More about Casina, VI

salvēte, amīcī et sodālēs! I closed Friday’s blog post with a number of questions about that day’s featured story from the Tres Columnae Project, in which the lemur of Casina’s īnfāns mortuus appears to her in somniīs as she’s riding home from her visit to the templum Bonae Deae. I wondered how you lectōrēs fidēlissimī felt about such issues as

  • the quotation from Vergil by the lemur;
  • the difference in tone between this and Casina’s other somnia about the lemur;
  • the terrifying image of the dominus īrātus at the end of the somnium;
  • Casina’s silence about a very similar situation she witnessed in this story; and
  • possible causes for Casina’s morbus in twenty-first-century terms.

I also promised that we’d

consider how questions like these are related to a Joyful Learning Community where Choice and Ownership are important.

I’m not sure about answers to any of the questions I raised yesterday – but I think the questions, and others like them, are intriguing. I encourage you (and all our participants) to pursue the ones that are meaningful and relevant to you. And that’s where Choice and Ownership become very important! At Tres Columnae, we feel very strongly that deep learning requires the learner to grow in Knowledge, Skill, and Understanding – and so we provide lots of ways for our learners to do that. On the other hand, the very nature of the Tres Columnae Project is such that you don’t have to pursue any individual question if you don’t want to.

  • If you’re an independent learner, you can choose the areas of the project you want to explore without any interference from anyone.
  • Even if you’re a school-based learner, you can choose your personal areas of focus.
  • And of course, if you’re a teacher, you can suggest an ITER through the material for your students – or, if you prefer, you can step back and help them find their own way through.

Over time, we hope you’ll engage with the issues that are most meaningful to you, not the ones that we dictate to you; we’re building a Joyful Learning Community, not a Standardized Learning Factory here.

At the same time, though, no single community is perfect for everybody, and that’s OK. As our lector fidēlissimus pointed out in that email I quoted the other day, communities do develop behaviors, languages, and other norms that both shape and express the values of their participants. A participant whose values don’t fit with the behaviors, languages, and norms of a given community probably won’t want to join that community. For example, when I was a young teacher, I avoided one group of colleagues during lunch; their interests (the soap operas they’d taped and watched yesterday, and the complaints about “those kids” and “those administrators” they liked to share) were very different from mine. Rather than make everybody unhappy, I chose to sit at a different lunch table … and that was fine with everybody! Community is a complicated thing, and its borders can shift in different circumstances. I did enjoy the members of that lunch-table community in different settings – for example, in staff-development sessions, when they usually had interesting, thoughtful perspectives about teaching. We just liked to talk about different stuff over meals!

And that concept of Community, with all its complications, is critical to the plot of today’s story, in which poor Casina is asked to reveal her dream to her dominus. No doubt she has many reasons to be afraid. And yet, as we’ll see in today’s story – which you can also find here on the Tres Columnae Version Alpha Wiki site if you’d like – Casina does, in fact, tell Valerius about the dream:

in ātriō domūs Claudiī Pulchrī, Valerius et Lūcius reditum fēminārum exspectant. subitō clāmor extrā iānuās domūs oritur. mox servī per faucēs contendunt iānuās aperītum. per iānuās ingrediuntur Caelia et Valeria cum Casinā. lectīcāriī lectīcam umerīs tollunt et per angiportum ad postīcum ferunt.

Caelia et Valeria per faucēs contendunt et ātrium celeriter ingrediuntur. Casina lentē eās sequitur, quod fessa et anxia est. in ātriō Valerius uxōrem fīliamque salūtat. tum anxius, “uxor mea,” inquit, “quaesō, rem mihi nārrā. quid Casinae sacerdōs suadet? utrum herbae remedium afferunt annōn?”

Caelia sollicita marītō rem tōtam nārrat. tum Casinam arcessit et, “Casina mea,” inquit, “nōnne tē decet somnium dominō patefacere?” Casina perterrita paulīsper tacet. mox tamen Valerium adloquitur et somnium tōtum nārrat. anxia et sollicita est ancilla, quod dominī servōs, quī morbōs simulant, ferōciter pūnīre solent. Valerius tamen, “heus!” exclāmat, “sine dubiō dī ipsī tibi haec somnia mittunt! nōnne sacerdōs tē iubet in īnsulā Aesculapiī hodiē vespere dormīre? nōs decet mandātīs sacerdōtis sapientis pārēre.”

Casina anxia, “ō domine,” respondet, “hōs multōs annōs tibi fidēliter serviō. grātiās quoque maximās tibi agō, quod mihi remedia comparāre iam temptās. mē tamen oportet tē hoc rogāre: vīsne mē, aegram et inūtilem, līberāre? nōnne servī, quōs dominī in illā īnsulā relinquunt, aut perīre aut lībertī fierī solent?”

Valerius, “vae tibi, Casina nostra,” exclāmat, “num tē ita relinquere volō? num Caelia haec vult? num Valeria? haud tē oportet sōlam in īnsulā dormīre! nōnne Lūcius noster tē comitārī potest? sī tamen lībertātem cupis, nōnne tē līberāre possum?”

Casina “ō mī dominē!” exclāmat, “quam benignus es! nōnne optimus es omnium dominōrum Rōmānōrum?” ancilla Valerium amplectitur et lacrimīs sē trādit.

quid respondētis, amīcī?

  • What do you think of Valerius’ offer to Casina? Is it “Roman enough” for you, or do you think he should be less generous?
  • What about Casina’s reaction? Is it “over the top,” or does it strike you as authentically Roman?
  • Why on earth did I claim that this story is an illustration of Community?
  • And finally, what do you want to happen? Do you want Casina to be free, or do you want her to remain a very loyal and grateful ancilla?

In a previous series of posts featuring this story from Lectiō XII, we actually experimented with having participants choose their own ending for a story. What did you think of that approach? And do you think it would work well here?

Tune in Monday, when we’ll turn our attention to a different part of the Tres Columnae Project and look at an entirely different sequence of stories. We’ll see if the themes overlap, and we’ll also find out about a “mystery character” whose very existence seems to be in doubt! intereā, grātiās maximās omnibus iam legentibus et respondentibus.

Published in: on July 17, 2010 at 1:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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