Roman Grave Inscription

Our professor Dr. Mauer is obsessed with ancient Roman tombstones and their inscriptions. Since the Romans couldn’t bury their dead within the city limits, they had streets of tombs outside the city walls. You can literally walk down the road and read these inscriptions as if they are mini novellas. The best part about them is that they are surprisingly blunt and human- there is hardly ever any pretense. They are apparently one of the best ways historians and classicists have of understanding what the ancient Roman people were like.

There was one that Dr. Mauer was telling us about in class that I will simply have to find and translate for you guys. My eyes teared up in class as he was talking about it. It was an inscription from a man to his dead wife. Apparently, she was a lot younger than he was, but they had been married for 40 years and he was still madly madly in love with her. He spends forever talking about all the courageous and yet also gentle things she had done for her friends and for the poor throughout her life, even from early childhood. He ends by saying that he has tried so hard to follow in her footsteps, to do good as she did, but all he can do is weep and wait to die.

In telling us this, Mauer said that for years he couldn’t understand why this guy would go on forever about how sad he was without her on a tombstone, seeing as it is kind of personal (and emotionally harrowing for the reader!) and not exactly something one writes for the world to see. It wasn’t until recently that he realized the reason- this guy wanted to completely surround and blanket what was left of her with overwhelming love and emotion as she sailed off into the afterlife.

This one isn’t as good as that one, but I thought it was really really interesting how transparent these people are. For instance, this one starts out being written in the first person, but almost immediately accidentally switches to 1st person when things start to get emotional.

[sepulchrum] animae sanctae colendae:

D[is] Manibus s[anctum] [fecit]

Furia Spes l[iberta] Sempronio Firmo

coniugi carissimo mihi. ut cognovi,

puer, puella obligate amori partier.

cum quo vixi tempori (sic) minimo, et

quo tempore vivere debuimus

a manu mala disparati sumus.

ita peto, vos Manes sanctissimae,

commendatum habeatis

meum coniugem et vellitis

huic indulgentissimi esse

horis nocturnes

ut eum videam.

et etiam me fato suadere

vellit, ut et ego possim

dulcius et celeries

aput eum pervenire.

The tomb of a sacred soul to be taken good care of:

Furia Spec [freed woman] had made this tomb,

which is sacred to the divine shades,

for Sempronius Fimus, the spouse most dear to me.

A boy, a girl, we were bound by love mutually.

With whom I lived for the briefest time,

at, in what time we should have lived together,

we were separated by an evil hand.

I beseech you, most holy shades,

may you keep safe my spouse entrusted to you,

and may you be willing to be most indulgent to him

in the night hours

in order that I will see him.

And may he allow me to persuade fate

in order that I too may be able to

more sweetly and quickly

come to where he is.

Virgil’s Aeneid

I have decided to start posting some of the best passages that we translate/read out loud in class. This one is from Book 6 of the Aeneid, and I just happened to think the wording of this particular section was gorgeous. It really is hard to convey some of the beauty of the Latin words when trying to put it into English, but I did the best that I could. If you have a copy of the Aeneid, you can try comparing my translation to yours (I haven’t done this yet, kinda scared to!).

Something to look forward to for tomorrow: I am currently translating Virgil’s Messianic Eclogue for homework (along with around 70 sentences!!AGHH!!). I will try to post it tomorrow once we have gone over it in class!

Virgil, Aeneid 6, 847-53

…excudent alii spirantia mollius aera

(credo equidem), vivos ducent de marmore vultus,

orabunt causas melius, caelique meatus

describent radio et surgentia sidera dicent:

tu regere imperio populos, Romane, memento

(haec tibi erunt artes) pacisque imponere morem,

parcere subiectis et debellare superbos.

…others will hammer out breathing bronzes more softly

(at least, I believe) they will lead the living faces out of the marble, (LOVE THAT LINE!!!!)

they will plead causes better,

and will describe with a rod the meanderings of the sky and will sing the rising stars into verse:

You Roman, remember to rule peoples by empire

(these will be your arts), impose the habit of peace,

spare the subjected and beat down the proud.

Unconventional Bowling

A few months ago, Father John asked Jesse to start heading up the youth events at our church, St. Seraphim. Tonight was the first of a few coming up in the next couple of weeks. Fr. John, Mrs. Kreesman, Jesse and I, along with about 11 teens started by going bowling and ended with pizza and fellowship at the Kreesman’s house in Lewisville.

From the left to the right: Molly (the daughter of my new boss Brian), Jesse, John, and Fr. John (without his normal cassock!).

The lane that I was supervising decided that since we weren’t bowling all that well, we would be creative instead:) It was lots of fun, especially because Mary, Fr. John’s quirky and adorable daughter, is an impromptu drama queen!

Tim Burton Wedding

Okay, so even if you’re not hooked on this show like Jesse and I are right now, I think you could still appreciate this. Jesse and I thought it was absolutely amazing, and quite possibly one of the most unique dances we’ve ever seen. They described it as what Tim Burton’s wedding would look like. See what you think.

We also really liked this one. It was meant to be like a story about a girl who has just found out that her boyfriend is going off to Iraq.

Zombie Latin Brain

So, my first course at UD has finally begun…and it is killer.

Of COURSE I wasn’t fool enough to think that this summer course would be anything like the 3 week Intermediate Spanish course I took at Biola last year…heck, that was one of the easiest things I’ve ever done! It was full of seniors like me that had already walked down the graduation aisle- over the whole college thing, only needing those last 4 credits to get our diplomas. These circumstances didn’t exactly produce anything close to resembling a group of people actually wanting to learn the Spanish language. I think the professor of the course admitted defeat somewhere in the first 5 minutes.

No, I knew that this would be harder, especially based on the fact that it is Latin 1 and 2, all in 5 weeks, taught my one of the most feared professors on UD’s campus. This guy is a character all himself, around 6’4″ and 120 lbs., complete with coffee stains on his collar because he tries to smoke and drink from a mug at the same time. He taught himself Russian just by sitting down with a book one day…so I imagine it’s hard for him to understand how we just simply don’t seem to get it.

It’s hard to describe a Mauer class. Basically, we are supposed to learn the chapters (2-3 weeks worth per night!!!) on our own and come to class with around 100 lines translated. We go over them, and he insults us. Actually, the insults are much appreciated- for some ironic reason they lighten the mood significantly. The other day he told us that our English grammar was so bad, there wasn’t a planet in the universe disgusting enough for our unworthy beings. After he’s done insulting us, he insults the Romans, or the deteriorating English culture, and then pulls out a bunch of poetry that he makes us attempt to translate highly unsuccessfully.

So, apart from being in class around 4 hours a day, I am also doing around 5 hours of homework a day. The only good news about it is that by the end of the course, I will have the equivalent of 3 high school years of Latin and will only need one more Latin course to fulfill my UD grad studies requirement. Of course, I don’t think that’s all I’m going to take. UD has a lot of language courses, classes that read and discuss in the originals Pliny, Virgil and Cicero. Despite the fact that I have to pay for any additional language courses (UD is paying for all of my classes right now) it sounds awfully appealing, and hey, I need some light at the end of the tunnel of death right now! Especially since my brain feels like it has been eaten by zombies.

Recital 2008!

Even though this Sunday was the fourth annual recital I have done since I started teaching piano lessons, it definitely felt like a first in many ways. I had over 30 students in my first recital at 3pm, and then 10 more (combined with other teachers’ students) at 4:45.

Besides the greater numbers, this was also the fanciest location I have ever done a recital at. Melodie rented out this beautiful old auditorium in Bedford. It is actually a historical landmark, the first school ever built in Bedford, restored into a great place for weddings, banquets and recitals. There was even a museum in the back!

Here is a picture of just my in-home lesson students:

One of my youngest students Mattie (4 years old!) playing:

Some of my favorites…

This is 5 year old Michelle playing “Musette” by Bach

7 year old Avery playing “Beauty and the Beast”. She’s only been playing for 6 months!

Yet again, Jenny came to support me. Here she is shaking the rust off of her old piano playing skills:

Last but not least, I thought I’d post the requested video clip of my lovely garden musical last month:) You can’t see the little 2-5 year olds, just picture about 150 of them there in front.

And…who could forget the Weed Song…