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My Summer of Shoshin: Applying Beginner’s Mind to Learning Ancient Greek

By Dr. Heather Harwood, Classics Faculty

My Summer of Shoshin: Applying Beginner’s Mind to Learning Ancient Greek

Imagine this. You fly across the ocean to a different continent to go to school. You miss a connection and your plane is delayed, so you arrive a day late. You make your way from the airport to the campus of the school where you meet your roommate (someone you have never met before) and several other “ new” students. Most of the students you soon realize are returning for their third or fourth year to the school. These students know the campus, they know each other, and they know the teachers. At the opening night ceremony and for the remainder of your time at the school, the teachers and many of the returning students all converse in a language which, while you have studied it in books your whole life, you have never really heard spoken or spoken yourself. You go to bed a jumble of conflicting feelings: brain-numbing exhaustion from your journey, excitement and eagerness to start learning, uncertainty about whether you should even be here, homesickness for your dog, and total fear.

Sound familiar?

While this is the experience of many students coming to St. Mark’s for the first time from abroad, it was also my experience this past summer when I traveled to Greece to participate in Paediea Institute’s Living Greek in Greece program. I now have a much better understanding of what many of you who come to St. Mark’s from another country experience. The “school” I attended, however, was actually only a two week workshop held in a small coastal town called Selianitika where students, professors and high school teachers of Ancient Greek gathered to learn how to understand and speak Ancient Greek.

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Nepos: What Was No Spartan Woman Too Proud To Do?

By Tommy Flathers, IV Form

Nepos: What Was No Spartan Woman Too Proud To Do?

When Ms. Cook and I were going over what I had read over the week sometime early in Window 1, we came across this phrase. I flagged it down as a potential essay topic and have looked forward to exploring it in more detail. I am looking forward to researching the morality of the Greeks and Romans, or how the Romans viewed the morality of the Greeks. Currently, I have almost no knowledge of the subject. All that I know I learned from reading Nepos. I think that it might be “ad scaenam” because in line 5 he also mentions the stage.

Research question:

What could Nepos have written on line 4 of his Prologue? What was no Spartan woman too proud to do? Judging by contextual clues, which option makes the most sense? What evidence from the Latin text supports your claim? (more…)

The Importance of Classics in the 21st Century

By Riley Lochhead, V Form 

The Importance of Classics in the 21st Century

Editor’s Note: In Latin III Honors, the students wrote essays to submit to the Eidolon Essay Contest. The prompt called for an explanation and argument for why studying Classics is important in the 21st century. 

Studying Classics has helped me with many things such as SAT vocabulary, gaining a better understanding of the foundation of the English language, and having a better grasp on the history of ancient Rome. Although all of these skills are valid examples of the importance of studying the Classics, they are not what makes studying Classics most valuable in the 21st century. It is crucial to continue to educate students in the area of Classics is because Latin and Greek create opportunities for students to be independent critical thinkers who are able to produce their own ideas and to ask questions that provoke them to question their previous assumptions about the topics being discussed. This skill can be applied to many other disciplines and is crucial to development of a growth mindset. (more…)

The Epic Hero: An Analysis of the Shields of Achilles and Aeneas in Comparison to Hesiod’s “Shield of Heracles”

By Matthew Flathers, VI Form

While the pseudo-Hesiodic Shield of Heracles is largely considered to be a poorly composed piece of poetry, criticized and deemed inauthentic by other antiquated authors[1], it is through its mimicry and plagiarism that it is able to provide valuable insight into Greek, and later Roman, heroism. This short, 450-lined recounting of the contest between Heracles and Cycnus is, as the title suggests, an ekphrastic work about the shield that Heracles bore in the fight. However, seeing as the poem is not particularly well written or unique, the focus of the work lies entirely in the description of the shield itself as opposed to the quality of the imagery used. While large portions of the text are paraphrased and even directly quoted sections of Homer’s Iliad,[2] other sections are indeed original

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