Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Mythological Monster of the Month: Manticore

October’s Roman Calendar Feature

The 2019–2020 Roman Calendar features twelve mythical monsters from the 2019 edition of Martia Dementia, Bolchazy-Carducci’s annual spring bracket tournament. Visit us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, and our blog) for announcements regarding the 2020 Martia Dementia.

Manticore, thirteenth-century CE manuscript (Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program)
The manticore is a mythical leonine creature with the body of a lion, the head of a human, and a tail resembling either that of a scorpion or the quills of a porcupine. Tales of the manticore originated in Persia (where it was known as the martikhoras) and spread to Greece (called μαρτιχόρας martichoras or μαντιχώρας mantichoras) and Italy (adapted into Latin as mantichora).

Medieval authors often included manticores in bestiaries, following the description in Pliny the Elder’s Historia Naturalis. The Roman Calendar’s October image accompanies a Latin description of manticores found in the Northumberland Bestiary, a mid-thirteenth-century work produced in England.

Teachers may wish to ask students to name additional mythological or fictional creatures that are composites of real animals.

Manticore chasing a man, ca. ninth–tenth century CE sculpted sandstone monument, Meigle Museum 
Pliny the Elder (23–79 CE) describes the manticore in his Historia Naturalis (8.34 in the Latin edition; 8.30 in the English edition):
Apud eosdem nasci Ctesias scribit quam mantichoran appellat, triplici dentium ordine pectinatim coeuntium, facie et auriculis hominis, oculis glaucis, colore sanguineo, corpore leonis, cauda scorpionis modo spicula infigentem, vocis ut si misceatur fistulae et tubae concentus, velocitatis magnae, humani corporis vel praecipue adpetentem.

Latin text from the edition of Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff (1906) available at Perseus
Ctesias informs us, that among these same Æthiopians, there is an animal found, which he calls the mantichora [manticore]; it has a triple row of teeth, which fit into each other like those of a comb, the face and ears of a man, and azure eyes, is of the colour of blood, has the body of the lion, and a tail ending in a sting, like that of the scorpion. Its voice resembles the union of the sound of the flute and the trumpet; it is of excessive swiftness, and is particularly fond of human flesh.

translation by John Bostock (1855) available at Perseus
A manticore featured on the album cover of Pictures at an Exhibition by the rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer (1971)
Although the works of Ctesias (late fifth century BCE) are now fragmentary, his description in Indica of the manticore is summarized by Photios I of Constantinople (ca. 810–893 CE) in his Bibliotheke (57.7):
Καὶ περὶ τοῦ μαρτιχόρα τοῦ ἐν αὐτοῖς ὄντος θηρίου, ὡς τὸ πρόσωπον ἐοικὼς ἀνθρώπῳ μέγεθος μέν ἐστιν ὥσπερ λέων, καὶ χρόαν ἐρυθὸς ὡς κιννάβαρι· τρίστιχοι δὲ ὀδόντες· ὦτα δὲ ὥσπερ ἀνθρώπου, καὶ ὀφθαλμοὺς γλαυκοὺς ὁμοίους ἀνθρώπῳ· τὴν δὲ κέρκον ἔχει οἵανπερ σκορπίος ὁ ἠπειρώτης, ἐν ᾗ καὶ τὸ κέντρον ἔχει, μείζω ὑπάρχουσαν πήχεος. ἔχει δὲ καὶ ἐκ πλαγίου τῆς κέρκου ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα κέντρα· ἔχει δὲ καὶ ἐπ’ ἄκρῳ ὥσπερ σκορπίος, κέντρον. καὶ τούτῳ μὲν, ἐὰν προσέλθῃ τὶς, κεντεῖ τῷ κέντρῳ, καὶ πάντως ὁ κεντηθεὶς ἀποθνήσκει· ἐὰν δέ τις πόῤῥωθεν μάχηται πρὸς αὐτὸν, καὶ ἔμπροσθεν ἱστὰς τὴν οὐρὰν ὥσπερ ἀπὸ τόξου βάλλει τοῖς κέντροις, καὶ ὄπισθεν ἐπ’ εὐθείας ἀποτείνων. βάλλει δὲ ὅσον πλέθρον εἰς μῆκος· καὶ πάντας οὓς ἂν βάλῃ πάντως ἀποκτείνει, πλὴν ἐλέφαντος. τὰ δὲ κέντρα αὐτοῦ ἐστι τὸ μὲν μῆκος ὅσον ποδιαῖα, τὸ δὲ πλάτος ὅσον σχοῖνος λεπτότατος. μαρτιχόρα δὲ Ἑλληνιστὶ ἀνθρωποφάγον, ὅτι πλεῖστα ἐσθίει ἀναιρῶν ἀνθρώπους· ἐσθίει δὲ καὶ τὰ ἄλλα ζῷα. μάχεται δὲ καὶ τοῖς ὄνυξι καὶ τοῖς κέντροις. τὰ δὲ κέντρα πάλιν φησὶν, ἐπειδὰν ἐκτοξευθῇ, ἀναφύεσθαι. ἔστι δὲ πολλὰ ἐν τῇ Ἰνδικῇ. ἀποκτείνουσι δὲ αὐτὰ τοῖς ἐλέφασιν ἐποχούμενοι ἄνθρωποι, κἀκεῖθεν βάλλοντες. 
He describes an animal called the martikhora, found in India. Its face is like a man’s—it is about as big as a lion, and in colour red like cinnabar. It has three rows of teeth—ears like the human—eyes of a pale-blue like the human and a tail like that of the land scorpion, armed with a sting and more than a cubit long. It has besides stings on each side of its tail, and, like the scorpion, is armed with an additional sting on the crown of its head, wherewith it stings any one who goes near it, the wound in all cases proving mortal. If attacked from a distance it defends itself both in front and in rear—in front with its tail, by up-lifting it and darting out the stings, like shafts shot from a bow, and in rear by straightening it out. It can strike to the distance of a hundred feet, and no creature can survive the wound it inflicts save only the elephant. The stings are about a foot in length, and not thicker than the finest thread. The name martikhora means in Greek ἀνθρωποφάγος (i.e. man-eater), and it is so called because it carries off men and devours them, though it no doubt preys upon other animals as well. In fighting it uses not only its stings but also its claws. Fresh stings grow up to replace those shot away in fighting. These animals are numerous in India, and are killed by the natives who hunt them with elephants, from the backs of which they attack them with darts.

translation in Ancient India as Described by Ktêsias the Knidian (1882) by J. W. McCrindle

—Laurel Draper, Editor

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Dolus aut Dulce 2019

Winner of the 2018 Dolus aut Dulce contest, Mercedes Barletta, dressed as
Thetis dipping baby Achilles in the Styx.
October is now upon us, which means it’s time for Bolchazy-Carducci’s annual Halloween costume contest, Dolus aut Dulce! In past years, we’ve received entries that relied on witty wordplay, sublime clothing-design skills, and everything in between. This year, we are adding a new category to the contest: we now invite you to submit pictures of your Halloween-themed classics classroom in addition to photos of classical costumes.

We are also expanding the ways in which you can participate in the contest:
  1. Follow @BCPublishers on Twitter and then tweet us your photo using the hashtag #BCPub.
  2. Like us on Facebook and submit your photo entry on our page timeline. 

Remember, there are two entry categories: costume photos and classroom decoration photos. The winner in each category will receive a choice of either ten paperback copies of the Grinch (in Latin) or a $50 book credit. Once the contest has ended, Bolchazy editors will judge all submissions and award one prize per category based on the following criteria: creativity, quality, and connection to classics.

No need to wait until October 31 to send a picture. Also, don’t feel bound by temporal restrictions: if you have photos of yourself in classical dress for non-Halloween reasons, or you have pictures of Halloween classroom decorations from years past, feel free to submit. (Please, just no resubmissions of entries from previous Dolus aut Dulce contests.) We enjoy seeing how participants express their creativity and love of the classics and may share photo submissions on all of our social media sites, as well as our blog—we can’t wait to see how you celebrate classics Halloween!

We will start accepting photos October 1 and will continue to accept pictures until 11:59 p.m. CT on Sunday, November 3.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Mythological Monster of the Month: Argus

September’s Roman Calendar Feature

The 2019–2020 Roman Calendar features twelve mythical monsters from the 2019 edition of Martia Dementia, Bolchazy-Carducci’s annual spring bracket tournament. Visit us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, and our blog) for announcements regarding the 2020 Martia Dementia.

Argus by Pintoricchio (Bernardino di Betto, 1454–1513) (Public Domain)
September’s Roman Calendar image highlights Argus, sometimes called Panoptes (Greek for “all-seeing”), famous for his hundred eyes. Argus is perhaps best known for his role in the story of Io, a young woman turned into a heifer because of Jupiter’s lust for her. Some sources say that Jupiter transformed Io in an effort to hide her from Juno, while others say that Juno transformed her as punishment. Regardless, Juno charged Argus with watching over Io in the form of the heifer to prevent Jupiter from visiting her again. Jupiter then sent Mercury to slay Argus and free Io.

Pintoricchio (1454–1513), whose name means “little painter” in Italian, was a Renaissance painter known for his frescoes. Though his real name was Bernardino di Betto, he acquired the nickname Pintoricchio due to his short stature. This fresco appears in the Room of the Saints in the Vatican’s Borgia Apartment. The room takes its name from large frescoes depicting seven Christian saints. Smaller frescoes of scenes from Egyptian and classical mythology feature bulls (or, in Io’s case, a heifer) in reference to Pope Alexander VI (1431–1503), whose heraldic emblem was a bull. Please note that for the calendar, the border of the image (including Io) was cropped to better display Argus’s features.

Sixth-century bce Greek vase depicting Argus and Io (Public Domain)
Depictions of Argus don’t always feature extra eyes, as in this sixth-century bce Greek black-figure vase. Found in Italy, it is now in the collection of the Staatliche Antikensammlungen in Munich, Germany.

Teachers may wish to ask students to compare and contrast the images above with Ovid’s description below, using the Latin or English texts as appropriate for the class.

Ovid describes Argus in his Metamorphoses (1.622–629)

Latin (text and notes from A. G. Lee’s Ovid: Metamorphoses Book I)

paelice donata non protinus exuit omnem
diva metum, timuitque Iovem et fuit anxia furti
donec Arestoridae servandam tradidit Argo.
centum luminibus cinctum caput Argus habebat;         625
inde suis vicibus capiebant bina quietem,
cetera servabant atque in statione manebant.
constiterat quocumque modo, spectabat ad Io;
ante oculos Io, quamvis aversus, habebat.
(p. 62)

exuit: cf. Am. 3, 4, 43-4: 'vultusque severos / exue', Cic. Att. 13, 2, 1: 'humanitatem omnem exuimus'.

-que: 'but'; cf. 15 n.
furti: cf. 606 n.

Arestoridae: the only occurrence of this patronymic in Latin poetry. Arestor was a shadowy Argive hero.

centum . . . cinctum: for the similarity of sound cf. 489: 'vetat votoque', 633: 'toro terrae', 739: 'fitque quod ante fuit'.

inde: 'of these'; cf. Plaut. Mil. 711: 'dant in de partem mihi', Met.13,829: 'lac mihi semper adest niveum: pars inde bibenda / servatur . . . ' The French en derives from this word.
suis vicibus: 'in their turn', cf. 4, 218: 'noxque vicem peragit', 'night takes her turn, completes her round'.

servabant: the word is used absolutely as in 684, cf. Pl. Most. 451: 'nemo in aedibus servat'; it is prob. from the military vocabulary. serva is frequent in the comedians in the sense of 'look out, take care', cf. Gk. φυλάττου.
in statione: 'on duty, at their post'; another military phrase. Cf. Caes. B.C. 1, 43 : 'quae in statione pro castris erant Afranii cohortes'; Cic. Sen. 73: 'de praesidia et statione vitae decedere'.

Ovidian repetition to drive the point home.      
(p. 133)


Juno regardful of Jove's cunning art,
lest he might change her to her human form,
gave the unhappy heifer to the charge
of Argus, Aristorides, whose head                               
was circled with a hundred glowing eyes;
of which but two did slumber in their turn
whilst all the others kept on watch and guard.

translation by Brookes More (1922) available at Perseus

—Laurel Draper, Editor

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

5 Reasons to Learn Latin with Lumina: Artes Latinae

What makes Lumina: Artes Latinae the best choice for learning (or reviewing) Latin on your own, at your own pace? Artes Latinae features a comprehensive scope and sequence that gives students all the tools they need to master Latin.

1. Artes Latinae is a time-tested, award-winning Latin program that utilizes a variety of strategies to empower students as they learn Latin.

Artes Latinae, the self-teaching Latin program designed by Dr. Waldo Sweet, has been helping students succeed in their Latin-learning endeavors for nearly sixty years. The innovative program employs a structural approach to language, incorporating research about the deep inner workings of Latin in order to help students more confidently tackle distinctive elements of Latin syntax. At the same time, Artes Latinae makes use of a wide variety of teaching techniques to facilitate internalizing the vocabulary and grammar of Latin. Many of these strategies remain remarkably relevant to today’s students and adhere to key principles of second language acquisition theories. Artes Latinae is now offered as an online interactive program via Lumina: Artes Latinae, giving students even more flexibility in learning Latin.

2. Artes Latinae employs innovative and effective Latin pedagogy.

Notably, Artes Latinae treats Latin as a language that was (and continues to be) spoken aloud, not just written and read. Students routinely listen to Latin recordings of individual words, traditional sayings and maxims, and questions; in turn, students respond to prompts orally and can check their answers against model audio. Furthermore, Artes Latinae offers the option of three pronunciation styles: American Scholastic (the default pronunciation), Restored Classical (an attempt to reconstruct how Latin would have been spoken c. 100 bce–100 ce), and Ecclesiastical.

With an emphasis on an “active Latin” learning process, Artes Latinae employs methods that require students to think in Latin without using English as an intermediary. When introducing new vocabulary, the program relies on images, Latin synonyms and antonyms, and eventually, more involved Latin definitions. Use of Latin questioning techniques (today, commonly referred to as “circling”) ensures that students receive repeated input of new vocabulary and target forms, while also gently leading students to a fuller understanding of ancient and medieval Latin sayings (and later, longer poems). 

3. Artes Latinae’s programmed learning design helps students learn how to learn.

In its use of active Latin methodologies, Artes Latinae always provides extensive scaffolding for students. On a micro level, this program repeatedly scaffolds new pieces of information. In each unit as students answer questions in Latin, they are first asked to echo questions and responses based on the model recordings. They then respond to similar questions with only one word in Latin, before finally giving longer responses based on the original models. Students at last transform models through substitution and transformation. Another such technique involves beginning with short “kernel” sentences and gradually adding modifiers to create a much more complex thought (what is sometimes called amplificatio, or expansion).

Similarly, the structure of the program as a whole is firmly rooted in principles of scaffolding. In early units of the program, English is frequently used to introduce words, concepts, and grammatical terms. But as students progress, Artes Latinae begins to slowly fade out English explanations, replacing them with Latin words and phrases. By the end of the first course, students have even begun to use Latin grammar terms to describe morphology and syntax!

Additionally, the program begins with explicit instruction on how to approach and study new material, asking students to think about techniques that they personally find helpful (i.e., helping build metacognition). Artes Latinae then gradually “vanishes” some of the help once provided. For example, when first introducing students to Latin sentences, Artes Latinae breaks down the structure of each sentence word-by-word, giving explanations about how to think about and interpret Latin sentences. This sort of explicit instruction fades away, although the program continues to remind students to think about previously learned principles and study methods.

4. Artes Latinae features rich and varied content from classical, medieval, and Renaissance Latin. 

The content of Artes Latinae offers students immense benefit. In particular, the program introduces authentic ancient and medieval Latin from the beginning, using such sentences as models for students to get a sense of Latin’s structure. While Artes Latinae draws from many of the “greats” (e.g., Cicero, Horace, Ovid), the course also makes clear the rich and varied history of Latin literature: using excerpts from the Latin Vulgate, for example, and comparing the Renaissance-era epigrams with those of Martial.

Another emphasis of Artes Latinae is word building, both in Latin and in English. English derivatives are always introduced alongside Latin vocabulary. But perhaps more importantly, the course frequently breaks down Latin words into prefixes, roots, and suffixes and shows how new words can be made from these building blocks. As students encounter these key elements of Latin words, they also learn how they changed as they came into English. For instance, as students encounter the word avaritia in Latin, they learn that the –tia suffix is used to turn adjectives (in this case, avarus) into abstract nouns. Likewise, they learn that –tia became the suffix –ice in English (here, avarice).

5. The Lumina platform for Artes Latinae offers extensive student support.

In addition to providing students supportive scaffolding, Artes Latinae ensures that students receive immediate feedback as they go frame by frame. Moreover, Bolchazy-Carducci is proud to offer Artes users several options for obtaining additional Latin support as needed. On the Lumina site, users can access a general discussion forum to chat with others using Artes Latinae. A Q&A forum invites students to ask questions of a Bolchazy Latin instructor, who will regularly respond to queries. As B-C expands and builds on Lumina: Artes Latinae, we anticipate adding more options for students to receive individualized support.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Bolchazy-Carducci 2018–2019: A Year in Review

Omnium enim rerum principia parva sunt.   
The beginnings of all things are small.
–Cicero, De Finibus 5.58     
The end of summer is nigh. As the new school year begins and autumn slowly creeps in, we are reflecting on the past twelve months and looking ahead at what’s to come!

The B-C booth at AIA/SCS 2019 in San Diego, CA.
Conferences. B-C representatives zigged and zagged all over the country in 2018–2019, attending conferences galore! Conference season opened with Monmouth College’s delightful public outreach Classics Day Festival in Monmouth, IL. October 2018 then brought on a slew of conferences: the Classical Association of the Atlantic States Fall Meeting in Philadelphia, PA; the Illinois Classical Conference Annual Meeting in Evanston, IL; and the Classical Association of the Midwest and South–Southern Section Meeting in Winston-Salem, NC. Bolchazy editors rounded out the 2018 calendar year with travel to Saratoga Springs, NY (Classical Association of the Empire State), Franklin, TN (Tennessee Classical Association), and New Orleans, LA (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages).With the advent of 2019, B-C staff were off to San Diego, CA (Archaeological Institute of America/Society for Classical Studies) before dashing to Worcester, MA (Classical Association of New England), Lincoln, NE (Classical Association of the Midwest and South), and Kalamazoo, MI (International Congress on Medieval Studies). Finally, president Bridget Dean and editors Laurel Draper and Don Sprague were thrilled to celebrate the American Classical League’s centennial in New York City; B-C finished up the summer with some high-energy fun at the National Junior Classical League convention in Fargo, ND.
event, the

Bolchazy staff loved connecting with longtime friends and colleagues as well as meeting new ones throughout the last twelve months. We hope to see you at one of the many conferences that await in 2019–2020!

Contests. At conferences, fishbowl drawings offered participants the chance to win some brand-new B-C books. On social media, Bolchazy continued some of its highly anticipated contests while instituting a few new giveaways. To celebrate our one-thousandth Twitter follower milestone, B-C ran a #millesequentes giveaway; Michael Sweet of Hyde Park School (Cincinnati, OH) won the prize of highly coveted sententiae buttons. October, ushering in Halloween season, brought with it our annual Dolus aut Dulce costume contest. We received a number of creative entries, but Mercedes Barletta of Harvard-Westlake School (Los Angeles, CA) took top prize in the individual category with her imaginative recreations of the goddess Thetis and baby Achilles. UMass Amherst graduate students offered up a creative take on the judgment of Paris in their group entry. Our fifth annual Martia Dementia pit various ancient figures against some fearsome mythological monsters, with the goddess Nike snatching the laurel crown from Medusa. Top honors went to Michael Mangel and Will Joseph of New Trier High School (Winnetka, IL). Finally, while heading into the ACL Centennial Institute, B-C held a button giveaway on Twitter, with ten winners receiving buttons at the conference!

If you’re hoping to earn some kleos (and win some great prizes) in our many contests throughout the year, make sure that you are following us on Facebook and Twitter! We announce contests and provide updates regularly throughout the year via social media.

The Latin of Science features twenty-two
Latin readings in subjects ranging from 
general knowledge to mechanics to optics. 
New Books. Lectiones Memorabiles III and IV—texts designed to accompany the current IB Latin Syllabus—debuted in 2018. Volume III, authored by Marianthe Colakis and Yasuko Taoka, includes selections from Caesar, Horace, Livy, Ovid, and Vergil. Volume IV, written by Mary Jaeger, features excerpts from Horace, Livy, Martial, Sallust, and Vergil. • B-C is proud to have helped bring William Sanders Scarborough’s First Lessons in Greek back into print. This new facsimile edition includes a foreword by Ward Briggs, Jr. and an introduction by Michele Ronnick; both features provide important historical and intellectual context for this pioneering work by a nineteenth-century African American classicist and educator. • Ken Kitchell’s They Said It First offers a twist on quotation collections. Ancient and more modern quotations are paired to show how ideas evolve (or stay the same) over time. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post describing ideas on how to use this reference in the secondary classroom. The Latin of Science by Marcelo Epstein and Ruth Spivak is an anthology of twenty-two science readings in what was for centuries the universal language of science—Latin. Look out for a companion volume with English translations and additional scientific context coming out this year!

Founder’s Day. Every summer, the B-C family honors our late founder, Dr. Ladislaus “Lou” Bolchazy. This past July 19 marked Founder’s Day VII. Colleagues and friends gathered for a delicious lunch followed by a rousing game of B-C trivia.

Looking Ahead. Keep an eye out for upcoming books, including the companion volume to Latin of Science and An Introduction to Greek Inscriptions. We have recently released Lumina, an online interactive program to accompany Latin for the New Millennium 1 and 2. Be on the lookout for Lumina for Artes Latinae, our interactive self-teaching course based on the program designed by Dr. Waldo Sweet of the University of Michigan.

Remember to participate in our annual contests. The Dolus aut Dulce 2019 costume contest is right around the corner in October, and Martia Dementia 2020 is sure to be as entertaining as ever. We will also be introducing some new features on this blog: in addition to sharing more information about recent titles, we will be creating special posts to accompany each month’s mythological monster portrayed in the 2019–2020 Roman calendar. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and check our blog so that you never miss a contest, newly released book, or mythology post!

Friday, May 31, 2019

Latin, Greek, and an American Pastime

Moe Berg: Catcher, Linguist, Spy
Imagine the quintessential baseball game: it’s a warm, languorous summer day, the scent of freshly mowed grass wafts in the breeze, vendors are hawking hot dogs and roasted peanuts, and then you hear it . . . someone calling out in what at first seems an unfamiliar tongue. Listening more closely, you wonder—could that possibly be ancient Greek?!

If you were attending a Chicago White Sox game in the 1930s, experiencing this scene was a real possibility. As the story goes, whenever Hall of Fame White Sox pitcher Ted Lyons teamed up with catcher Moe Berg, the two relied on communicating in ancient Greek when an opposing runner was on second base. Berg’s own words from his essay “Pitchers and Catchers” (in which he also describes the catcher as the “Cerberus of baseball”) reveal why he and Lyons resorted to this rather unusual practice:

The catcher gives the signals only because he is in a better position than the pitcher to hide them. In a squatting position, the catcher hides the simple finger, fist, or finger-wiggle signs between his legs, complicating them somewhat with different combinations only when a runner on second base in direct line of vision with the signals may look in, perhaps solve them, and flash back another signal to the hitter.

In ancient Greek, Lyons and Berg found an ingenious way to signal each other secretly.

Berg had a history of using ancient languages in the context of baseball. As an undergraduate at Princeton University, he studied Latin, Greek, French, Spanish, Italian, German, and Sanskrit and later attended the Sorbonne in Paris to study experimental phonetics. While playing on Princeton’s baseball team, Berg (playing shortstop) and second baseman Crossan Cooper used Latin as their own “secret language” to communicate who would “cover the bag” in the presence of an opposing base runner.

An abiding interest in the ancient Greeks and Romans—as well as cultures and languages from the world over—revealed itself in various aspects of Berg’s life both on and off the baseball field. Sports Illustrated quotes an anonymous teammate as saying, “We'd all sit around and listen to him discuss the Greeks, Romans, Japanese, anything. Hell, we didn't know what he was talking about, but it sure sounded good.” Toward the end of his baseball career, Berg made several appearances on the popular radio quiz show Information Please, successfully answering an array of questions on Latin and Greek etymology, among other topics. Later, during World War II, Berg’s linguistic skills and extensive knowledge of international affairs aided him in his spying efforts for the United States. He played an important role in atomic counterintelligence, relaying information about the development of Germany’s nuclear program.

A. Bartlett Giamatti: Scholar, Leader, Commissioner
The history of the relationship between classical languages and baseball does not stop with Moe Berg. Perhaps the most famous Latin enthusiast in baseball was A. Bartlett Giamatti, seventh commissioner of Major League Baseball. Formerly a professor of Renaissance literature, and then the president of Yale University, Giamatti eloquently expressed the continued relevance of Latin in a letter responding to the query of a junior high school student:

Ask not, noble Dunn, what prompts us to study a “dead language,” for the language is not dead. We study Latin because without it we cannot know our history and our heritage. And without that knowledge, we cannot know ourselves. Nosce teipsum, brave Dunn. If one can read that, one can—in one's life—begin to do that. The link between Latin and our lives is deep, and abiding.

Giamatti wrote several articles affirming his deep love of baseball prior to becoming baseball commissioner. His praise for baseball linked the sport together with his scholarly interests, particularly his celebration of the color green. For Giamatti, the green of the baseball diamond was “the color of hope,” symbolism that he noted is particularly meaningful in Dante’s Divine Comedy. He also commented on the significance of the word park, derived from the Persian word for paradise, further observing that the first “true” baseball game was played in Hoboken, New Jersey, at a place popularly called the Elysian Fields. It’s almost as if the perfection of the baseball park can only be properly expressed in the language of epic.

Try It Yourself
Are you a fan who’d like to try calling a few baseball plays in Latin? Check out some Latin baseball vocabulary, courtesy of John Traupman’s Conversational Latin for Oral Proficiency, listed below. If you have any other vocabulary that you typically use to describe baseball—Latin or Greek—please share in the comments!

baseball: (the ball itself) basipila -ae f, (the sport) ludūs -ī m basipilae
     play baseball: basipilā lūdere
base (first, second, third, home): basis -is (acc. -im) (prīma, secunda, tertia, summa or domestica)
baseball game: basipilae lūsus -ūs m, basipilae certāmen -inis n
baseman (first, second, third): (prīma, secunda, tertia) basiārius -ī m (-a -ae f)
bat: clava -ae f
batter: clavātor -tōris m (-trīx -trīcis f)
catch: excipiō -ere excēpī exceptus
catcher: exceptor -ōris m, exceptrīx -trīcis f
fly ball: pila volāns
glove: digitābulum -ī n
hit: pulsāre
     hit the ball out of the park: pilam extrā campum lūsorium pulsāre
hit a home run: circuitum basium facere
inning: missus -ūs m
outfielder: externus (-a) custōs -ōdis mf
pitcher: coniector -ōris m, coniectrīx -īcis f
shortstop: intermedius (-a) basiārius -ī m (-a -ae f)

–Amelia Wallace, Editor

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Nike Wins: Martia Dementia 2019 Recap

A bas relief of Nike at Ephesus
(courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
From the very beginning of Martia Dementia 2019, the Greek gods proved themselves to be all-powerful, handily beating their hero, author, and politician rivals. Caesar was no match for Ares, Augustus was no match for Poseidon! The Olympians seemed like they might go all the way to the finish, with Zeus as a particular favorite, until Nike, goddess of victory, proved true to her name. Among the mythological creatures, the chthonic entities were the ones to beat: Python and Cerberus vied in a close contest, with Cerberus winning. The three-headed hell hound, however, ultimately bowed his head in defeat to snake-tressed Medusa. While Medusa made a valiant effort in the championships, she couldn’t quite overcome Victory herself, who was crowned with the Martia Dementia 2019 laurels. Sadly, some early fan favorites didn’t make it far, but perhaps they’ll find some success next year.

Thank you to all who participated this year in Martia Dementia—your enthusiasm is what makes this contest a success! And now, let’s recognize our bracket winners. This year’s contest resulted in a tie for first place: with fifty-four correct picks, Michael Mangel and Will Joseph, both of New Trier High School (Winnetka, IL), crushed the competition. Each will receive a first place $100 book prize. Our third place winner and recipient of a $25 book prize is the Frontier Regional School (Deerfield, MA) Latin II class, which submitted a bracket with 49 correct picks under the aegis of student teacher Becka Pomeroy. According to Becka, the key to success in Martia Dementia is to have a big class (and then, of course, encourage them all to vote!). Congratulations to our three winners!

The award for most abysmal bracket goes to David Jaffe, Latin teacher at Belmont High School (Belmont, MA). His poor showing—only eleven correct picks—resulted from some intricate and rather involved methods of selecting winners for each round. Here, David explains his strategy:

My first priority was to contrive funny match-ups: Taraxippoi vs. Nessus, Ovid vs. Augustus, Scylla vs. Charybdis, etc. But there was really no question that in the end I had to have Homer win. Sure, he's a blind old poet who probably never existed—but have you read the Iliad? That's not the work of a loser. I wasn't actually trying to get most abysmal. I do, however, generally prefer more obscure characters, or those who seem like more of an underdog, so in hindsight I'm not really surprised.

There you have it—your Martia Dementia 2019 winners! Once again, thank you to all participants, who helped make this year’s contest a resounding success. Have strong feelings about this year’s winners? Hope to see a particular ancient figure featured in next year’s contest? Tweet @BCPublishers what and who you would like to see and include the hash tag #MartiaDementia or give feedback in the comments below. We would love to hear from you!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Martia Dementia 2019

The fifth annual Bolchazy-Carducci Martia Dementia is upon us, and plenty of madness is in store for all participants! In the contest’s first years, ancient authors, philosophers, and politicians battled it out to reign supreme. Then, the Greek and Roman gods got in on the action. Mythological heroes and heroines, not to be outdone, joined the fray next. Now, thirty-two legendary monsters will show their mettle as they contend with last year’s top thirty-two ancient figures.
With your help, one of these figures will emerge as champion of the Mediterranean. To the victor—whoever finishes with the best bracket—belong the spoils. Before getting to the prizes, here is the way the competition will work.
The Bracket
Starting today, complete and submit a bracket to be eligible for wondrous prizes. 

The preferred method: Download the bracket and save it as a PDF file. Then, starting from the “Round of 64,” go through each pairing and select your candidates. Type the names of these candidates in their corresponding “Round of 32” slots. Continue through the remaining rounds until one individual reigns supreme. Send your completed bracket to the email provided on the right side of the bracket. 

The alternate method: Download and print the bracket. Complete the bracket, writing instead of typing your candidates. Scan or take a picture of your completed bracket and send it to the email provided on the right side of the bracket.

Brackets will be accepted through Wednesday, March 20.

The Survey
A survey will be made available on Thursday, March 21, where you can vote for your picks. Whichever ancient figures have the most survey votes by the time the survey closes will advance through the round. Actively participating in the survey betters your chances at winning. Fresh surveys will be posted for each round, so there will be many opportunities to make your mark on the contest. 

We cannot stress enough the importance of voting early and voting often. 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
This competition is not solely for bringing glory to your favorite ancient figure. 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 third-place participant. 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! 

Stay Connected
Be sure to bookmark this post and check it frequently, as we will post the survey links for each round here as they become available. Also, follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates as the competition progresses.

Remember, brackets close Wednesday, March 20, and the first round of voting will begin Thursday, March 21.

-Amelia Wallace

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Dolus aut Dulce 2018 Winners

Mercedes Barletta as Thetis dipping Achilles into the river Styx.
During this year’s Dolus aut Dulce Twitter costume contest, we avoided the doli but received quite a few dulcia—submissions in the individual and group categories were excellent! Plurimas gratias to everyone who participated! We loved seeing your take on Greco-Roman history and myth, whether you were a (nice) Roman imago, fierce Artemis bending her bow, Daphne in mid-transformation, a Dionysius/Polyhymnia duo, or Dr. Who (who, in this version, seems to have been the true author of Ennius’s Annales).

A special round of congratulations goes to our winners, whose efforts were truly spectacular. Mercedes Barletta of Harvard-Westlake School sent in a photo series depicting Thetis dipping baby Achilles in the river Styx. Her attention to detail and commitment to the role is laudable. As a bonus, Mercedes sent in a throwback photo showing her as Daphne becoming a laurel tree. See both of Mercedes's photo series here and here.

UMass MAT students created a judgment of Paris tableau.
The winners of our group contest photo offered a humorous take on the judgment of Paris. Latin MAT students at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst submitted this creative twist on the story: Chloe Kolbet dressed as a very Parisian Paris, while Steven John assumed the role of Athena, Joe Stern represented Aphrodite, and Forrester Hammer played Hera.

Did you miss out on this year's Halloween contest? Plan to participate next year and encourage your students to participate—this year’s winners received a $50 book credit! Be sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to keep up to date with upcoming contests, new books, and conference and webinar schedules!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Classics Halloween Link Roundup

Our October eLitterae offers a free excerpt:
the werewolf story in The Satyricon.
Looking for some spooky classics articles and blog posts to read this Halloween? Then look no further. Whether you’re interested in the strange, the arcane, or the absurd, these links should have you covered.

     The blog Sententiae Antiquae is fulfilling many of our classics Halloween needs. Some choice posts include:
      How Do You Say “Trick-or-Treat” in Latin and Greek?
      Werewolves galore! A roundup of selections dealing with versipelles (and a few other   supernatural creatures from the ancient world).

     Atlas Obscura looks into Greek funerary practices involving celery—yes, celery.

     Forbes explores how a zombie predicted the death of Julius Caesar.

     Smithsonian explains the tragic circumstances that led to a “vampire burial” in fifth-century Rome.

     Eidolon tackles the relationship between zombies and gender roles in ancient Greece.

Additionally, if you’re looking for a quick Halloween lesson for your Latin classes, make sure to check out the October issue of eLitterae. Under “Resources & Teaching Tips,” you’ll find some “Halloween teaching treats”: three free selections from Bolchazy-Carducci books!

— Amelia Wallace, Editor