On Sunday, February 24, 2013, Ryan Justus, Alexander Sefton, Sam Haden, and James Theuer (see photo) accompanied Dr. Janice Siegel on a trip to Washington D.C. to see a play based on the work of the Roman poet Ovid. Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses presents a number of episodes from Ovid’s magnum opus of the same name: Orpheus and Eurydice (along with Rilke’s treatment of the same myth), Cinyras and Myrrha, Pomona and Vertumnus, Midas and the Golden Touch, Cupid and Psyche (which is from Apuleius’ Metamorphoses, not Ovid’s), Phaethon, Erysichthon, and Baucis and Philemon. All these tales somehow grapple with the themes of grief and loss. This production at the Arena Stage presented these tales light-heartedly but did not forfeit any of their intrinsic meaning. It was a remarkable live theater experience.
On Wednesday March 21, 2012, Hampden-Sydney’s Beta Theta chapter of Eta Sigma Phi, the national Classics Honor Society, held its annual induction ceremony, and students from HSC, Sweet Briar, and Randolph College came together to celebrate our appreciation of the classical tradition and our successful completion of the entrance exam. The exam explored the knowledge of the Greek and Roman pantheons, the literature of Homer and Virgil, the leaders of the Roman Empire, and the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The Hampden-Sydney Classics Department is proud to announce the following students as the newest inductees into our Beta Theta chapter here at HSC:
Drake Bishop, Connor Crowley, Thomas Duhamel, Zachary Fox, Jordan Hock, Brian Talbert, and Julian Yates.
The early evening event featured a lovely dinner hosted by Randolph College in Lynchburg with presentations by Dr. Dennis Stevens (Hampden-Sydney’s incoming Dean of Faculty, and Randolph College’s outgoing Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College), and by Dr. Bryce Walker of the Sweet Briar College Classics Department. We would like to thank our hosts and speakers for their generosity, and our Classics Department here at HSC for supporting our students in the study of the Classics. If you are interested in learning more about Eta Sigma Phi and how to become a member, contact Dr. Daniella Widdows (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dr. Janice Siegel (email@example.com) for more information.
The spirit of competition was alive this weekend at HSC as the Second Annual Classical Legacy Certamen was held Saturday morning, February 4, 2012. Students from a variety of different majors, freshmen to seniors, went head-to-head, testing their mettle against a series of questions and squaring off to determine which team could best navigate the etymological, mythological, and philological obstacles set before them. Contestants were asked about a wide range of subjects, including the origin of the Pactolus River’s golden sand (the result of King Midas’ rinsed hands), the beauty that caused an ancient international war in Troy (Helen), and the original four elements according to Empedocles (earth, air, fire, and water).
The Classics Department would like to thank all current students who participated in the event, including Thomas Calderwood, Thomas Browne, Thomas Duhamel, Zach Fox, Marcus Pendergrass, Samuel Haden, Clifton Hudson, Lewis Bell, Jordan Hock, Matt Buchanan, and Parker Dunaway. Also, we would like to thank two returning alumni – and former Certamen champions – who took part in the festivities as special guest competitors (Dr. Siegel would especially like to thank them for their good sportsmanship even after they realized that the deck was stacked against them! It was great to see them!). After the dust settled, the members of Team Wolverine (Lewis Bell, Parker Dunaway, Matt Buchanan, and Jordan Hock) walked away with the cash awards as winners of Hampden-Sydney College Classics Department’s Second Annual Classical Legacy Certamen.
Everyone on the student and alumni teams (guests April and Elizabeth teamed up with Tal and Will) received a new book of their choice. Thanks to Ron Pullins from Focus Publishing and Hampden-Sydney’s own chapter of Eta Sigma Phi for providing those prizes, and thanks to the Lectures and Programs Committee for their generosity and to Dining Services for the yummy reception. Last but not least, thanks also go to Dr. Daniella Widdows, Dr. Janice Siegel, Dr. James Arieti, and Dr. Richard McClintock, without whom this event would not have been possible.
Drs. Siegel and Widdows: Participants in the Second Annual
Classics Trivia is serious business Classical Legacy Certamen at HSC
Alumni and 2011 Certamen Champions
Will Riggenbach and Tal Covington
Prizes and certificates for participating
Classics Department Event
Thursday January 26, 4:30 in the Chairman’s Room, Settle Hall
A Presentation by Professor Andrew S. Becker, Virginia Tech
In this talk Dr. Andrew S. Becker (Virginia Tech) will explore a variety of (relatively) modern poems & perspectives (from literature, anthropology, and linguistics) that we can use for thinking about ancient Greece and Rome, and then explore ways of using our study of these ancient literatures as “equipment for living.”
In his presentation, he will draw on a wide variety of authors such as philosophers José Ortega y Gasset and Ludwig Wittgenstein, Kenneth Burke (literary and cultural theorist) Wendy Steiner (art historian), Toni Morrison (novelist), George Miller (psychologist), Háj Ross (linguist), and poets Ellen Hinsey, Kenneth Koch, W.H. Auden, Donald Hall, Walt Whitman, Wallace Stevens, Louis MacNeice, and Eavan Boland to show us that the study (and just plain reading!) of classical poetry can enrich our lives today!
Dr. Becker has won several awards for teaching and undergraduate advising at Virginia Tech. He has published a book on Homer’s Iliad, as well as articles on Plato, Vergil, ancient rhetoric, and several on the rhythm and meter of Latin poems. He is president of the Classical Association of Virginia, and of the national organization called the Society for the Oral Reading of Greek and Latin Literature. He and his wife, Dr. Trudy Harrington Becker, also a Classicist, lead study-abroad courses to southern Switzerland and Rome in the summers.
On Sunday November 6, students in Dr. Siegel’s freshman honors seminar, Metamorphosis in Literature and Film, attended a concert event sponsored by Longwood University: excerpts from Henry Purcell’s opera entitled Dido and Aeneas. Here they are outside the Farmville United Methodist church, where the event was held.
This summer, I was awarded the generous Department of Classics Study Abroad Scholarship from Hampden-Sydney’s Classics Department and I would like to thank everyone who made this possible. The study trip I chose to take was run by the Vergilian Society and focused on the Greek influences on early Rome, along the Bay of Naples. I anxiously awaited my trip and could barely contain my excitement the night before my flight. This would be my first time overseas and I could not believe how lucky I was to receive this scholarship. There were some flight complications that delayed my arrival to Rome, but all of my airport frustrations were relieved upon reaching the train station and riding into Rome.
The trip greatly surpassed my wildest expectations. The other people in the program were amazing and enhanced my fun tremendously. While I loved everything (apart from having an allergic reaction to something—I’m not sure what—that had me covered in itchy hives for a few days), there are a few things that I will never forget. The first thing that stuck into my mind was my visit to Pompeii. I had been hearing about Pompeii for years and had this picture in mind of how it would look and what it would be like. My mind was blown within the first fifteen minutes. I must admit, when I thought of ancient Rome or Greece, I almost completely neglected the idea that people lived there and that cities had to support and feed citizens. I just got lost in wandering the city and just reveling in the sheer size of it, staring at the ancient grafitti, listing to people in the program debate about the purpose of this and the use of that. The entire field of Classical studies came alive for me that day.
One of the other important things that I learned at Pompeii is the fact that the Italians have very lax security around their archaeological sites. (Although I certainly wasn’t going around carving my initials into the walls of villas or something destructive!). At almost every site, there was some section that was closed off by some sort of crudely constructed barrier. I quickly gained the reputation of the guy you would go get to explore any easily scaled barrier, dark tunnel, or anything that looked remotely cool. With my trusty headlamp and disposable clothes, I did things that I never even thought about doing: crawling through aqueducts, sitting in the stands of an amphitheater, and ending up on some sort of nude beach for people over 60. I have always been the explorer type, but the extent of my curiosity expanded exponentially while I was in Italy.
Everything on the trip was great and I’ll never forget it, but the most memorable and impactful moment was one of the last nights of the program. We were staying at the Villa Vergiliana in southern Italy (http://vergil.clarku.edu/villa.htm) and the majority of the people in the program were all on the roof relaxing. I was the only person on the trip who hadn’t taught Classics at some point in his life so I decided to ask the people on the rooftop why they thought it was important to study Classics. What followed was a conversation that lasted about three hours and it made me positive that a career in Classics was the right path for me.
Lewis Bell ‘13
The Department of Classics Study-Abroad Scholarship was established in 1999 by Dr. C. Wayne Tucker and his brother, Larry C. Tucker, with additional contributions from other friends and alumni of the College. Hampden-Sydney College awards the scholarship to students in the Department of Classics to participate in programs conducted in Italy, Greece, and other countries with considerable ancient ruins. Preference is first given to students of the Greek and/or Latin languages and then to students of English language courses on ancient topics, such as ancient history and Classical Studies. Recipients are selected by the faculty members of the Department of Classics in consultation with the Director of International Studies. Contact Dr. Siegel (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.