So the other day I met with those in charge of running this blog program and they told me to be a bit more casual with the topics I discuss. I thought I’d take the time to talk about some of my classes and the challenges they’ve given me so far this semester. One of my classes is an independent study, that I mention in another post, which I am very grateful to have. I’m working with a great professor and another student on transcribing a medieval Latin manuscript. To those interested in the subject matter, it sounds like it would be heaps of fun. But to be honest it has been extremely challenging. Medieval latin isn’t so much Latin, as it is shorthand and symbols and abbreviations. To a native Latin speaker I supposed it would be pretty easy to figure out what the author was trying to say. But to me its like a puzzle with half of the pieces missing. Staring at it for long periods of time reminds me of those dot optical illusions where things on the paper start to move and look unrecognizable after a while. This last week we were to transcribe the first ten lines, just to figure out what the latin itself said. We didn’t even consider translating it yet, there is no way we’re prepared to start that. I have the meeting later today where we’re going to discuss all of the possibilities for case endings and letters, and I’m confident in saying that it’s going to be a very interesting class.
One of the other classes this semester that is giving me a good bit of grief is my LAT202, which is an introduction to Latin poetry. I personally dislike poetry and have tried to avoid it in academic atmospheres, but here I am. In addition, we’re reading Catullus. For anyone who knows this Roman poet, it’s a bit self explanatory. But for those who don’t know him, he is very erotic. One of our textbooks is “The Sexual Vocabulary for Latin.” Needless to say there are a variety of new vocabulary words I’m learning this semester. Some I really, really wished I didn’t know (in Latin, or in English). Regardless, it is certainly a class that keeps me paying attention. You never really know what you’re class you’re going to stumble across in college. I have a feeling this one will be a good story I tell my kids one day, but not until they’re about 25 years old. At least.