Dickinson Ancient Greek Workshop 2019: The Sale of Lives

Dickinson Ancient Greek Workshop 2019: The Sale of Lives

Chris Francese No Comments
  Summer opportunities

Dickinson Ancient Greek Workshop: Lucian, The Sale of Lives

July 12–18, 2019

Roundel with Comic Mask, ca. 300 BC. South Italian. J. Paul Getty Museum 96.AC.88. Source: J. Paul Getty Museum

Roundel with Comic Mask, ca. 300 BC. South Italian. J. Paul Getty Museum 96.AC.88. Source: J. Paul Getty Museum

The Dickinson Workshops are mainly intended for teachers of Latin and Greek, to refresh the mind through study of an extended text, and to share experiences and ideas. Sometimes those who are not currently engaged in teaching have participated as well, including students, retired teachers, and those working towards teacher certification.

The text for 2019 is Βίων πρᾶσις, literally “The Sale of Lives,” also known as Philosophies for Sale or Vitarum Auctio, by Lucian of Samosata (ca. 120–190 AD). It is a comic dialogue or script in which Zeus acts as owner-manager of a slave auction house, with Hermes as the auctioneer. Together they attempt to sell the various Greek philosophical schools to wary buyers, as if the philosophers were potential servants. Pythagoras, Heraclitus, and Socrates are all on the block, as are the famous Cynic Diogenes, and a fast-talking Stoic. What can they do for you? The work can serve as a humorous introduction to all the major schools of philosophy in the Roman empire, but no sect is unscathed as Lucian ruthlessly parodies their mannerisms and excesses.

Lucian’s Greek is generally straightforward, so this text would be good for those whose Greek might be a bit rusty. Comprehensive notes and vocabulary for the forthcoming Dickinson College Commentaries edition of this text by Dr. Casey will also prove helpful for those seeking to improve ancient Greek reading fluency.


Eric Casey (Teacher of Latin and Greek, Trinity School, New York City)

Christopher Francese (Asbury J. Clarke Professor of Classical Studies, Dickinson College)

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 18, 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, 2019.

Fee deadline: June 1, 2019.

TO APPLY: please contact Mrs. Terri Blumenthal, blumentt@dickinson.edu 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 (francese@dickinson.edu)

Conventiculum Dickinsoniense 2019

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  Summer opportunities Uncategorized


July 5-11, 2019

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. 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.


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, 2019. The participation fee for each participant will be $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.

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 buffet 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:



Expansion of Caesar Gallic War Commentary

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Thanks to the excellent work of several contributors, the DCC edition of selections from Caesar’s Gallic War has roughly doubled in size. New features include:

Notes selected, edited, and equipped with links

JoAnne Miller chose, transcribed, and edited the notes using a series of commentaries, including those of Allen and Greenough, Anthon, Harkness, Harper and Tolman, Hodges, T. Rice Holmes, Francis Kelsey, Lowe and Ewing, Spencer, Merryweather and Tancock, Moberly, Stock, Arthur Tappan Walker, and A.S. Walpole (links to source editions are here). In the age of big data it might seem attractive to have access to all notes that have ever been written on a particular passage. But if you’ve ever looked at these older editions you know that less is more. JoAnne’s job was to find just the kinds of notes that students are likely to want and need, and to cut out the dross, errors, and pedantry. For that kind of work you need not only JoAnne’s superb Latin and knowledge of the subject, but her decades of teaching experience to be able to anticipate what contemporary students will find troublesome. She updated the sometimes archaic English used by these authors, and made the formatting clean and consistent.

Over winter break 2017–18 the notes were further proofread and edited, and links were added, by Eli Goings (Dickinson ’18), Beth Eidam (’20), and Carl Hamilton (’21). The main kinds of links are geographical (normally to Pleiades for ancient places or, for contemporary European places, Wikipedia), grammatical (to the DCC edition of Allen & Greenough’s Latin Grammar), and rhetorical, with definitions for a few literary and rhetorical devices used by Caesar. These go to Wikipedia or Wiktionary, which have clear definitions and examples from a variety of languages, not just Latin.

The Latin text itself was initially taken from the Latin Library by JoAnne Miller. She did an initial round of editing and adding macrons, using Johan Winge’s A Latin Macronizer and her own corrections of its output. The text was checked and made to conform with DuPontet’s Oxford Classical Text (our normal but not inflexible policy for Caesar), by Eli Goings, Beth Eidam, and Carl Hamilton. Final textual checking and macron adjustments were made by me and Jonathan Rockey in summer 2018.

Vocabulary with custom Caesarian definitions

Wadleigh High School building 1902

Wadleigh High School, Harlem, New York, ca. 1902. Photo: RentalDesigns.com

In the early 1900s Archibald Livingston Hodges was Latin instructor at historic Wadleigh High School in Harlem, New York City. Hodges’ edition of Caesar’s Gallic War was a notable academic publishing event of 1909. It was a student-friendly edition on which much labor was spent, not only in its lavish illustrations and scrupulous placing of macrons on the Latin text, but in its exhaustive lexicon, which includes specific Caesarian definitions for all words and proper names in BG 1–7. In 2015, with support from Dickinson College’s Research and Development Committee, I had Hodges’ Caesar Lexicon professionally digitized by NewGen KnowledgeWorks. Over the next couple of years Seth Levin (Dickinson ’19) transferred the Hodges definitions into a master spreadsheet, cleaned up the definitions and lemmas, matching Hodges’ lemmas with lemmas recognized by The Bridge. Bret Mulligan of Haverford College then added this data to The Bridge, which allowed for users of The Bridge to select Hodges’ custom definitions whenever they want vocabulary lists for any section of Caesar’s Gallic War. Over the 2017–18 winter break Dickinson students Eli Goings, Beth Eidam, and Carl Hamilton used The Bridge to create vocabulary lists for the new sections of BG 1, formatted them in html, and uploaded them to the site. As usual, the lists exclude items from the DCC core Latin vocabulary.

Newly digitized historical maps

At initial publication in 2010 the DCC Caesar edition had a dozen or so digitized maps from older editions. In 2013 Daniel Plekhov (Dickinson ’13) added the splendid new map of Caesar’s Gaul he created using ArcGIS. In the spring of 2018 the University Librarian at Arizona State University generously funded work to massively expand the collection, and in summer 2018 Beth Eidam embarked under my supervision on a project to scan and equip with appropriate metadata all published maps available for Caesar’s Gallic War that are in the public domain. In the end this amounted to more than two hundred newly digitized maps by nineteen authors: A. Von Kampen, A.F. Barbie du Bocage, A.J. Mason , A.L. Hodges, Albert Harkness, Alexander Keith Johnston, Arthur Tappan Walker, C.J. Peters and Son, Edward Stanford, Emery Walker, Eugene Stoffel, Francis W. Kelsey, G.W. Boynton, H. Meusel, H.F. Towle & P.R. Jenks, Raimund Oehler, T. Rice Holmes, T.A. Dodge, and W.R. Harper and H.C. Tolman.

This work was undertaken with the invaluable help of Dickinson Library Digital Projects Manager Don Sailer and archivist James Gerencser.

Theodore Ayrault Dodge (1842 – 1909), the American officer, military historian, and businessman who traveled in the tracks of Caesar and mapped his battled and routes.

Theodore Ayrault Dodge (1842 – 1909), the American officer, military historian, and businessman who traveled in the tracks of Caesar and mapped his battles and routes. Photo: Wikipedia

The richest sources were the publications of two military men and historians. The American soldier, businessman, and author Theodore Ayrault Dodge (1842-1909) was from Pittsfield, Massachusetts. After receiving a first rate military education in Berlin and London he enlisted as a private on the Union side in the American Civil War, retiring at the rank of major in 1870 to pursue a business career. Despite losing a leg at Gettysburg, he was an indefatigable traveler and historian. He wrote The Campaign of Chancellorsville (1881) and Bird’s Eye View of the Civil War (1883). From 1890 to 1907 he published twelve volumes of his History of the Art of War: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, Gustavus Adolphus, Frederick the Great, and Napoleon. His two volumes on Caesar, which I am proud to own, include his dozens of sketch maps and plans for all of Caesar’s texts, based on first hand acquaintance with the routes and places. (Details of Dodge’s bio are from Wikipedia.)


Eugene Stoffel's map of Vesontio

Eugene Stoffel’s map of Vesontio. Photo: DCC

Eugène Stoffel had a distinguished military career in his native France before being put in charge of the excavations of Gergovia and Alesia by Napoleon III. Backed by that kind of clout and cash, he was able to publish maps for Caesar’s works that are second to none in detail and geographical richness. They were also included with Napoleon’s biography of Caesar, the last volume of which Stoffel finished after Napoleon’s death.

These newly digitized maps supplement the excellent recent work of another historian-soldier, Captain Antonio Salinas of West Point, whose Caesar strategy maps made with Google Earth and using standard NATO symbology. Originally published in the Michigan War Studies Review, these have been part of the DCC edition from the beginning, thanks to Captain Salinas. All these maps exist and can be searched for in the DCC image viewer, and the ones that are relevant to specific pages of the DCC edition are also linked in the media fields for those pages.

Finally, I was to express my continuing gratitude to Jonathan Rockey, whose dulcet basso, exact knowledge of Latin prosody, and humane feeling for the music of Latin has done so much to enhance DCC over the years.

I am immensely grateful to all the individuals who contributed to the significant expansion, both to the living contributors named above, and to those energetic scholars of the past like A. L. Hodges and T.A. Dodge, whose works we have endeavored to revive and bring to a new audience in new ways.

Fully Parsed Apuleius Progress

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Significant headway yesterday on the ongoing project to digitize the Index Apuleianus. This print work, created by William Oldfather et. al., was published in 1934 by the American Philological Association. Bret Mulligan and I received a small grant for digitization from the copyright holder, the Society for Classical Studies. The value of concordances was once widely acknowledged, but since the rise of computing the genre has fallen into neglect and disrepute. Bret and I are engaged in a data reclamation mission. A proper index or concordance is essentially a fully parsed text that has been chopped up and organized by dictionary headword. The parsing was done by very competent scholars who put a lot of time and effort into correctly analyzing each and every word of the text. What we are doing is unscrambling them to yield the fully parsed texts so they can be used in The Bridge, a tool that allows users to create accurate vocabulary lists for Latin and Ancient Greek texts.

Just unscramble the index and get a parsed text: excellent in theory, but what about the practice? Each of these print indices and concordances has quirks that make processing the data a matter for careful thought. The SCS grant allowed us to have the Index Apuleianus professionally digitized by NewGen Knowledge Works. This yielded data that was somewhat messy, and what I did yesterday was carefully examine what we have and figure out what we need and what we don’t. For example:

sample of digitized concordance with deletions marked&lorbrk; represents the double brackets that are ubiquitous in Oldfather’s Index. They indicate words that are found not in the published texts of Apuleius used to compile the Index  (the Teubner editions of 1908-1913) but only in the Additamentum ad Apparatum Criticum which the team laboriously compiled to add to the number of variant readings identified and emendations proposed since the publication of the source editions. The Index was heavily oriented toward advancing the textual criticism of Apuleius. His team reported every single notable textual variant or proposed emendation known up to that time, even when the variant readings were clearly mistakes in the principle manuscript, F (Florence, Bibl. Med. Laurenziana 68.2, 11th century). The superscript * indicates that a reading is correct, but urges the reader to consult the Additamentum.  On inspection it became clear that all matter in double brackets needed to go. The same was true for material in single square brackets. They contained not likely readings but emendations proposed for lacunae by older critics, most of them not even mentioned by the latest critical texts, such as the newish OCT of the Metamorphoses by Zimmerman. Likewise for our purposes things like the dagger symbol indicated an unsolved textual problem was not needed. Issues of that kind will be dealt with in post-production, and just gum up the works here. Words in parentheses, however, are accepted in the text, but the parentheses are a signal that the word is mentioned in some serious way in the apparatus criticus. 

My Dickinson colleague in the Computer Science Department Michael Skalak is writing up a script to remove what for Oldfather and his team was crucial information, but for us constitutes noise.

This is a basic summary of the deletions:

<SUP>*</SUP> this exact string
[…] all text within brackets, and the brackets themselves. Watch out for missing close bracket (see below)
&lobrk; … &robrk; all txt within double bracket symbol, and the symbol itself
<il>[omiem? M 7, 7, 8.]</il>  any lemma that consists entirely of bracketed material
<il>no digits</il> all lemmas that have no numerals
&dagger; dagger symbol
(<I>u. et</I> Sicinius) “see also” cross-references. The <I>u. et</> tag  (“see also”) and everything within it, and with it within parentheses, should be deleted, along with the parentheses themselves. All instances of the <I>u. et</> tag that are not within parentheses seem to be in lemmas with no numerals, and this will already be deleted.

Since the chapters in many of Apulieus’ works are quite large, Oldfather and his team felt the need for some kind of location data that wouldn’t leave you reading an entire page of Latin just to find a single word. They decided to use the line numbers in the Teubners. Problem is, those line numbers are not at all standard, and have indeed changed in subsequent revisions of the Teubner texts themselves. We too would love to have more accurate location data, but are for the moment stuck with these obsolete line numbers.

After cleaning, Skalak’s script will structure the data as follows:

A: lemma (first word after <il> tag, sometimes preceded by “(“)

B: Work title, abbreviated

C: Citation form (chapter and line, or book, chapter, and line in the Teubners), with underscore between numbers for easier processing by the Bridge

D: Word form as it appears in the text

E: Any syntactical tagging added by Oldfather et al.

For example:

omniformis As 35_16 omniformis  
omniformis As 19_24 omniformem (<I>m.</I.)
omniformis As 34_26 omniformes (<I>f.</I.)
omniformis As 36_15 omniformes  
omniformis As 3_17 omniformium (<I>f.</I>)

After post-processing and checking, this will allow us to upload the text to the Bridge, and create a stand-alone database for this information on DCC. It will not of course be perfect, primarily because textual criticism of Apuleius has moved on since the early 20th century, but it will allow students and teachers to create custom vocabulary lists for all works Apuleius, and substantially increase the readability of his texts. (This is already the case for the Aeneid, Caesar’s Gallic War, et al., thanks to the Bridge.) Another benefit for scholars will be ready access to the frequency and morphology information contained in the Index, which is currently hard to access.

Filipe Binh: Latin from 19th century Vietnam

Chris Francese No Comments
A catechism in Latin and Vietnamese by Alexandre de Rhodes  (1591-1660)

A catechism in Latin and Vietnamese by Alexandre de Rhodes (1591-1660)

In The Portuguese Seaborne Empire 1415-1825 (New York: Knopf, 1969), Charles Boxer mentions the Vietnamese priest Filipe Binh, alias Filipe do Rosario, who wrote extensively in Vietnamese, Portuguese, and Latin. Boxer is discussing the institution of the Portuguese Padroado, by which the Portuguese monarchs exerted direct control over the missions in the Portuguese imperial sphere, and excluded missionaries from Spain, France, Italy, and other countries. The Padroado was initially granted willingly by the Vatican in the 16th century, when Rome was not primarily interested in missionary activity in the new overseas empires. But later competition from other countries and lack of attention by the monarchy led to all kinds of problems, political, financial, and religious. By the late 18th century it was essentially moribund, a liability rather than an asset to the Church, and the Portuguese were having severe trouble staffing the missions.

This peculiar institution [the Padroado] was, moreover, capable of inspiring a devoted loyalty in some of the native clergy who served it, even in its darkest days. Among them is the rather pathetic figure of the Vietnamese priest Filipe Binh, alias Filipe do Rosario. Born and bred in the Jesuits’ Tongking mission, he arrived at Lisbon with three companions in 1796, as an envoy from his people to ask for some Portuguese missionaries under the auspices of the Padroado. The times of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars were singularly unpropitious for any such project, and he died in 1833 without seeing his native land again. He was the last defender of the Padroado in Indochina, and he left twenty-three volumes of manuscript works in Vietnamese, Portuguese and Latin as proof of his attachment to this lost cause. (p. 247)

Now, where could one find father Binh’s Latin writings? The only evidence of Binh’s work in Worldcat is a microfilm of manuscripts in the Bibliotheca Vaticana, of which Cornell University owns a copy. The catalogue entry mentions Orationes (reel 5), Historica chronolologica dos Pontifices (reel 4). Reel 2 has an intriguing entry for a Dictionarium Annamiticum, seu Tunkinese Lusitana, & Latina declaratione,  evidently a Vietnamese dictionary with Portuguese and Latin definitions. It is unclear how that would relate to Dictionarium Annamiticum Lusitanum et Latinum by Alexandre de Rhodes (1591-1660), which appeared in 1651.

I would be most curious to know if anybody has more information about Binh and his Latin writings. He sounds like an interesting figure, and his works seem never to have been printed.

Ancient Sources for Hypatia and Agora

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movie poster for AgoraI am teaching the film Agora (2009) for the second time this year in my class Ancient Worlds on Film. Despite some considerable hunting I have not been able to find a convenient collection of the ancient sources on the fascinating philosopher and mathematician Hypatia of Alexandria, the subject of the film. Since comparison of film and ancient sources is at the heart of the course I was constrained to make my own collection, which I offer here for the benefit of anybody else interested in the film. In include Rufinus’ account of the storming of the temple of Serapis,  which figures prominently in the film. I also put in accounts of Hypatia from both Christian (John of Nikiu, Socrates) and pagan or Neo-Platonist (Palladas, Damascius, the Suda) perspectives.  The main gap is the letters of Synesius, which I did not include. For more on Hypatia and the film, I recommend the following:

  • Michael Deakin, “Hypatia and Her Mathematics,” American Mathematical Monthly 101.3 (1994), 234–243.
  • Donald Viney, “Remembering and Misremembering Hypatia: The Lessons of Agora,” Midwest Quarterly 54.4 (2013), 352–369.
  • Alex McAuley, “Hypatia’s Hijab: Visual Echoes of 9/11 in Alejandro Almenábar’s Agora.” Mouseion, Series III, Vol. 13 (2016): 131–152.
  • Lauren Kaplow, “Religious and Intercommunal Violence in Alexandria in the 4th and 5th centuries CE.” Hirundo: The McGill Journal of Classical Studies 4 (2005-2006) 2-26.

Ancient Sources for Agora-2018-4-27


ΗΣΦ 90th Annual Convention Schedule

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ΗΣΦ logo, owl sitting on a branch

ΗΣΦ is the college honorary society for classical studies, and Dickinson is proud to be hosting their 90th annual this weekend. Here is the schedule!

Friday, March 23rd

5:00-7:00pm, Great Room, Allison Hall

Registration and Reception

Light refreshments will be provided before the formal program begins

7:00-9:00pm, Great Room, Allison Hall

Opening Remarks and Certamen

Saturday, March 24th

7:00-8:30am, Comfort Suites

Continental Breakfast

9:00-11:00am, Great Room, Allison Hall

First Business Meeting

Megas Prytanis Christopher Maze, presiding

Minutes of the 89th Annual Convention

Megale Grammateus Katlyn Yost


  1. Chapter Reports
  2. Report of Contests
  3. Report of Scholarships
  4. Report of Megas Chrysophylax
  5. Report of Megale Hyparchos
  6. Old Business
  7. New Business
  8. Bids to host the 92nd Annual Convention (2020)
  9. Nominations for 2018-2019 National Officers

11:00-11:15am: Break

11:15am-12:30pm, Allison Hall Great Room

Presentation of Student Papers

John James, Eta Delta at Hillsdale College, “Emotional Evocation and the Psychology of Sign: Gorgias’ Response to Questions of Communication in Helen”

Sophia Decker, Tau at the 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, Eta Delta at Hillsdale College , “Developing an Eschatological Narrative: An Interpretation of Via Latina’s ‘Hercules Cycle’ through the Eyes of the Late Antique Roman Viewer”


Lunch, Dickinson College Cafeteria- Holland Union Building

Break-out Sessions (1:00-3:15)

1-2:30 pm, East College 111 (Classics Library)

Latin Declamation Contest

Session One

1:30-2:15pm, Ceramics Studio (Limit 20 Students)

Vase Painting

Rachel Eng, Assistant Professor of Art and Archaeology

In this workshop students will learn the different processes used in black and red figure pottery. We will look at examples of imagery from each style and learn how to apply the same techniques to clay forms.

1:30-2:15pm, Mumper Stuart Education Center, Weiss Basement

Classical Treasures at the Trout Gallery

From a chunk of the Parthenon to a denarius of Septimius Severus, The Trout Gallery has a treasure trove of classical objects. In this interactive program, learn about our well-documented pieces, and contribute to scholarship on some of our little-researched gems.

1:30-2:15pm, Allison Hall Community Room (basement)

Caesar and the Battle of Alesia, Diorama and Lecture

General John Bonin, Professor of Concepts and Doctrine,

US Army War College,

A history of the battle and its significance. Prof. Bonin will also construct a diorama, populated by his own hand-painted figurines, to illustrate the battle itself.

1:30-2:15pm, On-Campus Dig Site

Michael Sinclair, Keck Archaeology Lab

A demonstration of Dickinson’s Dig Simulator.

Session Two

2:30-3:15pm, Mumper Stuart Education Center, Weiss Basement

Classical Treasures at the Trout Gallery

From a chunk of the Parthenon to a denarius of Septimius Severus, The Trout Gallery has a treasure trove of classical objects. In this interactive program, learn about our well-documented pieces, and contribute to scholarship on some of our little-researched gems.

2:30-3:15pm, Allison Hall Community Room (basement)

Caesar and the Battle of Alesia, Diorama and Lecture

General John Bonin, Professor of Concepts and Doctrine,

US Army War College, will speak about the battle and its historical significance. He will also construct a diorama, populated by his own hand-painted figurines, to illustrate the battle itself.

2:30-3:15PM, Denny 112

Digital Maker Space

Prof. Francese, Senior Editor and Project Director of Dickinson Classical Commentaries, provides an introduction to digitial humanities at Dickinson. Dickinson students Ian White, Beth Eidam, Connor Ford, and Claire Jeantheau present their projects.

3:30-4:30pm, Allison Hall and East College

Committee Meetings

  1. New Chapters (Denny 112)
  2. Finance (Allison Hall Great Room)
  3. Contest and Scholarships (East College 107)
  4. Convention (East College 300)
  5. Resolutions (East College 301)
  6. Officers (East College 102)

5:30pm, Charles M. Kanev Planetarium

Mythology and the Stars

6:00pm, Charles M. Kanev Planetarium

Mythology and the Stars

7:00-9:00pm, Holland Union Building, Social Hall


Awards Ceremony

Vir et femina vestiti optime

Certamen Award

Paper Award

Service Award

Latin Declamation Contest Winner

Lifetime Achievement Awards:

Hans-Friedrich Mueller

Judith P. Hallett

Sunday, March 25th

8:00-8:45am, Comfort Suites

Continental Breakfast

9:00am-12:00pm, Great Room, Allison Hall

Second Business Meeting,

Megas Prytanis Christopher Maze, presiding

  1. Contest for Chapter Regalia
  2. Committee Reports
  3. Report of the Executive Secretary
  4. Report of the Chair of the Board of Trustees
  5. Election of 2020 Convention Site
  6. Resolutions and Amendments
  7. Election of 2018-19 National Officers
  8. Installation of Officers

Closing Remarks

Translating Catullus for a Student Audience

Chris Francese one comments

Catullus is one of the most frequently translated of Latin poets, but when it comes to English versions suitable for classroom use (that is, reasonably close to the Latin, not seriously dated, and widely available) there are three:

All three have introductions and notes. The versions of Lee and Green include the Latin on facing pages.

Mummy portrait girl British Museum

Mummy Portrait of a girl, AD 50-70, Roman Egypt. Image © The Trustees of the British Museum

In my opinion Green’s is by far the best of the three, and this is also the verdict of Stephen Willetts in his long review article comparing the versions of Green, Lee, David Mulroy and Martin.[1] Green is an English-born classicist and writer, and a veteran translator of Ovid, Juvenal, and other classical authors. His version of Catullus is vigorous, frank, and often very clever. As some reviewers noted, however, both the translation and the notes assume an audience of advanced students or non-specialist scholars, and “will perhaps be less appealing to undergraduates or to the casual reader.”[2] It also leans heavily on sometimes outdated British slang, especially when it comes to the obscene poems (e.g., “little scrubber” for scortillum at 10.3, ditto for puella at 41.1, “whanger” for pene at 15.9, “rogering” for pedicare at 21.4, “one spent shag” at 10.22). While I myself love Green’s notes and extensive introduction—if you know some Catullus scholarship his treatments are masterpieces of concision and insight—I fear that students can’t always follow them. Some reviewers also came down hard on Green’s attachment to biographical interpretations, and his sometimes cavalier attitude toward scholars with whom he disagrees.[3] So those who wanted to use his introductory matter in a class on Roman literature, for example, would have to do some work to contextualize Green’s views.

Another aspect of Green that has to be reckoned with is his determination to imitate Catullus’ meters systematically in English accentual verse. He explains and defends this practice at length in the Introduction (pp. 24–32). His view, shared strongly by Willetts and Martin, though not by Lee, is that the Latin quantitative patterns both can be reproduced exactly using English word accent, and that the attempt to do so must be made, because “the rhythm, the beat, of a poem constitutes its essential musical core.” (27) To use a different meter is in his view “wholly misleading.” Willetts believes that all translators of Catullus must “lay out the exact forms of English rhythm and their variations that will represent quantitative meters,” and that “translators who fail that minimum requirement should not see print” (177).

While Green’s success in this endeavor is remarkable in its own terms, there is sometimes a cost in tone and word choice. His version of 1, for example, begins:

Who’s the dedicatee of my new witty

booklet, all fresh-polished with abrasive?

To render dono with “dedicatee” is to choose the wrong register. “Dedicatee” is a word from literary criticism, not from poetry, or even ordinary spoken English. But it helps Green get the metrical shape he insists on.[4] Martin, also striving to render the hendecasyllable in English, begins:

To whom will I give this sophisticated

abrasively accomplished new collection?

As with Green, the metrical imitation of the Latin is impressive, but the word choice problematic. To have Catullus begin by calling his own work “sophisticated” and “accomplished”— in his most literal meaning he is just referring to the elegant appearance of the physical book—is to make him sound self-satisfied and complacent. “Abrasively” for pumice is clever if you know the Latin, but unclear otherwise.

Lee’s version strives for a very concise, literal rendering, which often leads to a bland, rather dull effect:

Whom do I give a neat new booklet

Polished up lately with dry pumice?

This faithfully represents the sense of the Latin, but at a price. “Booklet” is technically correct for libellum, but hardly consistent with the main point, that the physical object looks lovely. In the name of economy and respect of the literal meaning of the text, Lee often under-translates in this way, as with “love neat,” for merum amorem (13.9), which is obscure if you don’t know the Latin, or “talent” for talentum in 12.8, also obscure, since the reference to the ancient monetary unit is unexplained. “Attend Thetis’ nuptial torches” is a typically over-literal rendering of Thetidis taedas celebrare iugalis (64.302). I can imagine assigning Lee’s version to students if I want them to know what Catullus says, but not if I want them to understand what makes Catullus enjoyable. And he too tends to rely on British slang in a way that may be off-putting for American readers (“I’ll bugger you and stuff your gobs, / Aurelius Kink and Poofter Furius 16.1–2; “give a toss” for faceret pili 10.13).

I can understand why Green, Martin, and Willetts want to insist on accentual, metrical renderings. Catullus is a deft metrician, it seems like a betrayal not to bring this out in translation. They would see a “free verse” version as a serious dereliction of duty. As Martin puts it, “if your author is a high-wire walker, you are not going to be able to convey the excitement he generates by tiptoeing along a piece of string stretched out on the floor” (p. xxv). As the metaphor implies, on this view metrical verse is high and exciting, unmetrical verse, low and pedestrian.

Yet metrical form as a constraint by no means enjoys the unchallenged position in English poetry that it once did, and it need not be treated as a sine qua non. Even apart from the practice of today’s poets, students are not now weaned on exclusively metrical verse as they once were, and I doubt whether today’s student audience is even capable of perceiving Green’s metrical virtuosity. More importantly, Martin and the others overdraw the antithesis between metrical verse on the one hand, and everything else. Language is not unpoetic, commonplace, or low, just because it’s not metrical, as the practice of many distinguished English poets working today will attest. It is a mistake to privilege meter at the expense of other factors that go to produce a sense of elevation and freshness: density, economy, avoidance of cliché, and careful attention to sound.

These goals, along with the getting the right tone and diction, attaining readability and clarity, and arranging for the right emphasis, outweigh the importance of accentual metrics, and must not be sacrificed to it. In my personal hierarchy of priorities tone and level of diction rank first, which is why a word like “dedicatee” or “booklet” bothers me. A second absolutely paramount value for me is clarity and readability. It is imperative to use natural English syntactical patterns, and not to use a given grammatical structure simply because it corresponds to a Latin one. One should simplify complex Latin constructions, so long as that does not do serious violence to the shape of the poem. Willetts has harsh words for translators who over-simplify syntax for the sake of readability.[5] But one can tread a middle path. Close behind tone and syntactical clarity comes the matter of emphasis. Which words in the Latin are highlighted by virtue of the word order, syntax, or just by being unusual or significant in the context? The last four lines of 101, for example, contain a violent hyperbaton:

nunc tamen interea haec, prisco quae more parentum          

            tradita sunt tristi munere ad inferias, 

accipe fraterno multum manantia fletu,        

            atque in perpetuum, frater, ave atque vale!

The purpose of this hyperbaton, as commentators point out, is to throw a spotlight on accipe, a crucial word that sums up the basic gesture of the poem. But the syntax is impossible in English. Lee moves the verb up for clarity:

But now, meanwhile, accept these gifts which by old custom

Of the ancestors are offered in sad duty

At funeral rites, gifts drenched in a brother’s tears,

And forever, brother, greetings and farewell. (Lee)

Martin keeps accipe where it is, but adds a new phrase, “I must celebrate grief”:

But now I must celebrate grief with funeral tributes

offered the dead in the ancient way of the fathers;

accept these presents, wet with my brotherly tears, and

now & forever, my brother, hail & farewell. (Martin)

Martin’s addition is an effective oxymoron, perhaps, but not Catullus. Green adds “here I offer,” which helpfully brings us back to the central point of the situation:

Still, here now I offer those gifts which by ancestral custom

are presented, sad offerings, at such obsequies:

accept them, soaked as they are with a brother’s weeping,

and brother, forever now hail and farewell. (Green)

In the version I wrote for the sourcebook on Roman Civilization published by Hackett in 2014, a book produced in collaboration with Scott Smith, I repeated the emphatic accipe, and broke the two couplets with a full stop:

So take these, at least for now, the dismal funeral gifts

            our ancestral custom has handed down.

Take them, wet with your brother’s tears, and in eternity

            hail and farewell, brother, hail and farewell. 

This version introduces repetition to the final line, in an attempt to bring out the emphatic solemnity of the traditional phrase ave atque vale.

Another problem in these lines is nunc tamen interea. Rather bland and colorless in literal translation, in Latin these words poignantly emphasize the futility of the gesture Catullus is making. Lee, literal as always, settles for “But now, meanwhile.” Martin ejects interea completely in favor of his added phrase, which is a real shame. He probably disliked the prosaic feel of “meanwhile,” which did not bother Lee. Green’s “Still, here now” is a good solution, since it brings the important tamen to first position in the line, and separates it with a comma, so it can be properly felt. “Here” adds vividness in keeping with the context. My own approach was to put even more emphasis on nunc tamen interea by giving it a four word phrase, marked off by commas, but only after the verb. Having the verb first both enhances clarity and reflects the importance of the word.

Part of the job of getting Catullus to make sense to students is equipping the text with an introduction and notes. Martin’s introduction is very much in the traditional of belles lettres: “To paraphrase Paolo Pasolini on Ezra Pound, Catullus’ love of the purely phatic aspect of language, its function as chat, is one of the most extraordinary phenomena in classical literature” (p. xi). This is a nice insight, but I can’t imagine an average student getting much out of it. Not being a classicist he is naturally not up on all the scholarship regarding Catullus’ life and times, so when it comes to that topic his introduction is quite thin.

Lee’s introduction is heavily philological. He leads with a discussion of text transmission and emendation: “A very beautiful correction was that of Scaliger in 1577 . . .” (p. x), “Those three insertions were ejected by Lachmann for his edition of 1829 . . .” (p. xi). Then he has three pages on the structure of the collection, a subject of much philological inquiry. “But, it is objected, why do ancient grammarians never refer to Book I, II, or III of Catullus?” (p. xiv). Next comes a discussion of what genre Catullus falls into. This is a good topic to broach, but he does it with too much name-dropping and unexplained reference to classical authors. When he finally gets to discussing Catullus’ life, the material is excellent, but the overall impression is one of immense scholarly apparatus standing between reader and poems.

Green’s Introduction is outstanding, as I mentioned, and foregrounds the life and times of Catullus, as one should. But here too there is the casual assumption of a level of literacy that I think it is unwise to assume. “Obviously we can’t take what Catullus wrote about Caesar or Mamurra at face value, any more than we can Byron’s portraits of George III and Southey in ‘The Vision of Judgement,’ or Dryden’s of James II and the Duke of Buckingham in ‘Absalom and Achitophel’” (p. 1). The most disturbing thing to me about this sentence is that he has not explained who Mamurra is. In my view students are turned off by this kind of writing.

Martin’s notes are extremely short, sometimes nonexistent, and tucked inconspicuously in the back of the book. On the fascinatingly obscene 16 he says simply “C.’s threat [to sodomize Furius and Aurelius and force them to fellate him] would have struck his Roman audience as an altogether appropriate response to a dastardly provocation [criticizing Catullus’ verse as effeminate]: extremism in the defense of one’s virility was no vice.” This is not only speculative, but a culpable failure to interpret and contextualize.

All three of these translations seem to me to omit much-needed explanations of cultural data. None of them, for example, explains what gout is at 71.6. Martin’s translation of notho … Luna as “counterfeit Luna” is unexplained, likewise “coneyed Iberia” for Cuniculosae Iberiae (37.18). “Bawdyhouse barroom” for salax taberna could use both a better translation and a note about the culture of Roman tabernae, an important piece of background for the poem.

I have loved Catullus’ poetry as poetry since I was a teenager, but I tend to view him now also through the lens of Roman social history. He needs to be appreciated as a literary craftsman, but also seen for the fascinating insights he can provide into Roman culture, especially when it comes to gender, sexuality, religion, and culture in general—to read Catullus really well one needs to be part poet and part anthropologist. This is the borderland where the most interesting work on Catullus has been done in recent decades, by scholars such as William Fitzgerald, David Wray, Marilyn Skinner, Brian Krostenko, and Chris Nappa. A really effective introduction and set of notes would try to take advantage of this work and present it comprehensibly to an undergraduate and general audience.

It would be churlish to critique so sternly the work of these excellent translators and scholars without exposing my own efforts to scrutiny, so for those without access to Ancient Rome: An Anthology of Sources (Hackett, 2014), here are a few of the translations printed there (pp. 24–33):


Here it is, my neat new collection

polished at the roll-ends with dry

pumice—but on whom to bestow it?

You, Cornelius.[6] For you always said

my foolishness amounted to something,

even as you were chronicling

the whole of history (three books!),

the only man of Italy with the guts to do it.

Gods! the learning and labor in that work.

So here, accept this, for what it’s worth.

Patron Muse, I pray, may it endure

for more than a single generation.



Fuck you both up the ass. Suck my cock,

Furius, Aurelius, you asshole faggots.

You dare to infer from my verse—

a little risqué and soft, it is true—

that I do these lewd things myself?

A good and loyal poet must be chaste

personally, but his verse need not be.

In fact, to have wit and a modicum of charm,

they must be a bit risqué and seductive,

the sort of thing to awake the loins,

and I don’t just mean in callow lads,

but in those old, hairy bastards

who normally just can’t get it up.

You two, you read of many thousand

kisses, and think I’m less than a man?

Fuck you both up the ass. Suck my cock.



Across many lands and across many seas I have traveled,

      here now, brother, for your grim funeral rites.

I have come to bestow those final gifts we owe to death,

      and to speak, in vain, to your silent ash.

Fortune has deprived me of your living presence, oh my

      wretched brother, cruelly stolen from me.

So take these, at least for now, the dismal funeral gifts

      our ancestral custom has handed down.

Take them, wet with your brother’s tears, and in eternity

      hail and farewell, brother, hail and farewell.


[1] “Translating Catullus,” Arion 14.2 (2006-07), 155–178, at p. 177.

[2] Elizabeth Sutherland, Classical Journal 102 (2006­­-2007), 137.

[3] Roger Rees, Classical Bulletin 82 (2006), 144-146.

[4] Other examples: “colleague” for sodalis in 10.29; “queening Arabs” for Arabesve molles in 11.5; “gallants” for moechis in 11.17.

[5] “In a poem as long, intricate, and verbally radiant as Catullus 64, there is no excuse for translators like Mulroy to break the poet’s verse periods into a necklace of stunted, independent clauses strung on a cord of newspaper syntax. It is time for translators to take a long step back from the process of extreme domestication and school themselves in the music of a flexible syntax that can breathe freely over a long sweep of lines and react in counterpoint with the rhythmic movement of the verse” (p. 167). Fair enough, but the goal must be a natural English syntax, not an imitation-Latin syntax.

[6] Cornelius Nepos, a fellow northern Italian, an intimate friend of Cicero, and a distinguished author in his own right.

Winter Break 2017-18 Accomplishments at DCC

Chris Francese 2 comments

2017-18 winter break was quite productive! Dickinson students Eli Goings (’18), Beth Eidam (’19), and Carl Hamilton (’21) worked on Caesar’s Gallic War, specifically on the text notes and vocabulary for Book 1, Chapters 8–54. This will soon give us a complete edition of Book 1. They made vocabulary lists using the Bridge, edited and added links in the notes (which had been previously gathered and edited by Jo Anne Miller from older school editions), edited the text to make it conform to the OCT, and created pages for notes and vocabulary.

Dickinson students Natalie Ginez (’21), Claire Jeantheau (’21), and Luke Nicosia (’21) worked on Wells Hansen’s commentary on Lucretius, De Rerum Natura Book 3. They completed the Bridge lemmatization of Lucretius 3, added dictionary definitions based on Hansen’s notes, and created vocabulary lists. They re-formatted Hansen’s notes and created draft pages for the notes. They added scroll bars. They proofread the notes and vocabulary lists. A contest to see who could identify the most errors in the others’ work was one by Claire, the prize being dinner for two.

Many thanks to Eli, Beth, Carl, Natalie, Claire, and Luke for all your care and hard work!

Horace’s Satiric Style

Chris Francese No Comments

Horace’s satiric style is informal and conversational—so much so that he called his works not satūrae but sermōnēs, “conversations, chats.” There are often snippets of dialogue and quick changes of topic and tone. The vocabulary ranges widely and urbanely between high (epic, grand) and low (colloquial, humble, obscene). Horace is somewhat confrontational, frequently addressing and challenging the reader or another imaginary or named person, but never in a hostile or angry way. He is fond of quoting proverbial wisdom and recalling well-known stories. He invokes principles of philosophy, but is never dogmatic or hair-splitting. He uses some rhetorical techniques, but his imagined audience seems to be one of friends—people in the know, rather than the general public.

Here are some of the more noticeable stylistic features, with examples taken from the first two satires of Book 1. This does not include aspects of Latin metrics or Latin grammar and usage.[1]

Snippets of Dialogue (brusque questions and snappy interruptions) ‘nil fuerit mi’ inquit ‘cum uxoribus umquam alienis.’ / verum est cum mimis, est cum meretricibus “’I would never,’ he says ‘have anything to do with other men’s wives.’ But you do have to do with mime actresses, with courtesans.”1.2.57-58

Challenging questions: quid iuvat immensum te argenti pondus et auri / furtim defossa timidum deponere terra? “What pleasure does it give you to fearfully place a massive weight of silver and gold in secret under the excavated earth?” (1.1.41-2) quid inter / est in matrona, ancilla peccesne togata? “What’s the difference if you do wrong with a matrona or with a toga wearing slave-woman (prostitute)?” (1.2.62-3).

Direct address to the audience: hiscine versiculis speras tibi posse dolores / atque aestus curasque graves e pectore pelli? “Are you hoping that these little verses can banish the woes, passions, and grievous anxieties from your heart?” (1.2.109-110).

Generalizing direct address: num, tibi cum faucis urit sitis, aurea quaeris / pocula? “When thirst burns in your throat, you don’t look for a golden cup, do you?” (1.2.114-115)

Direct address to the satirized person: cum tu argento post omnia ponas “Since you put money before everything else” (1.1.86)

Lists: multae tibi tum officient res, / custodes, lectica, ciniflones, parasitae “Many things get in your way: chaperones, litter, sedan-chair, coiffeuses, entourage” (1.2.97-98).

Proper names: deprendi miserum est: Fabio vel iudice vincam. “Getting caught (in adultery) is awful. I could prove that in court that even if Fabius were the judge.” (1.2.134)

Fringe vocabulary: Ambubaiarum collegia, pharmacopolae, / mendici, mimae, balatrones, hoc genus omne “The guild of go-go girls, quacks, beggars, mime-actresses, buffoons, all those type of people.” (1.2.1–2).

Colloquial language: Fufidius vappae famam timet ac nebulonis. “Fufius is afraid of getting a reputation as a low-life spendthrift” (1.2.12).

Obscenity mixed with formality: ‘nolim laudarier’ inquit / ‘sic me’ mirator cunni Cupiennius albi. “’I should not like to be praised in this way,’ says Cupiennius, the connoisseur of aristocratic [coarse word for female genitalia]” (1.2.35–36).

Oxymoron/paradox: semper ego optarim pauperrimus esse bonorum, “when it comes to these riches, I hope I am always very poor” (1.1.79). transvolat in medio posita et fugientia captat, “he flies past what is freely available and chases that which flees” (1.2.108)

Wordplay: dum vitant stulti vitia, in contraria currunt. “The fools, while they avoid one fault, they run to the opposite (fault)” (1.2.24).

Metaphor: interdicta petes, vallo circumdata “you seek the forbidden, (a woman) hedged around by a palisaded rampart” (1.2.96). metiri possis oculo latus “you can get the measure of her flank with your eyes” (1.2.103). plenior ut siquos delectet copia iusto, / cum ripa simul avolsos ferat Aufidus acer. / at qui tantuli eget quanto est opus, is neque limo / turbatam haurit aquam neque vitam amittit in undis. “He who takes delight in a supply that is more than just, the swift river Aufidus carries him off along with the bank that has been ripped away. But he who needs only what is essential, he drinks water untainted by mud, and does not lose his life in the waves.” (1.1.57-60)

Well-known examples: ut quondam Marsaeus, amator Originis ille, / qui patrium mimae donat fundumque laremque “Like Marsaeus, the famous lover of Origo, who once made his ancestral farm and home a present to a mime actress.” 1.2.55-56.

Proverbial sayings: in silvam ligna feras “you would be taking wood to the forest” [i.e. doing something totally useless] (1.10.34).

Allusions to fables or plays: ita ut pater ille, Terenti / fabula quem miserum gnato vixisse fugato / inducit. “Like that well-known father in Terence’s play, who lived a wretched life after his son ran away.” (1.2.20–22)

Parataxis (“setting beside,” i.e. the omission of conjunctions): milia frumenti tua triverit area centum: / non tuus hoc capiet venter plus ac meus “Your threshing floor may grind down a hundred thousand bushels of grain a year. [But] Your belly holds no more than mine.” (1.1.45–46)

1. For details on those topics, see Emily Gowers, Horace: Satires Book I (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), pp. 22–25 (“Style and Metre”), and J. C. Rolfe, Q. Horati Flacci Sermones et Epistulae (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1901), pp. xxvii–xxxviii (“The Language and Style of the Satires.”).