Summer Research

Current and prospective students often want to know about summer research opportunities in the Classics Department. These can take many different forms, depending on the degree of collaboration required, the available funding, and the stage of a professor’s research project(s).

This summer Prof. Tom Landvatter took a group of Reed students to Cyprus. Their dig has its own blog here.

Prof. Sonia Sabnis is working on a digital project on Apuleius’ Cupid & Psyche. The research team includes Beth Platte (Instructional Technologist – Literature & Languages), Daniel Landau (Senior Programmer Analyst – Open Source), Angie Beiriger (Director of Research Services, Library), and Hayley Curtis ’20. Sonia, Beth, and Hayley recently attended the ILiADS workshop at College of Wooster (by the way, is someone doing a study of all the paronyms related to Homer? someone should), where we were assisted most excellently by Mathilda Shepard (UVA) and also met up with Monica Florence ’94, who teaches in the Classics Department there.

Sonia Beth Hayley Mathilda
Sonia, Beth, Hayley, Mathilda. Can you tell it was hot there?
Sonia, Beth, Hayley, Monica. The library spaces were cool and collaborative, however.

Many summer opportunities for Reed students can be found at the Center for Life Beyond Reed.

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Gelato outing

Four of the six seniors and two of the three qual-writing juniors out for gelato to kick off spring break! (Pinolo Gelato on Division)

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Reedies in Rome

I am away from Reed this year and teaching at the Centro, where many Reed Classics majors (and several faculty) have studied. Three students are here with me this semester. Today we visited the American Academy, a visit that included not only the library but also the rooftop of the Villa Aurelia, with its amazing views of the city and surrounding hills, AND the Aqua Traiana. Here, in the Academy basement, are Rikki, Elliot, and Lex getting ready to go down into the aqueduct. Elliot is holding Peanut, a golden ass made for me by their classmate Marnie. Peanut is now an Instagram star.

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Facelift for the bulletin board

Thanks to one of our majors in Scriptorium, our always remarkable bulletin board in ETC now has all our names in rustic capitals. (And yes, Hektor is still breaker of horses.) Eat your heart out, Vat. lat. 3225.


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Proto-Indo-European Fables

This is from a few years ago, but it’s quite fun. These are two stories rendered entirely in Proto-Indo-European (PIE), the hypothetical “mother language” of Greek, Latin, English, Persian, Sanskrit, and dozens of other major world languages. The two thrilling stories –H2óuis h1éḱuōs-kwe (“The Sheep and the Horses”), and H3rḗḱs deiuós-kw(“The King and the God”) are even narrated so you can hear what we think PIE sounded like!

Here’s the link!

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New translation of the Iliad by Caroline Alexander – extract | Books | The Guardian

Read a short section from the latest edition of Homer’s great epic of the Trojan wars – the first English translation by a woman

Source: New translation of the Iliad by Caroline Alexander – extract | Books | The Guardian

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Willamette Undergraduate Conference

Our friends at Willamette University just issued their announcement for the annual Northwest Undergraduate Conference on the Ancient World. This conference is a wonderful and unusual opportunity for students to present their work outside Reed. Please see any of the Classics faculty if you have questions about it (and see posters posted on the bulletin board and Sonia’s office door), and/or talk to seniors Haley and Bailey about their experience last year!

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Father Catich in Rome

Stolen from twitter: pictures of Father Edward Catich in mid-creation of the Trajan font.


Father Catich and some seminarians in the Forum of Trajan, ca. 1950

The rubbing of the base of Trajan’s Column that led to the creation of the font.

For more on this, see The Eternal Letter edited by Reed alumnus Paul Shaw and with a contribution from our own Gregory MacNaughton.

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In Praise of Bald Men (Ecloga de Calvis)

Beth Platte, the Instructional Technologist for Foreign Languages, informed me of this incredible feat of Latin. It’s medieval, but I couldn’t help but share. The following is the first four lines from the Ecloga de Calvis (“In Praise of Bald Men”), a ca. 9th century CE Latin poem by the Frankish monk Hucbald, with a translation by Thomas Klein:

Carmina convitii cerritus, carpere calves

Conatus, cecinit: celebrentur carmine calvi

Conspicuo clari; carmen cognoscite cuncti.

Carmina, clarisonae, calvis cantate, Camenae.

(A brainless bloke has badly abused the bald,

Composing crude carols: so commend in chorus

The blameless bald, and bellow the ballad besides.

Bless now the bald with bright ballads, O Bards.)

The poem goes on for 146 lines in total, and every single word beings with the letter “C”. Monks clearly knew how to have fun.

Here’s a link to Klein’s translation and the full Latin text:

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