Dickinson College Classical Studies Department Hosts Classics Honor Society’s National Conference

Re-posted from the main Dickinson College website here,  April 11, 2018

Four students from three colleges and universities presented papers during the Eta Sigma Phi national conference hosted at Dickinson College.
Four students from three colleges and universities presented papers during the Eta Sigma Phi national conference hosted at Dickinson College.

Dickinson College’s Department of Classical Studies recently explored everything from the Hercules cycle to Caesar and the Battle of Alesia during the national conference of the Eta Sigma Phi classics honor society. Hosted on campus—and attended by nearly 100 undergraduates and 15 faculty members from across the country—the three-day annual conference featured competitions, presentations and an exploration of the Trout Gallery‘s classical collections.

In her opening remarks, President Margee Ensign posited that the vast growth in classical scholarship over the past half century is a sign of the strength of the liberal arts as well as the foundation upon which Dickinson was built.

“Enlightenment intellectuals [like Benjamin Rush] who led our revolution and the creation of our new nation knew that the writers of Greece and Rome had thought and written so deeply and carefully about the polis(city-state) and about civitas (citizenship), had examined and explored those issues of morality, of psychology and of community, of civic responsibility and governance, which continue to engage and perplex us to this day,” she said. “It is no accident that the study of classical languages and literatures have been continuously taught at Dickinson over its entire history.”

The conference, organized by Assistant Professor of Classical Studies Scott Farrington, opened with a quiz-bowl style contest through which teams from various colleges put their knowledge of classical studies to the test in Allison Hall’s Great Room. Next, research took center stage, with student presentations:

  • John James, Hillsdale College: “Emotional Evocation and the Psychology of Sign: Gorgias’ Response to Questions of Communication in Helen”
  • Sophia Decker, University of Kentucky: “Dorians Are Allowed to Speak Doric: Theocritus’ Idyll XV in the Context of Panhellenization”
  • Aaron Romanowski, Beta Psi at Rhodes College: “The Use of the Cult of the Saints in the Milan Basilica Crisis of 385 CE”
  • Katie Hillery, Hillsdale College: “Developing an Eschatological Narrative: An Interpretation of Via Latina’s ‘Hercules Cycle’ Through the Eyes of the Late Antique Roman Viewer.”

Rounding out the activities were a Latin declamation contest, a vase-painting workshop led by Assistant Professor of Art and Art History Rachel Eng, lectures on Caesar and the Battle of Alesia as well as mythology’s connections to astronomy and a presentation of some of the “classical treasures” in the Trout Gallery’s collections—including a chunk of the Parthenon and a denarius of Septimius Severus.

To Marc Mastrangelo, professor of classical studies, the event does more than illustrate that the classics are thriving and growing; it places Dickinson at the heart of the movement. “Dickinson’s ability to attract such a conference,” he said, “reflects the fact that we have one of the leading undergraduate departments in the country.”

Classics Festival Pre-recorded songs, skits, and A-V projects

These are the Classics Festival Projects that will be judged by Dickinson Eta Sigma Phi members on Sunday April 22.

Games

Game # 8 write-up (Harriton)

Skits

Skit-1  Camp Hill/ Roman  Igitur Dinosaur  Performers: Nick Smeal and Michael Baturin;  Writer and translator: Nick Smeal

Skit-2 Harriton/Cambria Ecce Romani Latin 1 students Alice Zehner

Skit-3 East High Vergil on YouTube Latin 3 Students Written/Translated by students

Songs

Song-1 Pie Iesu, Camp Hill, Heather Taylor

Song-2 Harriotn/Cambria Puella Sola Sum, Lorraine Ruppert/ Portia Maidment
translated by Lorraine Ruppert

Script

Video

A-V Projects

AV-1  Camp Hill/ Roman   Sydney Diggs   Tunc et Nunc

AV-2 Camp Hill/ Roman   Eliza Kuller: Claudius: The Black Sheep of the Family

AV-3  Camp Hill / Roman     Holden DeFrank

Caesar v. Alexander Alexander and Caesar 

Greek Equipment

Roman Equipment

AV-4 Harriton/Cambria  Rui Lim  Cimbrian War A-V projects 4, 5, and 6. (Harriton)

AV-5  Harriton/Cambria   Riley Wexler  Particples A-V projects 4, 5, and 6. (Harriton)

AV-6  Harriton/Cambria  Emily Stewart  Catullus A-V projects 4, 5, and 6. (Harriton)

AV-7  Logos Academy/Myers   Nasei Adjei, Constandina Marros, Zoie Tanner. Roman Civilization (powerpoint)

AV-8Logos Academy/Myers   Luke Anderson, Diosmery Gomez, Mackenzi Salinas. Echo and Narcissus youtube video

AV-9  Logos Academy/Myers   Emily Mock. The History of the Roman Toga powerpoint 3/17 I requested access to this file and will update with a url.

 

Questioning and Responsible Citizens

The following is a slightly edited version of Dickinson President Margee Ensign’s opening remarks at the Eta Sigma Phi National Convention, delivered in Allison Hall, Dickinson College, March 24, 2018.

Dickinson College was established in 1783, the first college founded at the close of the American Revolution. That was a revolution led by learned men, including our founder, Dr. Benjamin Rush, men who brought a classical education to their understanding of politics, of history, of philosophy, to the issues of their day. And Dickinson, like all colleges of its time, was careful to ensure that a study of classical civilization was at the core of its new liberal arts curriculum.

This was done because the enlightenment intellectuals who led our revolution and the creation of our new nation knew that the writers of Greece and Rome had thought and written so deeply and carefully about the polis and about the res publica, had examined and explored those issues of morality, of psychology and of community, of civic responsibility and governance which continue to engage and perplex us to this day. It is no accident that the study of classical languages and literatures have been continuously taught at Dickinson over its entire history. Margee Ensign speaking at Eta Sigma Phi March 24 2018

Dr. Rush, a physician and university professor himself, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was steeped in ancient history and the classics, and indeed even went so far as to suggest that Spartan broth be included in the diet of all Dickinson students. I am glad this suggestion was never acted upon!

Our college’s very first faculty member, James Ross, was a classicist. He published a Latin grammar text in 1794 which remained a standard text for more than half a century. Further, at the time of our founding, our namesake John Dickinson and his wife, Mary, launched our college library by contributing nearly 2,000 books to the college. Among them were editions of Aristotle, Cicero, Euclid and many other classical works. These books from the dawn of our Western European civilization are still found in our library’s special collections today. This spirit of critical inquiry and remarkable insight into the human condition continue to be at the core of our mission as a liberal-arts institution, a mission which is to educate thoughtful, questioning and responsible citizens of our still new and evolving republic.

At the time of the formation of our chapter of Eta Sigma Phi in April 1964 there were 68 chapters nationwide. Today there are 219. Like you, I find this growth in classical scholarship heartening, as an affirmation of the very values of classical Western European Civilization, values of free inquiry, of debate, of democracy and representative government, of a vigorous humanism. We take pride in our own role in preserving that classical heritage, including our annual summer program of spoken Latin immersion.

I also draw your attention to our digital resources for Latin and Greek, including Dickinson College Commentaries, which serves thousands of users throughout the world. And now we have a website of resources for Latin and Greek scholars in Chinese, called Dickinson Classics Online.

As President of Dickinson College, I am very proud of the work of our classics faculty and students, grateful for all of their hard work in helping to bring you here, and so very pleased that you are all here on our beautiful campus to celebrate Eta Sigma Phi’s 90th convention.

May your time here be fruitful, and may it advance your education. As Plutarch reminds us (On the Education of Children 7): “The very spring and root of honesty and virtue lie in good education.”

Welcome to Dickinson College.