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Category Archives: Latin

The Reginald Foster Biography Project


This past fall I was asked to write a profile of Fr. Reginald Foster, which is coming out shortly from The New Criterion.  At the time I was working on a memoir about Rome, and it was obvious that I was leaving a tremendous amount about my relationship with Reginaldus unsaid because it was too complicated. […]

Understanding Cicero.


A piece I wrote for the SALVI blog about hearing Cicero performed, which answered for me one of the questions I have heard Classicists voice aloud: whether or not the Romans could really understand grammar and language as difficult as Cicero’s, in real time, live in the Forum.  An hourlong speech can take half a […]

Double-Edged Swords.


A nice piece by Michael Goyette about the weapons of Hercules, and the ancient belief that the weapons themselves were both good and evil, and not in themselves – as many modern people view technology – a good.

The Latin Speakers of West Virginia.


I have some trepidation about putting this piece up online, because I have worked hard on it, over a period of years, and Rusticatio has in that time become a large part of my life, and I’ve wanted to do it some justice in print.  Sitting on it for years meant that I could just […]

Cato and South Africa.


I was speaking with one of the Classicists at our Latin-immersion workshop. “Cape Latin,” as it is called – the Latin texts relating to the Cape of Good Hope since the founding of the colony there – has been one of his topics, but he has looked more widely into the history of the Classics […]

Can You Belong On A Different Continent? Or Is That Just Colonialism Talking?


If you will indulge me, let me share with you a long excerpt from Karen (Isak) Dinesen, the beginning of her superb memoir Out of Africa. It is long and descriptive, but instructive, and I will have some things to say about it: I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong […]

The Real Othello – Writing About Male Enhancement.


We had a reading from Leo Africanus, a Moor and polymath who was supposedly the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Othello. He wrote of his journeys through Africa in Latin, taking note of certain plants, one of which is called Surnag: … Est quoque et hoc radicis genus in Athlantis Occidentalibus locis proveniens, cui vires inesse aiunt […]

Evan Gardner’s Language Hunting.


Had the pleasure of watching Nancy Llewellyn begin learning Afrikaans over lunch.  She uses a method pioneered by Evan Gardner known as “language hunting.”  She asks, in English, how to say “what is that?” in the target language.  Once she had it, she then used the phrase over and over again to learn the words […]

Latin and Race.


The immersion program is begun, and it is worth noting that there are no black participants. For a Classicist this is nothing unusual – indeed, for anyone involved in the high levels of almost any academic discipline, this is not unusual. In the United States, where blacks comprise about ten percent of the population, it […]

Latin Beyond Classicism.


June 29th. We began the Latin immersion today. We read an account of Tungubutum (Timbuktu) written in Latin in 1595 by Adriaan Van Roomen. Tungubutum; situm ad magnum lacum piscibus abundantem, aqua tamen lacus est amara et venenata. Civitas magnae negotiationis, ad quam non tantum fit concursus Fessanorum et Maroccorum, sed etiam Cariensium. Huc magna […]