By Fellowship winner Maegen Cooper
Salvete, omnes! My name is Maegan Cooper and this year I was the recipient of the Society for Classical Studies Coffin Fellowship. It was a great honor to be chosen for this award, and I was able to use it to attend the Paideia Institute’s Caesar in Gaul (CiG) program this past summer.
Through the knowledgeable professors, Luca Grillo and Christopher Krebs, CiG breathed a new life into the AP Caesar curriculum. These men helped all CiG participants gain a new perspective on Caesar as both an author and historical figure. We looked at why we study Caesar in the first place, when and why he was writing his texts, and my personal favorite, we took Caesar out of isolation. In my experience, classical authors are often translated in isolation, but Dr. Krebs and Dr. Grillo brought in contemporary authors which really served to bring Caesar “the person” alive, in my opinion. Combine our nearly daily class sessions with trips to the Pont du Guard, Bibracte, Arles, Lyon, and Alesia (and sight reading Latin passages along the way) and you have a full tour of Caesar’s Gaul. Personally speaking, this course has changed my view on the Gauls themselves (after all how does one eat an authentic Gallic meal in Bibracte without changing their perspective?), and made me excited to teach Caesar to my students in a way I have never been before. I am excited to teach Caesar, my students are excited to learn about him, and I owe this new academic energy to the wonderful leaders of the CiG tour. On a professional level, this course has reignited a love of the classics that has always been alive in me, but perhaps needed some rekindling after 10 + years in the classroom. It is a wonderfully rewarding experience to watch my student’s interest in learning about the Gallic Wars and to see their genuine love of the Latin text. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity and believe I will see its benefits in my students for years to come.