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Encountering Latin as a Human Language: The Linear Approach for Reading

By Nava Cohen (Northwestern University)

“Studies suggest that word processing . . . strategies cultivated in a first language . . . [have] a major impact on the cognitive processes that are used in reading a second written language” (Akamatsu, 2006). As a result, when students enter a classical language classroom, their existing expectations about language often lead them to treat Latin like a disordered version of English, and they are likely to conclude that the goal of the course is to transform Latin into English by whatever means necessary.

From Syntax to Story: Concepts and Design Principles for Latin Reading Activities

By Suzanne Adema (Leiden University)

Latin students are caught in a Catch 22: they have to unravel the complex structure of sentences to comprehend Latin texts, while text comprehension is an important tool to unravel these sentences (Pennel-Ross 2008). Due to their struggle at the sentence level, students cannot really understand, experience and enjoy Latin narrative texts (cf. Janssen, Braaksma, Rijlaarsdam 2006). Their teachers need resources to take them from syntax to story.

The Comprehensible Cosmos of Orbis Sensualium Pictus: John Amos Comenius’s Vision for Joyful Latin Reading and Learning

By Evan Dutmer (Culver Academies)

Jan Amos Komenský (1592-1670), better known as Comenius, is widely considered to be one of the first and most important systematic European educational reformers. His student-centered pedagogy is generally held to be among the first ‘progressive’ teaching models adopted on a wide scale in the Early Modern era. He is best known for his Orbis Sensualium Pictus (“The Visible World in Pictures”), thought to be the first picture book intended for children in the European tradition.

Reading in a Multisensory Environment: The Visual Latin Reading Library

By John Gruber-Miller (Cornell College)

What does it mean to read Latin? The challenges of finding classical texts that are accessible and comprehensible for third- and fourth-year Latin students are well known. Even at this level, few students have the lexical, syntactic, and generic knowledge to comfortably read canonical texts with a degree of facility (Gruber-Miller and Mulligan 2022). This question becomes even more vexed when attempting to find suitable readings for beginning readers. How can teachers find novice and intermediate level Latin texts that are easy to read without frequent recourse to a dictionary?

Slow Violence in a Christian Context: Silencing the Enslaved Martyr’s Female Body

By Barbara K. Gold (Hamilton College)

Female martyrs in the early Christian era are subjected to a particular kind of violence to their gendered bodies. But enslaved female martyrs have a much greater violence inflicted upon them, violence that may be aimed at their class, their gender and their race or ethnicity. I focus on a particular enslaved woman, Felicitas, whose presence in the Passion of Perpetua and Felicitas has been often overlooked in favor of her noble female companion, Perpetua (Gold 2018; Charles 2020).

From the Arena to the Monastery: New Spaces of Judicial Blinding at the End of Late Antiquity

By Jake Ransohoff (Harvard University)

Blinding is among the hardiest perennials in the field of Byzantine punitive practices. Often described as a “uniquely Byzantine” form of punishment, it served as the standard penalty for imperial rivals and defeated rebels in the Eastern Empire for over six centuries. Yet blinding’s longevity has obscured some important changes in the methods, frequency, and venues of this practice. This paper focuses on one such change in particular. It argues that a significant but unnoticed shift occurs in the venues of political mutilation at the end of Late Antiquity.

Violence Spoken and Unspoken: Languages and Power Dynamics in Late Antique North Africa

By Yuliya Minets (Jacksonville State University)

It is relatively well-known that the Roman empire demonstrated great flexibility in language regulation and never, with maybe a short exception during the rule of Diocletian, attempted to impose Latin as an official language on conquered regions. By and large, it functioned as a bilingual Greco-Latin political entity (Jorma Kaimio, Bruno Rochette, J.N. Adams), while multiple local languages were often, though not always, accepted in the public sphere and for a variety of documents (Roger Bagnall, Fergus Millar, Arietta Papaconstantinou).

Race, Racecraft, and Ancient Philosophy

By David Kaufman (Transylvania University)

This talk explores the construction of race in Greco-Roman philosophy, especially in the works of Plato, Aristotle, Galen, and the Stoics. Beginning with Plato’s kallipolis, I discuss Plato’s myth of metals and its relationship to political power and domination within the city.

Race in Roman Comedy

By Mathias Hanses (Penn State University)

My paper takes as its premise that the Aristotelian construct of the “natural slave” (Pol. 1254b16–1255b15) was active in ancient Rome, and that it involved an ascription of difference so essentializing as to constitute an act of premodern racial formation (for the relevant definitions of race and racism, see Isaac 2004 and 2006; Haley 2009; Heng 2018; and esp. Murray 2021).