Learning Classics is a bit like putting on a magic pair of 3-D glasses. Once you start delving into the language and the culture, you'll start to see it all around you. This blog is a record of the club's journey through the worlds and language of ancient Rome and Greece... and through modern times, too, searching for the influence of classics all around us. You'll also be able to find vocab, home tasks, links and generally enlightening info here, too.

18 October 2014

Lesson 5 - Birthdays, babies and the accusative

Sit tibi dies natalis felix, Lai'Larni. Cue a discussion about how Romans didn't celebrate the day of a baby's birth, but the 'dies lustricus' ('day of purification') eight days later. And why? The sad fact was that a lot of babies (25-40%) didn't make it that far. So if you got past the first week, everyone breathed a sigh of relief, gave you a name and celebrated. Romans may have had an advanced civilisation, but the lack of medicinal technology (including penicillin, pointed out by Benedict) meant that the mortality rate (from 'mors', Latin for 'death') was a lot higher than today.

Anna's accusatives
In language work, we met the accusative for nouns: an accusative ending on a noun shows that it is the object of a verb, i.e. it's having something done to it, it's not the doer (subject/nominative). Jumping in at the deep end, we translated English sentences into Latin, making sure that we changed the ending of all the nouns to show which were the subject (nominative) and which were the object (accusative). Don't forget, all the grammar we've covered is here on our Grammar page.

Wannabe god
Bruno then took over as teacher, and showed us some Olympian gods, Titans and wannabe deities. Serious point scoring for excellence here, with an extra contribution from Anna for recognising Caesar Augustus. And to answer the question about who the baby at Augustus' feet is, it's Cupid, son of Venus - the creator of the statue was reminding his audience of the claim that Augustus was a descendent of Venus (hmmm, a bit of propaganda perhaps?).

A feisty one
One final outstanding question from birthday girl Lai'Larni: do we get the word 'feisty' from 'Hephaestos'? I was pretty sure we didn't, so I looked up the etymology (where the word comes from). A 'feist' was a term used in the past for a small, yappy dog, so you can see how it turned into the adjective we use today.