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

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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

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


Game # 8 write-up (Harriton)


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


Song-1 Pie Iesu, Camp Hill, Heather Taylor

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



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

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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.





Workshop: Creating a Digital Commentary for Teaching

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Dickinson Latin Workshop

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Creating a Digital Commentary for Teaching

Bret Mulligan (Haverford College) and Chris Francese (Dickinson College)

Place: Dickinson College, Tome Hall 115, 10:00 a.m. — 5:00 p.m.

Tome Hall, Dickinson College

Tome Hall, Dickinson College

Do you write your own notes on Latin texts for your students? Are you frustrated with the limitations of Microsoft Word when it comes to parallel display of text, notes, and vocabulary? Now you can create attractive, usable reading texts online with vocabulary lists and notes simultaneously displayed, and the ability to include hyperlinks and add audio-visual material. This workshop will demonstrate and provide practice with a new plugin for the WordPress CMS that mimics the easy-to-read format of Dickinson College Commentaries. In addition, participants will see demonstrations of and practice using a variety of online tools that are helpful in the creation and annotation of reading texts: The Bridge for vocabulary list creation; DCC core vocabulary; Pleiades for geography; digitized grammars and reference works for simplifying annotations; Johan Winge’s macronizer; and others.

This workshop will be of interest primarily to Latin teachers, but others are more than welcome to attend. The workshop is free of charge, but to order materials and food we need to have an accurate count of attendees. For pre-registration please contact Terri Blumenthal:, by October 9, 2017.

Bret Mulligan is Associate Professor of Classics at Haverford College. He is a specialist in Late Antique Latin Literature, and a leading digital classicist. He is project director of The Bridge, the author of Life of Hannibal, Cornelius Nepos (Open Books Publishers and DCC), and a contributor to The Living Past: Recasting the Ancients in Late Latin Poetry (forthcoming, Winter Verlag).

Chris Francese is Asbury J. Clarke Professor of Classical Studies at Dickinson College. He specializes in Latin literature, and is project director of Dickinson College Commentaries. He is the author of Ancient Rome in So Many Words (Hippocrene 2007), and Ancient Rome: An Anthology of Sources (Hackett, 2014).

Conventiculum Dickinsoniense 2018

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July 5-11, 2018

The Conventiculum Dickinsoniense is an immersion seminar designed for those who want to acquire some ability at ex-tempore expression in Latin. A wide range of people can benefit from the seminar: professors in universities, teachers in secondary schools, graduate students, undergraduates, and other lovers of Latin, provided that anyone who considers applying has a solid understanding of the grammatical essentials of the Latin language. A minimum requirement for participation is knowledge of Latin grammar and the ability to read a Latin text of average complexity – even if this reading ability depends on frequent use of a dictionary.  But no previous experience in speaking Latin is necessary. Sessions will be aimed at helping participants to increase their ability to use Latin effectively in spoken discourse and to understand others speaking in Latin. After the first evening reception (in which any language may be spoken), Latin will be the language used throughout the seminar.

head shot of Terence Tunberg

Terence Tunberg

Participants will be involved in intensive activity each day from morning until early evening (with breaks for lunch and mid-afternoon pauses). They will experience Latin conversations on topics ranging from themes in literature and art all the way to the routines and activities of daily life, and will enjoy the benefits of reading and discussing texts in the target language. Activities will involve both written and spoken discourse, both of which engage the active faculties of expression, and each of which is complementary to the other. The seminar will not merely illustrate how active Latin can be a useful tool for teachers, it will show how developing an active facility in Latin can directly and personally benefit any cultivator of Latin who wishes to acquire a more instinctive command of the language and a more intimate relationship with Latin writings.

Head shot of Milena Minkova

Milena Minkova


Prof. Milena Minkova, University of Kentucky

Prof. Terence Tunberg, University of Kentucky

We can accept a maximum number of 40 participants. Deadline for applications is May 1, 2018. The participation fee for each participant will $400. The fee includes lodging in a single room in campus housing (and please note that lodging will be in a student residence near the site of the sessions), two meals (breakfast and lunch) per day, as well as the opening dinner, and a cookout at the Dickinson farm. Included in this price is also the facilities fee, which allows access to the gym, fitness center, and the library, as well as internet access. The $400 fee does not include the cost of dinners (except for the opening dinner and the cookout at the Dickinson farm), and does not include the cost of travel to and from the seminar. Dinners can easily be had at restaurants within walking distance from campus.  Please keep in mind that the participation fee of $400, once it has been received by the seminar’s organizers, is not refundable. This is an administrative necessity.

camp fire at the farm, Conventiculum farm dinner

camp fire at the Dickinson farm, Conventiculum Dickinsoniense

Registered participants should plan to arrive in Carlisle, PA on July 5, in time to attend the first event of the seminar. This first event is an opening dinner and welcoming reception for all participants, which will begin at about 6:00 p.m., in which all languages are acceptable. The actual workshop sessions (in which Latin will the exclusive language) will begin early the next morning on July 6.

For more information and application instructions write to: Professor Terence Tunberg:

Dickinson Latin Workshop 2018: Maffeius, Historiae Indicae

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Dickinson Latin Workshop 2018: Maffeius, Historiae Indicae

July 12–17, 2018

The Dickinson Summer Latin Workshop is intended for teachers of Latin, as a way to refresh the mind through study of an extended Latin text, and to share experiences and ideas with Latinists and teachers. Sometimes those who are not currently engaged in teaching have participated as well, including retired teachers and those working towards teacher certification.

Christopher Francese (Dickinson College)
Leni Ribeiro Leiti (Federal University of Espírito Santo, Vitória, Brazil)

The text for 2018 will be taken from the Historiae Indicae of Giovanni Pietro Maffei (1536–1604, Latin name Maffeius). This 16-book history tells the story of the Portuguese voyages of conquest and discovery in the sixteenth century around the coast of Africa, to the Malabar Coast of India, on to Malacca, China, and Japan. It was widely read and admired all over Europe in its time, and draws on a variety of sources, some of which are now lost. We plan to read the sections of the work that describe the wonders of China, Brazil, and the Indian Ocean.

Jacques de Sève, “Le Pangolin,” illustration from Georges-Louis Leclerc, comte de Buffon, Histoire Naturelle, générale et particulière, avec la description du Cabinet du Roi (1749–1804). Source: Gallica

Jacques de Sève, “Le Pangolin,” illustration from Georges-Louis Leclerc, comte de Buffon, Histoire Naturelle, générale et particulière, avec la description du Cabinet du Roi (1749–1804). Source: Gallica

Maffei’s Latin is elegant, but not difficult. Contemporaries compared his style to that of Caesar. Yet he is no humble imitator, and the hallmarks of his writing are clarity and variety. In the words of fellow historian Faminio Strada, “nothing anywhere unkempt or careless; indeed, elegant perfection from beginning to end—unless his only fault is that he has no faults.” His vocabulary is strictly classical, except when he needs terms for unfamiliar items, such as “tea” (chia) or “pangolin” (cabim); even so, for “chopstick” he manages to find an appropriate word in Varro and Pliny the Elder, paxillus (“small stake, peg”). Though no full commentary exists, the moderators will supply notes on such special usages.

The participation fee for each participant will $400. The fee covers lodging, breakfast, lunch and dinner in the Dickinson cafeteria, the facilities fee, which allows access to the gym, fitness center, and the library, as well as wireless and wired internet access while on campus. The fee does not cover the costs of books or travel, or of dinners, which are typically eaten in the various restaurants in Carlisle. Please keep in mind that the participation fee, once it has been received by the seminar’s organizers, is not refundable. This is an administrative necessity.

Lodging: accommodations will be in a student residence hall near the site of the sessions. The building features suite-style configurations of two double rooms sharing a private bathroom, or one double and one single room sharing a private bathroom.

The first event will be an introductory dinner at 6:00 p.m., July 12. The final session ends at noon on July 17, with lunch to follow. Sessions will meet from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. each day, with the afternoons left free for preparation.

Application deadline: May 1, 2018.

Fee deadline: June 1, 2018.

TO APPLY: please contact Mrs. Terri Blumenthal, by the application deadline. The fee is due in a check made out to Dickinson College, by the fee deadline.

For more information please contact Prof. Chris Francese (


Tweeting the Babylonian Epic of Creation

Chris Francese No Comments

The Greek and Roman Mythology class today composed tweets about the triumph of Marduk over Tiamat in the Babylonian Epic of Creation, the killing of Qingu and the creation of Primeval Man from the blood of this defeated enemy. The Annunaki are 300 of the 600 other gods, who build the great temple of Marduk in the center of Babylon. Here are the results!

Tweeting Marduk 2 Tweeting Marduk.1


I created man, I created Babylon, and I’m the one who gathered the gods and divided them

Working on a new species! Anybody have some viscera they can lend me?
guess who just became king of the gods? #Iamawesome

Look at what I can do. @Qingu coming for you

Just came up with idea for primeval man #timeforvacation


Donated blood, didn’t even get a cookie #unfair

@therealmarduk – at least I still have the twitter handle @marduk #bloodless&beheaded

I really screwed up, please don’t take my blood. #FreeQingu

Hella pissed, woke up late for the war and got turned into “man” #Marduksux

Who has a non-extradition treaty? #sorry

Remember that time I started a war and lost? The Anunnaki did #lol


It’s my birthday #HBD2me

Showed up for work, everyone’s on break #Toilisreal

Working on my birthday

When the Gods create you from the blood of a traitor just to do their work #fml

… Guess we’ll just get to work #blessed

@Qingu thanks dude #WWQD

Made of godly blood, ‘stead of clay & stuff #suckitgreeks


Going to Marduk’s House #sleepover

Built shrine for new boss, then a city. What next?

Snitchers don’t get snitches as long as you’re chill with building Babylon

So glad #drama is done. Lovin the new boss! #MondayFriday

RT if man should build this #ThanksBoss Party in Babylon

We just wanted a house but it’s been a year since we have been making Babylon #allwewantisahome #Squadof600



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