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

Championship Round

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