and wondrous changes. Homer does not provide guidance “if the lessons derived are the usefulness of violence, the lack of regret at killing, the subjection and selling of women, the extinction of all men in a surrendering city or the sense that justice resides in personal revenge.” Homer doesn't answer questions about how we should behave. Instead, Homer provides us with wisdom, a sense of reality, and an embrace of the complexity of life. By telling the stories of the Iliad and the Odyssey, he helps us learn how we became who we are.

Marie Carducci Bolchazy, EdD
President, Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Classics in Pop Culture, Part II

Classics in Pop Culture, Part II

In my last post I presented a project idea that involved sending students out on a scavenger hunt to find songs with Latin or Greek in the lyrics, and then relaying their discoveries to the class. This week I offer an idea that requires more creative engagement from the students.
Rondellus’s album, Sabbatum, is
composed entirely of Black
Sabbath covers…in Latin!

Instead of driving students to go out and find songs with Latin or Greek, have them choose popular songs they like and translate them into Latin or Greek! This is a task that some professional musicians have undertaken in recent years—and have met with success in their attempts. The band Rondellus has taken the music of Black Sabbath, such as “Planet Caravan,” translated the lyrics into Latin, and set the music to a medieval-like composition. Fint Floyd, a Pink Floyd cover band, has taken the entire album The Dark Side of the Moon and reworked it with Latin lyrics. For example, “Pecunia,” is the band’s take on the 1973 hit “Money.”

There are different ways students could approach a project like this. For some a simple translation might suffice, while others may wish to record the lyrics and put them over the track they use. Even more ambitious students might record their own composition with the translated lyrics. The most ambitious may do this along with a music video.

To make the project most useful for learning Latin, students should be able to account for the decisions they made in word choice and arrangement. Students could, and perhaps should, also aim to include some poetic devices, like alliteration or chiasmus, in their translations. An ambitious student may choose to emulate the style of his or her favorite ancient author, or an author relevant to the course.

This project can also be used for classics courses that do not emphasize language. Students might take historical or cultural themes and work them into the lyrics and melodies of popular songs. There are many great examples of this done already on YouTube. Those done by historyteachers are particular favorites of mine. For classes without time to create their own songs, viewing or lip syncing to videos such as “Trojan War” (“Tainted Love” by Softcell) or “Viva Roma No. V” (“Mambo #5” by Lou Bega) would make a great fun class day.

Urge your students to get creative with some of these project ideas! Have you had experiences with projects like this? Do you have similar project ideas that you would like to share? Are you still uncertain how you might make a project like this work? Leave your comment or question in the section below! And be sure to stay tuned for a future post where I take classics in pop culture one step further.

-Connor Hart

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

eyeVocab - Latin for the New Millennium Level 1

Just Released:

eyeVocab for Latin for the New Millennium Levels 1 - This implementation of eyeVocab Latin covers 423 “Vocabulary to Learn” words presented in each chapter of Latin for the New Millennium, Level 1.

Also Available:
eyeVocab for Clyde Pharr's Aeneid I-VI - This implementation of eyeVocab Latin covers the high frequency vocabulary, 261 words, from the pullout in Clyde Pharr's Vergil's Aeneid: Books I-VI.


eyeVocab for Barbara Weiden Boyd's Vergil's AENEID: Selected Readings from Books 1, 2, 4, and 6 - This implementation of eyeVocab Latin covers those 162 vocabulary words that occur eight times or more in Barbara Weiden Boyd's Vergil's Aeneid: Selected Readings from Books 1, 2, 4, and 6.

eyeVocab for
Hans-Friedrich Mueller's Caesar Selections from his Commentarii De Bello Gallico - This implementation of eyeVocab's Latin covers those 218 vocabulary words that occur eight times or more in Hans Friedrich Mueller's Caesar: Selections from his Commentarii De Bello Gallico.

eyeVocab for Latin for the New Millennium Level 2

Far more than a set of electronic flashcards, the multimodal vocabulary program facilitates a significantly deeper learning and retention. Students will readily master vocabulary and thereby devote far more of their study time and energy to reading and analyzing the Aeneid.

eyeVocab leverages memory for graphically distinctive and emotionally affective images with narrative implications, presented in isolation and combined with phonologically emphasized sound, to establish long-term declarative knowledge of the vocabulary presented.

eyeVocab has provided impressive results in Latin, Arabic, Spanish, and Mandarin at the middle school, high school, and university levels, including university intensive courses in Latin and Arabic as well as Arabic intensive courses funded by the US State Department. These results far exceed those attained employing all other methods of vocabulary learning.


  • powerful images drawn from art, both western and eastern, through the ages, from photojournalism and historical photography, from great book illustrations, and from other sources
  • each vocabulary word is carefully articulated with macrons in the classical pronunciation
  • multisensory program draws on visual, auditory, and tactile learning as well as subvocalizing that collectively hardwire the new vocabulary in student’s long-term memory
  • for use in the classroom, language lab, or at home
The basis of the power of this method: eyeVocab's Essential Principles.

For more information see: eyeVocab and Second Language Vocabulary Acquisition.

NB: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers is pleased to help distribute this remarkable program. All technical questions and concerns, however, should be directed to eyeVocab’s Miles Becker at sales@eyeVocab.com.

AP is a registered trademark of the College Entrance Examination Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Classics in Pop Culture, Part I

Procul Harum’s name, though misspelled,
derives from the Latin for “Beyond these things.”
In my recent posts I began to explore ways to put a modern twist on classics courses by incorporating technology in the classroom. I provided several ways to use online mapping programs to give students a chance to modernize the journey of Aeneas. Then I gave a brief example of how students could create a traveler’s eating guide along the route that Aeneas took. I would like to take a step further in combining classics with the contemporary by incorporating pop culture in the classroom through music.  

The modern Greek lyrics, “kyrie eleison,”
in Mr. Mister’s song “Kyrie” translate to “Lord, have mercy.”
One possible option is to have students try to find popular songs that use Latin and/or Greek. Though there are, perhaps, more out there than one would expect, there might not be enough for this to be something that the whole class does at one time. The project might work best as a group presentation, or as an extra credit opportunity. Alternatively, teachers could challenge their students to find such songs and offer a reward every time any student brings a new song in, making the project a yearlong musical scavenger hunt that makes students aware of Latin and Greek in pop culture.

To make this an effective project, first have students try to find the songs, and believe me, they’re out there. Artists working in a variety of genres have drawn on Latin and Greek, from the folky “Benedictus” off of Simon and Garfunkel’s 1964 album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. to the alternative U2 single, “Gloria” and the heavy, punk-rock song “Halloween II” by The Misfits. Have the student bring the song into the classroom and play the whole thing or an excerpt, ideally the Latin part.

As opposed to just translating, compel the student to give insight to the Latin or Greek lyrics. Present them with questions, such as:

  • Why do you think the songwriter chose Latin or Greek, as opposed to a language more familiar to the audience, or English, even?
  • Translate the Latin or Greek. What does it mean and why is it significant?
  • Has the Latin or Greek been used in other texts or other places before?
These are a few examples of questions to ask. It could be a chance to put the presenter on the spot and show what they’ve taken from the project, or the presenter could assume the role of the teacher and pose such questions to the class and then compare their discoveries to what the rest of the class has taken from the presentation, making the project more involved.

This is the first of several posts I will write exploring the possibilities of incorporating pop culture and, specifically, music into the classics classroom. Stay tuned for next week’s post where I explore a more creative way of combining popular music and classics.

-Connor Hart

Friday, January 02, 2015

AIA / SCS Annual Meeting

BC Latin Reader Series is complete!!!

AIA / SCS 146th Annual Meeting visit booth #300 for a chance to win the complete series.

B-C owners: Marie Bolchazy and Allan Bolchazy, and editors: Bridge Dean and Donald Sprague will be available at booth #300 throughout the conference. Stop by and see what is new and forthcoming from Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers.
146th Annual Meeting
146th Annual Meeting
146th Annual Meeting