Arthur-Montagne, Jacqueline (High Point University)

Lampooning Latinitas: The Comic Latin Grammar in 19th Century Britain

jarthurm@highpoint.edu – Friday, 14.30, Panel 4

In 1840, London publisher Charles Tilt printed an eccentric book, The Comic Latin Grammar (CLG). The volume has all the hallmarks of a traditional primer: dry chapter headings and sample sentences with English translations beneath. From its outset, however, the textbook reveals itself to be a parody of the Eton College Grammar, which was published in 1758 and became a favorite among Anglophone teachers. CLG mocks Eton’s “straight” lessons with verbal puns (“we are afraid of being tire-sum”, 51) and impudent asides. The text spoofs ancient customs, modern conceits, and the very idea of learning Latin.

This paper argues that the CLG lampoons not only the Latin language, but also the ideological import of learning Latin in 19th century Britain. The first part of this paper shows how the CLG makes traditional school authors like Cicero and Virgil the targets of endless teasing. I also highlight how the CLG uses its lessons to mock the British professional class as the ostensible objective of this classical learning. Doctor, lawyer, and magistrate jokes are ubiquitous: “procuratorem fugito, nam subdolus idem est: Avoid an attorney, for the same is a cunning rogue” (112).

In the second half of this paper, I analyze CLG illustrations that spoof classical luminaries by placing them in parallel with comic figures from British and American popular culture. In one example, Socrates is depicted doing a minstrel dance with the supertitle, “It seemed wonderful to behold Socrates jumping Jim Crow.” In a garish imitation of the blackface performance, Socrates is clearly modeled off “Jump Jim Crow” illustrations from minstrel sheet music in the mid-nineteenth century (figs. 2-3 below). I conclude that for all its silliness, the CLG puts a serious challenge to the centrality of the Latin canon in the shifting literary landscape of Industrial Age Britain.

Copeland, Rita (University of Pennsylvania) – KEYNOTE

Teaching the Schemata in the Middle Ages, from Techne to “Art”

rcopelan@sas.upenn.edu – Saturday, 9.15 – 10.15

What relation did ancient and medieval schoolmasters see between learning about literature and actively producing literary texts? At what moment does teaching the elements of literary style decisively shift away from illustrating them with time-honored canonical classics to supplying custom-made illustrations that carve new compositional directions? That moment is not only recoverable, but it left its mark on succeeding generations of teaching and literary composition. I will focus on the critical period from the end of the eleventh century through the early years of the thirteenth century. This period registered a significant change in the teaching of the most basic devices of literary style, the figures of speech and figures of thought. In what ways, under what circumstances, do the exercises supplied by schoolmasters to exemplify doctrine become, on their own terms, artistic production? How and to what extent do schoolmasters create new “classics,” or how do we see them aiming for this result? In the core of this lecture I will examine teaching manuals by Marbod of Rennes, Geoffrey of Vinsauf, and Boncompagno da Signa, spanning the years from about 1075 to about 1215. At the end I will turn speculatively to Petrarch to consider how the pedagogical transition from canon to composition is affirmed at the level of consciously artistic production.

Cullhed, Anders (Stockholm University) – KEYNOTE

Latinate Pranks and Exercises: Recycling Latin Classes in Western Poetry

Anders.Cullhed@littvet.su.se – Thursday, 9.15 – 10.15

This paper tries to elucidate the significance of Latin schooling for the production of poetry by lining up a few cases of recycling classical texts from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. The French poet Baudri de Bourgeuil (ca 1050-1130) rewrote Ovid’s Heroides 16–17 within a cultural context, sometimes labeled the “Ovidian age”, aetas Ovidiana, based on classroom practices such as paraphrase, accessus and glosses, presupposing a sense of historical continuity – or translatio studii – from Antiquity right down to the 12th centuy . In his great work, The Comedy, the Florentine Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) reused Ovid in a quite different way, typical of the moralizing tendencies noticeable in the Tuscan schools, a few decades later just as conspicuous in the works of (his commentator) Giovanni Boccaccio. The Early Modern motto Ad fontes, on the other hand, presupposed a breach between ancient and present times, none the less possible (and surely commendable) to bridge by means of imitation within the framework of studia humanitatis and a new philological culture, made possible by the printing press. In Renaissance lyric poetry, an aetas Propertiana might catch our intention, illustrated by a look at a famous sonnet by the Spanish Golden Age poet Francisco de Quevedo (1580–1645). Finally, in this Latin schooling context, our modern era, characterized by an ambivalent attitude to the classical heritage, are represented by the Anglo-American poet T.S. Eliot (1888–1965) and his Swedish successor Hjalmar Gullberg (1898–1961), both of whom remembered their Latin classes in their mature poetry, marked by irony, distance and, probably, nostalgia.

Demetriou, Chrysanthi (Open University of Cyprus and University of Cyprus)

Teaching Controversial Topics at (Ancient) Schools: Donatus on Terence

demetriou.chrysanthi@ucy.ac.cy – Thursday, 14.15, Panel 2

Aelius Donatus’ commentary on Terence dates back to the grammarian’s teaching activity in fourth century Rome, when St Jerome was one of his students (Cont. Ruf. 1.16). The commentary covers a wide range of topics related to the interpretation of Terence’s comedies, e.g. language, style, characterisation, plot construction etc. However, while the surviving scholia are extensively used by scholars of Terence as a helpful tool for the interpretation of the playwright’s works (cf. the long debate on Donatus’ suggestion that Terence created ‘good’ courtesans), the educational background of this corpus is usually disregarded.

This paper will focus on Donatus’ treatment of rape, a common but simultaneously controversial motif of New Comedy. It aims to explore the way Donatus’ criticism has affected modern scholarship’s reactions to Terence’s rape incidents, as well as to indicate how Donatus’ account adheres to the general scope of his commentary, i.e. the exegesis of Terence for the benefit of the grammarian’s students. Many classicists, often influenced by feminist readings as well as contemporary concepts of morality, insist on these incidents’ problematic features; on the other hand, a number of studies, evidently influenced by Donatus’ criticism, argue for Terence’s sensible treatment of the matter. Yet, most interpretations fail to contextualise Donatus’ comments, by not taking into account not only his time but also his audience, i.e. his students.

It is my contention that the commentator’s interpretations are consistent with the overall purpose of his work. Donatus’ effort of mitigation is not alien to his interest both in the way comic style and conventions should be preserved (e.g. on Ad. 501-506 and 686) as well as in morality and appropriate behaviour (e.g. on Eun. 387 and 646); notably, these aspects are evidently connected with his teaching agenda and possibly illuminated by ideological developments of his time, such as the expansion of Christianity. Thus, Donatus’ commentary forms an invaluable evidence of the way that not only Terence but more specifically ‘difficult’ topics, such as rapes, were received in ancient education. In this context, and given Donatus’ popularity through the Middle Ages, Hrotsvitha’s adaptations of Terence constitute a parallel case-study that illuminates the manner in which ‘disturbing’ themes of Classical literature are treated in the light of contemporary cultural developments, a tendency that, in my understanding, is also obvious in modern readings of Terence’s works.

Ekbom, Moa (University of Gothenburg)

Ripping Vergil Apart. The Nostalgia and Creativity of the sortes Vergilianae

moa.ekbom@gmail.com – Thursday, 11.05, Panel 1

In Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel The Ebb tide, there is an emblematic passage describing the sortes Vergilianae and its connotations at the time. The destitute Robert Herrick, stranded in the South Seas, seeks sortes:

“He would […]dip into the Aeneid seeking sortes. And if the oracle, as is the way with oracles, replied with no very certain nor encouraging voice, visions of England at least would throng upon the exile’s memory: the busy schoolroom, the green playing fields, holidays at home, and the perennial roar of London, […]. For it is the destiny of those grave, restrained and classic writers, with whom we make enforced and often painful acquaintance at school, to pass into the blood and become native in the memory, so that a phrase of Virgil speaks not so much of Mantua of Augustus, but of English places and the student’s own irrevocable youth.”

This paper discusses how the sortes Vergilianae is used as something quintessentially of the homeland but also harking back to eternity, validating exposure to danger and war, but also subtly questioning it, as well as the schooling and indoctrination of their youth, focusing on texts written in English from the latter half of the nineteenth century and first half of the twentieth. The paper will describe the literary tension found between creativity and the Latin education apparent in the use of sortes Vergilianae, and how the Latin, a requisite part of upbringing, and the Classics are living in the reusing and reevaluating of the text, but problematized. Its usage as an excluding marker of class and societal rank, will be noted, but also how it could function as an international and universal frame of reference for certain educated individuals.

Gerbrandy, Piet (University of Amsterdam)

The ‘Hisperica Famina’ as an Ars Poetica

p.s.gerbrandy@uva.nl – Friday, 13.30, Panel 4

In the second half of the seventh century, some intellectual communities in Ireland appear to have been notorious for their wayward use of the Latin language, resulting in a body of fragmentary texts usually referred to as Hisperica famina. The Latin of these texts is deliberately strange and difficult and apparently meant to impress and exclude outsiders. The so-called A-text, comprising 612 lines in Michael Herren’s edition, could be interpreted as a didactic poem that by a combination of witty dialogues, rambling narrative and dazzling ecphrases aims to instruct students in the funny conventions of ‘hisperic’ writing.

My paper will demonstrate, first, that the A-text may be fruitfully compared to early-medieval texts in Irish as well as to Aldhelm’s riddles in Latin, not to mention Martianus Capella’s De nuptiis (and maybe even the literary experiments of the Irish novelists James Joyce, Flann O’Brien, and Samuel Beckett); second, that parts of the text devoted to seemingly otiose descriptions of, e.g., the sea, fire, and a scholar’s bookcase, may conceal metapoetical meanings; and third, that the concluding narrative of the text, which appears to tell a quintessentially Irish story about a cattle raid, could be interpreted as an allegory on intellectual contests between Irish and English scholars. Accordingly, I will contend that the main narrator may have been a maturing English scholar who playfully shows his ambivalent stance towards this exclusive, demanding, and utterly useless type of higher education.

The case of the Hisperica Famina may illustrate a widespread aspect of Latin scholarship, to wit its usefulness in establishing complacent elites or, perhaps less seriously, students’ counter-cultures aimed at excluding non-initiates.

Grek, Leon (Princeton University)

“I read it in the grammar long ago”. Forgetting Latin in the English Renaissance

lgrek@princeton.edu – Thursday, 10.35, Panel 1 

On the title page of his 1588 English translation of Terence’s Andria, the Welsh author and soldier Maurice Kyffin describes his work as “[a] furtherance for the attainment unto the right knowledge, & true proprietie, of the Latin Tong. And also a commodious meane of help, to such as have forgotten Latin, for their speedy recovering of habilitie, to understand, write, and speake the same.” The first of these aims – to help schoolboys learn Latin – is a familiar one in this context: English translators of school texts such as Terence often present their works as pedagogical aids. The second – to assist forgetful adults – is decidedly unusual. No other sixteenth-century English translation of a Latin classic addresses itself to would-be re-learners of the language in this way.

In this paper, I argue that Kyffin’s concern for “such as have forgotten Latin” is part of a larger, though usually overlooked chapter in the cultural history of Latin education in early modern England. As humanist grammar schools spread across the country over the course of the sixteenth century, Latin was taught to increasing numbers of English schoolboys who would have little need of the language in later life. Inevitably, many of these students went on to forget much of their schoolroom Latin even as they continued to associate their partial Latinity with social status and cultural prestige. These semi-Latinate Englishmen, I argue, played an important role in the production and reception of late sixteenth-century English vernacular classicism. Drawing on a wide range of literary and documentary sources, the paper will sketch a history of forgotten Latin in the English Renaissance. I conclude with more detailed reading of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, linking the play’s representation of its characters’ foggy schoolroom memories to its own distinctively anachronistic engagement with the Roman past.

Gunderson, Erik (University of Toronto) – KEYNOTE

The Morosophistic Discourse of Ancient Prose Fiction

e.gunderson@utoronto.ca – Friday, 8.45 – 9.45

This talk explores a set of connections between philosophy and prose fiction. It combines a somewhat Foucauldian outlook on the question of genealogical filiation with a Bakhtinian interest in polyphony and heteroglossia. This is an overview of the various possibilities for the emplotment of the story of knowledge. The structural details of these plots inform the quality  of the knowledge that eventuates from them. In coarse terms, I am asking what it means to insist upon the novelistic qualities of Plato while simultaneously thinking about the Platonic qualities of novels. This highly selective survey starts with classical Athens, touches upon Plutarch and Lucian, and then lingers with narrative prose fiction more specifically by examining the texts of Chariton, Achilles Tatius, Heliodorus, Apuleius, and Petronius. 

Jackson, Lucy (King’s College London)

Audite Pueri! The Performance of Latin in Sixteenth-Century School Plays

lucy.jackson@kcl.ac.uk – Thursday, 15.15, Panel 2

Performances of Latin drama had become a widespread phenomenon in European schools by the middle of the sixteenth century.1 The potential for these dramas to have a significant impact on the students who performed or watched these plays was recognised at the time. Some of these productions were significant enough to warrant a repeat performance elsewhere: Macropedius travelled with his students from Utrecht to Gouda (a distance of 40kms) for one such reperformance. Memories of participating in these performances would linger in the pupils’ minds, as Michel de Montaigne clearly shows in his own reminiscences of his leading roles undertaken at the Collège de Guyenne in Bordeaux.2

The lessons learnt in performance were thought to be thoroughly complementary to the program of classroom Latin education across Europe. But learning in performance, this paper contends, also yielded crucially different lessons as well, not least concerning the manipulation of sentiment through rhetoric and the often violently differing results in action.

In this paper I shall suggest that the ‘act’ of performing in Latin was to shape how pupils went on to reproduce and refract their school-day Latinity. I focus in particular on those Latin dramatic texts that translate Greek dramas, arguing that the acknowledged ‘translated’ quality of the text foregrounds the language of Latin as constructed, inexorably redolent with antique echoes, in contrast to the flourishing European vernaculars of the time.3 Examining the Latin translations created by George Buchanan for the schoolboys in Bordeaux, I shall show how school and college performances of Latin plays, translated from Greek, in the mid-sixteenth century sowed significant seeds for future Latin and vernacular literary production.

Jalabert, Romain (University Paris-Sorbonne)

Sainte-Beuve, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, etc., et le Gradus ad Parnassum

jalabert.romain@hotmail.fr – Thursday, 16.50, Panel 2

Le Gradus ad Parnassum permettait de vérifier la quantité d’un mot latin et assistait le collégien dans certaines opérations de base de l’amplification en poésie, notamment le choix des épithètes, des synonymes et des périphrases. Le maniement du Gradus a laissé des souvenirs contrastés, au même titre que la composition de vers latins, à laquelle le dictionnaire était associé. Le sentiment de rejet de Jules Vallès, dans L’Enfant, devait être celui d’une majorité d’élèves : « Je cherche aux adverbes, et aux adjectifs du Gradus […], on me prend pour un fort, je ne suis qu’un simple filou. Je vole à droite, à gauche, je ramasse des rejets au coin des livres. […] Il me faut mon spondée ou mon dactyle, tant pis ! – la qualité n’est rien, c’est la quantité qui est tout ». On peut lui opposer la facilité légendaire de Rimbaud qui, selon d’anciens camarades, composa Jugurtha en trois heures, en « dédaignant de consulter son Gradus », au concours général de l’académie de Douai, en 1870.

L’intervention évaluera la fréquence avec laquelle les épithètes choisies par de brillants collégiens comme Léon Halévy, Anne Bignan, Sainte-Beuve, Musset, Baudelaire, Rimbaud et d’autres, dans leurs compositions de vers latins, se retrouvent dans les Gradus. Elle offrira une réflexion sur le type de latin contenu dans les Gradus, dans un siècle d’essoufflement de la poésie néo-latine et de redéfinition du canon scolaire autour des auteurs du siècle d’Auguste. Elle permettra de faire des hypothèses sur le rôle des dictionnaires de versification dans l’invention et la composition d’un poème, au collège, et de juger l’originalité d’un élève par rapport à la norme scolaire. En marge de la recherche, une attention particulière sera accordée à l’usage éventuel, dans les compositions, de manuels autres que le Gradus, comme les Leçons latines de François Noël, les Annales des concours généraux, etc., et au contexte d’un marché scolaire en pleine expansion au XIXe siècle. Des passerelles avec les œuvres en langue française seront établies toutes les fois que ce sera possible.

Jensen, Brian (Stockholm University)

The Meaning and Use of Fabula in the ‘Dialogus creaturarum moralizatus’

brian.jensen@su.se – Thursday, 14.45, Panel 2

The first book printed in Sweden in 1483 was the North-Italian compilation Dialogus creaturarum moralizatus, usually dated to the middle of the 14th century and attributed to Nicolaus of Bergamo in some manuscripts and to Mayno di Mayneri of Milano in others. In his preface the author uses the practise of Jesus to justify his intentions, since “Jesus once used fabulis Palestinorum more to lead human beings to the road of truth through parables”. Claiming that his book might prove useful to preachers against spiritual fatigue, the author will “introduce moral teaching in an entertaining way to exterminate vices and promote virtues”, a view that reflects Phaedrus’ motto risum movere et vitam docere in the prologue to his first Book of fables as well as e.g. Gregory the Great’s use of exempla, “The examples of the faithful sometimes convert the minds of the listeners better than the words of the teachers”.

In addition to the presentation of the primary elements of the almost identical structure of the 122 chapters of DCM, it is my intention to address the didactic aspects presented in the preface and analyse how these are manifested in the book with a specific focus on the meaning of fabula as a literary term and the various fables included (almost all of them attributed to Aesop). Part of this analysis will include a comparison with Vincent of Beauvais’ Speculum historiale and Speculum doctrinale, who in his discussion of the fable genre seems to be more hesitant regarding preachers’ use of fables and fiction, as he underlines the dangers of this modern way of preaching.


Maes, Yanick (Ghent University)

Elevator to Prison: the Latin Schools as Tools among Berber Intellectuals

Yanick.Maes@UGent.be – Friday, 11.00, Panel 3

In this contribution we will explore how the reintroduction of the Latin schools in Algeria by the French in the 19th century started a process that during the latter half of the 20th evolved into a distinct literary tradition that is proper to Berber intellectuals. The Numidian king Jugurtha, as he is represented in the work of Sallust, acts as a catalyst for this chain of reactions. We will focus on two of the more recent results of this new tradition, novels by Assia Djebar and Amara Lakhous. The long history of the Latin Schools created an audience sharing a public space, based on shared tools through which to understand its own historical position. The work of Djebar and, especially, Lakhous, demonstrates how within each individual member of the audience this process leads to complex and often contradictory negotiations between different positions, particular to this person.

The literary tradition of the Algerian intellectuals evolved in direct opposition to the ideas propagated by the French after the colonisation in the 19th century. The use of French in official life, schools (with an important role for the classics) and culture, provided the North-African intellectuals with a set of iconic individuals through which the community was given coherence and a new nationalist identity was forged. Only in the 1940’s and 1950’s (through the works of Jean Amrouche, Mohammed Chérif Sahli and Kateb Yacine), however, did Sallust’s Jugurtha really reassert himself as a central figure of the countermyth to the idea of a Latin Africa.

As soon as he had entered the Algerian imaginary the picture got murky. In addition to the anti- colonial appropriation, the figure of Jugurtha became a means for voicing the under-representation of the Berber- population in an uniformly Arab Algeria. The work of Assia Djebar further complicated the situation by introducing into this nexus the idea of the woman-writer in resistance to the male-dominated Maghreb society. We will look into the interconnected themes of writing, language, literary self- expression, and gender in her oeuvre. In Vaste est la Prison (1995) she explores how different languages, traditions and literatures both enable and constrict her own writing. The ensuing entanglement paradoxically helps her to cope with her own, specific situation.

In Scontrò di civiltà per un ascensore a Piazza Vittorio by Amara Lakhous (2006) the berber- tradition is moreover integrated in a framework that hints at (and sometimes quotes) the great works of both Algerian and Italian literary history in an attempt to deal with his own status as Algerian immigrant in Italy. The different traditions are all part of the main character’s self-definition and the many tribulations arising from the conflict between them threaten to extinguish his identity altogether, just like Jugurtha ended his eventful life in the dark limbo of a Roman prison (as also evoked by the Italian poet Giovanni Pascoli, in a Latin poem from 1894), his story told in the language of others.

Newman, Jonathan (Missouri State University)

Dictaminal Education, Competition and Literary Culture in Early-Thirteenth-Century Bologna

jnewman@missouristate.edu – Friday, 16.20, Panel 4

This paper explores how the educational program and school culture surrounding the ars dictaminis in the early thirteenth century informed humanistic literary culture in Western Europe. Bologna in the early thirteenth century was the setting for the intense literary production and larger-than-life personalities of such dictaminal masters as Boncompagno da Signa and Guido Faba, as well as their rivals and successors. Scholars from R. L. Benton to Ronald G. Witt have identified in this community, centered on studying and teaching the theory and practice of the ars dictaminis, the origins of literary and civic humanism in Italy. Yet rhetoricians like Boncompagno and Guido belong as much to the playful boasting of the goliardic literature of the twelfth-century as to the monumental self-aggrandizement of Dante and Petrarch. As such, their activity links the texts and literary communities of the twelfth-century Latin renaissance with those of the centuries that followed. Mastery of the ars dictaminis was the arena in which the Bolognese masters competed with each other for prestige and position, turning a once unassuming practical component of Latin schooling into a vehicle for rhetorical and literary virtuosity. In this paper, I examine the role played by the competitive discourse of the Bolognese dictaminal masters in establishing their educational community as a literary group, and I demonstrate in particular how this competition is expressed in fabulation– the invention of stories– for model letters. In other words, the in-group rivalry of the great dictatores helped to constitute them as a group, a de facto literary circle. In doing so, they imbued literary life with the competitive character of their school, and thus inflected the nature of secular literary authority through the following centuries of rhetorical humanism.

Otter, Monika (University of Dartmouth)

Hanc ego dissolvam: Freedom, Play, Poetry and the ‘Ecbasis Captivi’

monika.c.otter@dartmouth.edu – Saturday, 11.05, Panel 5

The eleventh-century Ecbasis captivi, clearly a school text, announces one of its central metaphors, of captivity and escape, even in its learned title.  The text suggests an Easter performance in a monastic school, both by constituting a performance text (it offers a prize to the best reciter and it has theatrical elements) and by metapoetically discussing such a performance, both in its framing and in the many embedded performances.  The metaphors of “bound” and “free” recur at every level of this playful and complex structure:  they refer to the monk’s captivity in the cloister and rule, the child’s captivity in school and freedom to play, the little calf of the main plot escaping from being “tied to a stake” and then from the danger that he has incurred by his wilful dash for freedom; but also the interplay of “free” and “bound” in poetic composition, the freedom of poetic invention as a liberation from strict truth-telling, and the risus paschalis as a liberation from monastic seriousness.  In staging its boisterous and funny beast fable, the Ecbasis suggests a poetics of communal play, and a dialectic between rules and freedom, play and earnest that characterizes monasticism, education, and poetry.

Schrire, Ray (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

The Margins of Shakespeare’s Grammar. Humanistic Pedagogy in Theory and Practice.

ray.schrire@mail.huji.ac.il – Thursday, 17.20, Panel 2

Humanistic pedagogy is often evoked as a sweeping explanation for some of the literary and intellectual developments of the Renaissance. Humanism is said to have brought the study of grammar and rhetoric closer to literature than to the schoolmen’s logic, as well as to have generated generations of readers and writers who were deeply familiar with the classical canon. This may be true in theory. However, how did humanistic pedagogy rejuvenate the actual classroom? In what ways did the common schoolboy internalize its novel teaching? And what can this tell us about Renaissance literature and its readership? 

In this paper I explore these questions in respect to the English grammar school and the English literary tradition. I move from the abstract to the concrete, and from the concrete to the tangible: I begin with Shakespeare, Jonson and Marston with the objective of examining some powerful representations of the ideas and practices of grammar school education. I then consider bibliographical evidence in order to uncover the ways in which idealistic humanist pedagogy was translated into concrete teaching tools. I finally discuss the marginal annotations found in several hundred copies of school grammars as a way of exploring the actual learning habits of grammar school pupils. Examining the gaps between representations, teaching tools and actual learning habits provides us with a way to consider the merits as well as the limitations of some of our theories about the implications of humanistic education, also beyond the English context. Such an analysis helps us to better understand the reciprocal relationship between education and literature, teasing out the distinctiveness of the humanist education that helped foster some of our most brilliant writers; and at the same time illuminating the ways that literary texts have provided us with some of our most widely held notions regarding humanist education.

Téllez-Nieto, Heréndira (ENES-UNAM, Morelia)

Atravesando fronteras: La enseñanza del latín en el Nuevo Mundo (México, siglo XVI)

here_tellez@yahoo.es – Friday, 10.30, Panel 3

Tras el Renacimiento de la Humanidades Clásicas en Europa, los estudios grecolatinos se extendieron también al Nuevo Mundo gracias a los frailes encargados de la Evangelización, entre quienes se encontraban eruditos de gran renombre que habían estudiado en las más prestigiadas universidades de Europa, entre ellas París, Salamanca, Bolonia.

Estos hombres siguieron la ratio studiorum de Antonio de Nebrija y, con el tiempo, escribieron importantes obras gramaticales y lexicográficas en lenguas indígenas que tenían como fuente las Introductiones latinae del salamantino. Sin embargo, la influencia de los autores clásicos fue más allá: el latín se llegó a enseñar de forma constante, no sólo a los niños europeos nacidos en suelo americano, sino también a los propios indígenas.

Esta ponencia tratará de la primera institución educativa en donde se enseñó latín a los indígenas mexicanos, el Colegio de Tlatelolco, y la forma en que se enseñó esta lengua, desde la primera gramática latina escrita en el Nuevo Mundo, la Gramática Maturini, pasando por la traducción de obras indígenas al latín, el Libellus de medicinalibus Indorum herbis, hasta la traducción inversa, de obras de grecolatinas al náhuatl, la lengua de los antiguos mexicanos, como el caso de la versión latina de Esopo.

Tutrone, Fabio (University of Palermo)

Masks, Fathers and Writers. Latin Aemulatio from Literary Education to Social Reciprocity (and Back)

fabio.tutrone@unipa.it – Friday, 15.50, Panel 4

It is widely assumed that, from a very early stage onwards, Latin literary education relied on the ethical-aesthetic principles of imitatio and aemulatio. Following the rise of of intertextuality in the Sixties, Roman writers have been more and more insistently portrayed as competitive and erudite imitators, trained since their youth to understand literature as a post-Hellenistic exercise in generic (and inter-generic) enrichment. In this paper, I will attempt to enlarge such text-centred perspective by highlighting the often neglected connections between family education, intergenerational reciprocity, and aesthetic thought in Roman culture. Indeed, long before the neoteroi started to seed their poems with ‘Alexandrian footnotes’, there existed at Rome a culturally embedded set of patterns providing concrete instructions on how a Roman had to imitate his models and compete with them. As emblematically attested in the epitaphs and the laudationes of aristocratic families, a young Roman was expected to consciously situate himself in the line of his genus—a nicely ambiguous word for both the rhetoric notion of genre and the pre-existing idea of stock—striving to imitate, and possibly to surpass, the virtues of his ancestors—the maiores immortalized by the masks in the atria. By reassessing Cicero’s, Seneca’s, and Quintilian’s approaches to aemulatio and their underlying sociological backgrounds, I will point out the distinctiveness of Latin literary education and its thoughtful reception of the Hellenistic ideal of mimēsis/zēlōsis: from the faith in the endlessly advancing progress of generations to the fear of reproducing ancestral vices, from the depiction of previous models as stimulatingly imperfect portraits to the creative manipulation of genealogical identities, several conceptual traits seem to cross the boundaries between cultural and literary memory, shaping the poetic Bildung of such learned writers as Horace.

Verbaal, Wim (Ghent University)

Beyond the Reach of Latin. The Emancipation of Western European Literatures from their Latin Background

Wim.Verbaal@UGent.be – Thursday, 11.35, Panel 1

For almost thousand years, in Western Europe, Latin constituted the continuous background for every evolution of literatures in the mother tongue. Latin not only offered the oldest written literature but it also remained the language of school and education until far into the 18th century. Consequently, literature in the Western European mother tongues never escaped the dialogue with its Latin equivalent that imposed itself both as the tradition from which the others had to emancipate and very often as the norm which they had to meet. In my contribution, I propose to present the two more important steps the literatures in the Western European mother tongues had to take in order to emancipate from the Latin heritage. The first step was made in the 12th and 13th centuries as literature in the vernaculars in its more restricted sense came into being. Fundamental in this phase seems to have been the creation of fiction. The second step was made in the long 17th century as writers all over Western Europe had to comply with the renewed stylistic exigencies that had been introduced by the humanist movement of the 15th and 16th centuries. Paradoxically, the strict classicism of this period in the end proved to be a strong emancipatory tool, replacing Latin literary dominance definitively by the literatures in the mother tongue that by now became truly national languages. The Latin cosmopolis as Western Europe had known it for almost thousand years came to an end.

Vetushko-Kalevich, Arsenii (Lund University)

Nordic Gods in Classical Dresses: ‘De diis arctois’ by C. G. Brunius

arsenii.vetushko-kalevich@klass.lu.se – Friday, 14.00, Panel 4

The 19th century in Sweden, like in many other European countries, saw a large decline in the quantity of Neo-Latin literary production. However, a range of skillful Latin poets may be named from this period: Johan Lundblad, Johan Tranér, Emil Söderström, Johan Bergman and others, engaged as well in translating from Swedish into Latin as in composing poems of their own. It was also in the 19th century that the longest Latin poem ever written in Sweden came out – “De diis arctois libri VI” by Carl Georg Brunius (1792–1869), remarkably neglected by the scholars, although it was published twice during the lifetime of its author (1822 and 1857).

The subject of the poem fits perfectly in the intellectual movement of the period, namely national romantic interest in the Nordic antiquities. The six books represent a summary of Eddaic mythology from the creation of the Universe until the Ragnarök.

Brunius’ admiration for the Scandinavian Middle Ages is apparent; later it turned out to be productive in architecture, the field in which Brunius is most remembered nowadays. Brunius does not seek to turn Scandinavian gods into Greek ones. He accurately follows his sources (both the prosaic and, to a somewhat smaller extent, the poetic Edda) in content, sometimes even in wording. However, it should be born in mind that the writer was a classicist by his education. Although many compositional traits of ancient epos are lacking in the poem, it is full of the allusions to classical authors at the phrasal level. Some of them are formulaic verse elements, others deliberate and exquisite quotations. It is this elegant combination of close adherence to the sources with the use of the ancient authors (Virgil, Lucretius, Ovid, Horace) that my paper will be mainly focused on.

Williams, Craig (University of Illinois)

American Indians Writing Latin in Colonial New England

cawllms@illinois.edu – Friday, 10.00, Panel 3

In this paper I consider the learning and use of Latin as a complex marker of cultural interaction as mediated through European schooling in an area of classical reception that is little known to classicists today: the use of classical learning by Native Americans in colonial New England. The principal locus of this reception is Harvard College, whose 1650 charter describes its mission as “the education of the English and Indian youth of this country in knowledge and godliness.” This education, often aimed at preparation for the Protestant ministry, entailed a thorough familiarity with the Latin language and Latin literature. In order to be admitted to Harvard, students – English and Indian alike – had to demonstrate an advanced knowledge of Latin and at least a rudimentary familiarity with Greek, and the language of instruction at Harvard was Latin: textbooks in all subjects were in Latin, students composed essays and disputations in Latin, and (at least notionally) conversations in and out of the classroom were held in Latin.

Three Latin texts written by American Indian students at Harvard have survived, one of them only recently rediscovered: a prose letter of thanks to English benefactors written by Caleb Cheeshahteaumauk in 1663; a poem in elegiac couplets written by a student known to us as “Eleazar the Indian,” in honor of a Protestant minister in Boston who died in 1678; and a poem in dactylic hexameters on an Aesopic theme inspired by Horace’s Epistles 1.7, written by Benjamin Larnell in or shortly before 1714. In this paper I will discuss these texts as especially complex and perhaps unexpected illustrations of the interactions among Latin schooling, elite community-building, colonialism, and cultural identity, all as part of a long and continuing history of adaptation and survival by the Native peoples of North America.