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.

24 January 2015

Lesson 13 - still sick

eheu! mihi dole(n)t...
More matters medical today. We began with a Silent Quiz (well, mostly silent!) - point to the body part being complained about by our, poor afflicted friend to the left here (sore eyes, poorly back, bad nerves - this guy really needs a holiday). Afterwards, we recapped on our verb endings from last week (o, s, t, mus, tis, nt) by synthesising (i.e. 'putting together' - Greek!) verbs to complete Latin sentences. We then paid a visit to a Roman doctor, embarking on our first chunk of proper, in-paragraphs translation. Remember the golden rules: find the verb, look at the ending, then find the subject of the sentence. 

Language work done and dusted, we turned to sickness of a different kind. This term we'll be looking at Euripides' Bacchae, a fascinating (if grisly) exploration of human psychology, power and madness. In our first reading from the play, old (therefore wise) Tiresias and Cadmus warn Pentheus, King of Thebes against disrespecting the god Dionysus. They're getting outta here, they tell us, as they can see a storm brewing for the unwise, dismissive Pentheus, and it ain't gonna be pretty. This all sets up a lovely bit of dramatic tension for what's to follow.

Dangerous as Dionysus
Two interesting questions were raised in the course of our drama work: who's the guy on the front cover of the play, and what's the deal with wearing masks? We (eventually!) guessed right about the front cover being a picture of Elvis Presley, but what's he got to do with The Bacchae? Although he seems pretty tame nowadays, when Elvis first burst onto the musical scene, his music was seen as far to wild, driving teenages to all manner of naughtiness that their parents didn't want. Parallels with Dionysus were immediately picked up by the class. I'm not going to bore you with Elvis-worship here, but he's a really fascinating character, so if you want to find out more, have a look at this article on the Rolling Stone website

Epidaurus - Ma-hoo-sive (and no mics!)
The second question (why the masks?) is quite straightforward: have you seen the size of some of the ancient amphitheatres? They're enormous! To the left is a picture of the amphitheatre at Epidaurus.The audience members can be far away and need to see very clearly who the character is.