Live from ACL, I

salvēte, amīcī et sodālēs! This post really is coming to you “live” from the American Classical League Institute; in fact, as I write, I’m sitting in the Benson Center at Wake Forest University, mid-morning on June 28, 2010. It’s been a wonderful Institute, with some fascinating presentations, including a couple of really interesting, engaging, and helpful plenary sessions – and if you’ve been to very many conferences, you probably share my feeling about the value (or lack thereof) of a lot of plenary sessions. In this case, though, those have really been a highlight. I was especially pleased by

  • a very well-attended session about the ACL/APA Standards for Latin Teacher Preparation (well, to be fair, since I was on the Task Force that wrote the Standards document, I did “have a dog in that fight,” as an old friend says);
  • a fascinating session previewing the Latin Reading Proficiency Examination (designed for both teachers and students, and really intended to show proficient reading and comprehension rather than “quick translation”) that’s under development by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages; and
  • the highlight for me, this morning’s presentation by Dexter Hoyos about his Rules for Fluent Reading of Latin.

I actually met and talked with Dexter at lunch the other day, and he is as charming, funny, and humble in person as you’d expect if you’ve read his Latinteach posts or his published work. He had positive things to say about the Tres Columnae Project, too, and after talking to him, I felt … well, I felt like a Little League baseball player who looked up into the (rather small) bleachers after the game, saw his favorite Major League player sitting there, went over to get his autograph, and the player complimented his grip or his stance! I’m still on a bit of an emotional high from that.

We had a full house for my presentation about the Tres Columnae Project on Saturday evening, as well, even though it was right after dinner (and right before the welcoming plenary session and all-important reception) on Saturday evening. And it was a very receptive, engaged crowd, too! grātiās maximās omnibus quī vēnistis audītum! We even had time for participants to “play” for about 20 minutes, and enough folks had brought laptops (and iPads – I was jealous! 🙂 – and smartphones and iPod Touches) that everyone (who wanted) was able to get some hands-on time with both the Version Alpha Wiki and the Instructure demo course. grātiās quoque maximās to all who had good suggestions! Thanks to you, we’ll be adding a Scope and Sequence page that describes the grammatical and syntactic points of each Lectiō in the next few days, and I’ll also have more detailed information about subscription options before too long. (Oddly, I had expected people to question why we’d need to charge for access to things – I really don’t know why I expected that, in retrospect – but no one did! We did have a great question about how, exactly, the editing process would work, and when I described the types of feedback we’re planning, the questioner seemed extremely pleased both with the process and with the fee. So, for some reason, that was a big relief.)

I’ll have more to say about the Institute in tomorrow’s post, and probably throughout the next several days. But I do want to keep my promise from last week, and so I do have a new Tres Columnae story for you today. As I mentioned last week, in the wedding sequence in Lectiō XXIV we’ll see not only the wedding of Vipsānius and Valeria, but also (in a flashback) that of Lollia, daughter of Valerius’ client Lollius (and sister of young Lucius’ friend Caius) to Vipsānius’ “poor” cousin Marcus. “Poor,” of course, is a relative thing in the Roman world; compared to Lollius, who really does depend on Valerius’ sportula, young Marcus Vipsānius is quite well off. He owns a “small” book-copying business in Naples with “only” twenty slaves! But to Quartus Vipsānius, and to Caelius and Vipsānia, that means he, gasp, works for a living – hardly appropriate for a relative of theirs, and certainly a disqualification to marriage to anyone they know! There’s a whole series of stories about M. Vipsanius and Lollia, but we’ll begin with this one:

Marcus Vipsānius, pātruēlis Vipsāniī, iuvenis ingeniī optimī maximaeque industriae, orbus pārentibus erat. quamquam Quārtus Vipsānius ipse senātor Rōmānus et dītissimus erat, Marcō Vipsāniō nūllae erant dīvitiae. librāriam parvam in urbe Neapolī tenēbat, in quō vīgintī scrībae cotīdiē labōrābant.

ōlim Vipsānius “vae Marcō nostrō!” inquit. “sēdecim enim annōs nātus, uxōrem dignam invenīre haud potest! quis enim hospitum nostrōrum fīliam Mārcō dabit? nēmō certē, quod modō tam plēbēiō labōrat ille! vae Marcō, et vae familiae nostrae!”

Vipsānius igitur sorōrī suae, Vipsāniae Caeliī, epistulam dictāvit, in quā cāsūs Marcī Vipsāniī patefēcit, et servō trādidit. Caelia epistulam acceptam servō suō trādidit et, “Ūtilis,” inquit, “tibi ad domum Valeriī festīnandum est. nōnne illī sunt multī clientēs pauperēs? fortasse ūnus ex illīs fīliam dare cōnsentiet.” et Valerius, postquam epistulam lēgit, maximē gaudēns Lollium vocāvit, cui epistulam dēmōnstrāvit et, “hercle,” inquit, “nōnne dī tibi favent? fortasse hic Marcus Vipsānius Lolliam tuam uxōrem dūcet!” Marcus celeriter cōnsentit. “nōnne enim atāvus Lolliae erat ille Maccius Plautus, comoedus nōtissimus?” inquit. “quam fēlīx sum! praetereā, Lollia ipsa docta et formōsa, pater doctus et benignus est. nōnne dī nōbīs omnibus favent?”

duōbus igitur mēnsibus ante nūptiās Valeriae et Vipsāniī, ille Marcus Vipsānius Lolliam uxōrem dūcere parābat. nūllī tamen servī lēctum sacrificiave parābant. diē enim nūptiārum, Lollia, ut Valeria, ante prīmam hōram surrēxit et togam cum bullā pupīsque lāribus dēdicāvit. Maccia, ut Caelia, crīnēs fīliae ōrnāvit, et Lollia tunicam rēgillam cum flammeō induit. Maccia tamen cum Lolliā iam cibum vīnumque cēnae nuptiālī parāverat. septimā diēī hōrā advēnit Marcus Vipsānius cum patre familiās et ūnō servō. Lollia et Marcus dextrās iunxērunt et verba sollemnia prōnuntiāvērunt. tum Cāius, ut pātrīmus et mātrīmus, facem per viās tulit, et tōta familia Lollia gaudēns pompam sequēbātur. Lūcius quoque, cui Cāius et Lollia cordī erant, pompam comitābātur et versūs Fescennīnōs cantābat. Lollia tamen et Marcus nōn domum magnam, sed īnsulam intrāvērunt; nōn in ātriō sed in cēnāculō stābat lectus nūptiālis. postrīdiē, omnēs ad cēnāculum revēnērunt repōtia cōnsūmptum. Lollia ipsa lentēs Aegyptiās et panem parāverat. Lūcius amphoram vīnī, ā patre suō datam, sēcum tulit, et omnēs hospitēs grātiās maximās Valeriō agēbant. duōbus diēbus post nūptiās, Marcus et Lollia ad urbem Neāpolim abiērunt, ubi ille librāriam prope forum tenēbat. “haud dīvitēs, sed certē fēlīcēs sumus,” Marcus et Lollia inter sē cotīdiē āiunt. in cēnāculō enim pulchrō habitābant, et Marcus uxōrī suae saepe dōna dare poterat.

quid respondētis, amīcī?

  • If you were at the ACL Institute and did attend my session on Saturday, I’d love to know your unfiltered, unvarnished impressions and responses. I’ve spoken to a number of lectōrēs fidēlissimī (some of whom I’ve corresponded with for years, but never met in person until today) and reconnected with a lot of old friends. But it would be great to know what you really think … especially if you have concerns or suggestions for improvement.
  • If you weren’t at the Institute and would like to see either the handout or the slides from the presentation, just let me know … or check the Version Alpha Wiki site in the next few days. I’ll try to get them uploaded there if people want them.
  • What do you think of this story of Lollia and M. Vipsānius’ wedding … and of M. Vipsānius as a new character? He’ll be important, as it turns out, in the stories of Cursus Secundus … but I don’t want us to get too far ahead of ourselves! 🙂
  • Do you think the relatively sudden jump to multiple verb tenses in Lectiōnēs XX – XXIV is too sudden, or too big of a jump? And if so, what would you suggest as an alternative?
  • What issues of social class – and what comparisons between and within cultures – are raised by the story, and how might we encourage our participants to explore them in greater depth?

Tune in next time, when we’ll hear about the last day of the 2010 ACL Institute, respond to your questions and concerns, and share another story about M. Vipsānius’ and Lollia’s wedding. intereā, grātiās maximās omnibus iam legentibus et respondentibus.

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