Examining the Story, Part I

salvēte, sodālēs. As promised, today we’ll take a look at the whole story whose construction we watched over the last four posts. We’ll examine my specific goals for the story and how well I met them. Of course, in the complete Tres Columnae system, this story doesn’t stand by itself.

  • It follows some “pre-stories” and grammatical exercises about first- and second-person plural verbs.
  • It follows at least one other “real” story, in which Lucius, Caius, and Cnaeus get in trouble – and get teased by their sisters.
  • It precedes some other stories.  And, of course,
  • It’s accompanied by illustrations (per paragraph), audio (eventually, several different versions), and (if participants like it and want to make them) video versions.

Even by itself, though, the story was an attempt to meet these goals:

  • a funny plot with at least one unexpected twist
  • stronger female characters (both in comparison with “Big Three,” and in comparison with the more male-focused stories we’d seen earlier)
  • opportunities for insight into cultural elements (the roles of women, food, social class, and role of children, to name a few)
  • some uses of the “new” grammar (1st / 2nd plural verbs; nōs; vōs)
  • more uses of recent” grammar (pronouns, adjectives, plurals)
  • lots of old” grammar (feel free to refer to the list of “what they already know” in a previous post)
  • some new vocabulary
  • a lot of familiar vocabulary; and
  • good” vocabulary choices, from the perspective of those purists who only want to use Latin words from the “major” authors.  (That’s why I included my thought processes with Lewis & Short on so many occasions.)

Before we analyze how well we met these goals, though, let’s take a look at the whole story:

prope culīnam est cēnāculum minimum, ubi Rīdiculus mūs cum familiā habitat. Rīdiculus est mūs maximae calliditātis. cotīdiē ē cēnāculō suō audāx ambulat; cotīdiē cibum quaerit et invenit; cotīdiē incolumis revenit. Ferōx enim, canis Valeriī, est amīcus Rīdiculī; Ferōx Rīdiculum capere nōn vult.

in vīllā tamen proximā, ubit Flavius Caesō habitat, quoque habitat Sabīna mustēla. Sabīna Rīdiculum capere et ēsse valde vult. cotīdiē, ubi Rīdiculus cibum ad cēnāculum suum refert, Sabīna īrātissima susurrat, “istum mūrem necāre volō! istum mūrem caedere volō! istum mūrem cōnsūmere volō! istīus mūris ossa exspuere volō! nōnne hic est diēs optimus? nam dominus meus, ille Flavius Caesō, ipse in domō Valeriī hodiē cēnat. nōnne iste mūs cibum capere vult? et nōnne ego quoque cēnāre possum?”

Sabīna igitur ē peristyliō exit. Sabīna per postīcum ambulat et angiportum intrat. mustēla per angiportum ad domum Valeriī rēpit. Sabīna callida domum clam intrat et ad triclīnium tacitē rēpit.

intereā Valerius et Flavius triclinium intrant. Lollius et aliī clientēs quoque intrant. omnēs in lectō recumbunt et cēnam exspectant.

Caelia, uxor Valeriī, et Maccia, uxor Lolliī, cum Ausōniā, Flaviī uxōre, quoque triclinium intrant. Caelia in sellā sedet. Maccia in sellā sedet. Ausōnia tamen iuxtā marītum recumbit. “heus!” susurrat Maccia. “quid facit ista fēmina?” “nōlī tē vexāre, mea Maccia,” respondet Caelia. “nam in urbe Romā fēminae iuxtā marītōs in lectīs recumbere solent.”

“fortasse tālēs rēs in urbe Romā accidunt,” respondit Maccia attonita, “sed in hāc urbe nōn decet –”

subitō Gallicus, coquus Valeriī, per iānum intrat. Milphiō quoque intrat. Milphiō gustātiōnem in mēnsā pōnit. in gustātiōne sunt multae olīvae et lentēs in catīnō argenteō.  in gustātiōne sunt cocleae et carōtae et bulbī condītī. “nōnne gustātiō optima est?” omnēs hospitēs exclāmant. Valerius Gallicum valdē laudat. omnēs hospitēs plaudunt.

Flavius Caesō mēnsam īnspicit. “nōnne lentēs Aegyptiae sunt? heus! mē valdē dēlectant lentēs!”

Flavius Caesō panem sumit. “ecce puls optima!” inquit.

Flavius tamen panem in pavīmentō forte dēmittit. “heus! quam neglegēns sum!” inquit. “heus, puer, fer plūs panis!” Milphiō ē triclīnliō exit et panem in culīnā quaerit.

subitō Rīdiculus panem in pavīmentō cōnspicit. “heus! mē valdē dēlectat panis!” mūs susurrat. Rīdiculus per triclinium currit. mūs panem in pavīmentō petit.

“ēheu! mūs est in triclīniō!” exclāmat Ausōnia. “euge! istum mūrem capere possum!” inquit Sabīna. mustēla quoque per triclīnium currit. mustēla mūrem in pavīmentō petit.  “heus! quid accidit?” omnēs hospitēs exclāmant perterritī.  “quid accidit?” Milphiō in līmine rogat.

ēheu! Milphiō mustēlam nōn videt. pedēs Milphiōnis nōn iam sunt in pavīmentō! Milphiō supplantat et in mēnsā cadit. mēnsa per āera volat! panis per āera volat! olīvae et lentēs per āera volant! catīnus ad caput Flaviī, cochlear ad oculum Ausōniae volat.

“ēheu!” exclāmat Flavius. “quid facere possum?” Valēria tamen per iānuam celeriter currit. Caeliōla et Lūcius quoque celeriter intrant. Valēria catīnum et mēnsam in āere captat. Caeliōla mustēlam capessat. mustēla īrāta puellam mordēre temptat. Caeliōla Sabīnam īrāta verberat. Lūcius cochlear in āere comprehendit. Rapidus panem comprehendit et ad cēnāculum suum celeriter currit.

“līberōs īnsolentissimōs!” exclāmat Flavius Caesō. “num triclīnium intrāre audētis? num mustēlam meam verberāre audēs? ō puellās impiās! nōnne vehementer vapulāre dēbētis?”

“mī Flāvī,” respondet Valēria attonita, “cūr nōs pūnīre vīs? nōnne tē et uxōrem servāre temptāmus?”

Caesō tamen īrātus, “tacē, puella īnsolēns!” exclāmat. “nōnne pater tuus tē in servitūtem vēndere dēbet? et servum ignāvum! ubi est panis? et cūr supplantās? nōnne maximē vapulāre dēbēs? nōnne in metalla vēnīre dēbēs?”

Valērius attonitus surgit. “mī Flavī –” Ausōnia quoque surgit et marītum vituperat.

“tacē, marīte stultissime,” interpellat Ausōnia īrāta. “num nihil vidēs? num nihil intellegis? hae puellae piissimae vītam tuam servant. hic puer fortissimus vītam meam servat. nōnne istam mustēlam tuam pūnīre dēbēs? nam propter mustēlam ille servus supplantat et haec omnia per āera volant. propter līberōs tamen catīnus tē, cochlear mē nōn percutit. fortasse tū puellās et puerum castīgās, ego tamen valdē laudō quod mē servant.”

Flavius Caesō attonitus nihil respondet. “fortasse,” Maccia susurrat, “ego quoque iuxtā marītum recumbere dēbeō.” Caelia rīdet sed nihil dīcit. cēterī hospitēs Valēriam et Lūcium et Caeliōlam valdē laudant.

intereā Rapidus panem per iānuam suam trahit. “mea Impigra, mea uxor,” exclāmat. “nōnne cēnam optimam tibi ferō?”

“ō marītum stultissimum!” respondet Impigra īrāta. “nōnne tē cum familiā tuā necāre temptās? sī panis in pavīmentō cadit, nōnne in pavīmentō per tōtam cēnam manet? nonne post cēnam triclīnium est vacuum? nōnne mediā nocte panem petere potes?”

“rēctē dīcis, mea uxor,” susurrat Rīdiculus. “nōnne nōmen aptissimum habeō?”

Today we’ll look at the goals regarding plot, character, and setting. Tomorrow we’ll look at vocabulary and grammar elements. Tuesday we’ll look at culture and Culture. And on Wednesday we’ll begin a series on Connections and Comparisons, showing how these strands of the National Standards can be developed with a story like this one.

Of course, I really want to hear what you think, but in our second post today I’ll share my preliminary thoughts about plot, character, and setting. Tune in shortly for more.

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