Protected: LATN 403 Spr 20: Agricola chap. 24

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Posted in Cartoons, Classics, Education, England, Ireland, Language & Etymology, Military, Music, Nautical, Rome, Scotland, Slavery | Enter your password to view comments.

Notes from the Corona Diary: Facemasks

So, it is now suggested by the CDC hat all Americans wear facemasks, at least in areas where social distancing is not possible. Trump, of course, won’t do it, as the NYT reports:

“With the masks, it is going to be really a voluntary thing,” the president said at the beginning of the daily coronavirus briefing at the White House. “You can do it. You don’t have to do it. I am choosing not to do it. But some people may want to do it, and that’s OK. It may be good. Probably will — they’re making a recommendation. It’s only a recommendation, it’s voluntary.”

“Wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens — I don’t know,” he added. “Somehow, I don’t see it for myself.”

Lots of information has appeared online about how to sew your own mask. “Oh great,” says Kelly. “I don’t know how to sew. When I had to sew a name on to my uniform at McDonald’s as a teenager, I ended up sewing the front of the uniform to the back.” She got on Facebook and offered to barter. “Will bake for masks.” Quite a few responses to that!

Anyway, one of the first to respond was Linda at about 10 PM. Kelly promised her bagels and Linda was ecstatic– who wouldn’t be? Fresh bagels are wonderful. In fact, Linda delivered the masks right away. “I left them in your mailbox,” she emailed. Great, we thought, we’ll pick them up in the morning.

The morning came, we got the leashes on the dogs, and headed out. Kelly opened the mailbox. No masks! But there was a nice little note from the mail carrier. “THANK YOU!” it said.

Not sure how we feel about that. Glad at least one member of the federal government is covered.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Protected: Myth Spr 20: House of Cadmus

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Posted in Animals, Cartoons, Classics, England, Film, Music, Mythology, Rome, Sewanee, Slavery, Uncategorized | Enter your password to view comments.

Notes from the Corona Diary: Facemasks on the dogwalk


Here I am with my son out dog-walking on April 5th, 2020. As you will see, we are wearing facemasks, made for us by friends (mine has corkscrews on it, as telling a symbol of these days as the mask itself).

Is it overkill? Do we need to be wearing masks at this point if we are strolling out in the open air not near anybody? A friend noted, “I’ve read that they should be worn when shopping and in unavoidable proximity to people, but not for exercise outside when keeping distance.” I responded, “It’s interesting, isn’t it, how these things have gone? You think something is an unnecessary overreaction and, a few days later, it’s the new normal. I’m getting ahead of the trend.”

Really, we just wanted to try them out. They were new, and fashionable even. Would others have them on? Would we get odd looks?  I guess we wanted to get the feeling of whether or not this would be greeted as strange. We only came across one other person while we were walking–she had no mask on, but after she glanced over at us, she didn’t give us a second look.

Yeah, I guess this is normal.

Postscript. A piece in the Boston Globe (April 5) by Aaron Thomas called “Why I don’t feel safe wearing a face mask” adds a wrinkle I had not considered. Its subtitle, “I’m a Black man living in this world. I want to stay alive, but I also want to stay alive.” It’s depressing to know he is right. Some of us will get to have the privilege of wearing the mask based on our race.


Posted in Dogs, Family, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Protected: Myth Spr 20: Hippolytus

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Posted in Animals, Dogs, Drama, Language & Etymology, Mythology, Sports & Games, Uncategorized | Enter your password to view comments.

Protected: LATN 403 Spr 20: Agricola chap. 2 & 3

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Posted in Uncategorized | Enter your password to view comments.

LATN 403 Spr 20: Intro to Agricola & chap. 1

This blogcast on Tacitus’s Agricola is divided into three section. Please scroll down and listen to the audio recordings under each section.

  1. Brief Introduction to Tacitus 
  2. Life of Agricola Up to Governorship of Britain
  3. Preface to the Agricola


Some Resources 

You may want to bookmark these


OK, but before we get started though, we just need to wrap up the whole Nero and the Christian martyrs thing– this video should this clear everything up.


1. Brief Introduction to Tacitus and Agricola

Names and phrases mentioned in the audio:

  • Publius Cornelius Tacitus (56 – 120 AD)
  • Annals, Histories, Germania, Dialogus de Oratoribus
  • Gnaeus Julius Agricola
  • 69 AD: Year of the Four Emperors (Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian)
  • Britannia
  • brevity
  • epigram (epigrammatic)
  • irony
  • Histories 1. 49, on Galba: capax imperii nisi imperasset

A useful review of Tacitus’s life and literary contribution is found on
More about Tacitus’s style can be read at this link.


2. Life of Agricola Up to Governorship of Britain

Please read chapters 4-9 of Tacitus’s Agricola before listening to this audio

  • Forum Julii (modern Fréjus, on the French Riviera)
  • Suetonius Paulinus
  • Boudicca (Boadicaea)
  • Salvius Titianus
  • 69 AD: Year of the Four Emperors (Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian)
  • tribunate, consulship, plebeian, patrician
  • Chap. 5.3:  Intravitque animum militaris gloriae cupido, ingrata temporibus quibus sinistra erga eminentis interpretatio nec minus periculum ex magna fama quam ex mala.
  • Chap. 6.3:   … tribunatus annum quiete et otio transiit, gnarus sub Nerone temporum, quibus inertia pro sapientia fuit.

Modern statues of Suetonius Paulinus, Julius Agricola, and other Roman governors (and me)        at the Roman bath complex in Bath, England. Summer, 2018.

III. The Preface (Agricola chap. 1)

Please look over Agricola 1.1 & 1.4 before listening to the audio

Agricola 1.1

  • perfect passive participle, used as a substantive (noun)
  • objective genitive
  • apposition

Clarorum virorum facta moresque posteris tradere, antiquitus usitatum, ne nostris quidem temporibus quamquam incuriosa suorum aetas omisit, quotiens magna aliqua ac nobilis virtus vicit ac supergressa est vitium parvis magnisque civitatibus commune, ignorantiam recti et invidiam.


True of Tacitus, as well!

Agricola, 1.2-3  

And just as, in our predecessors’ times, the age was more favourable and open to actions worth recording, so distinguished men of ability were led to produce those records of virtue, not to curry favour or from ambition, but for the reward of a good conscience. Many indeed considered it rather a matter of self-respect than arrogance to recount their own lives, and a Rutilius Rufus or an Aemilius Scaurus could do so without scepticism or disparagement; virtue indeed being most esteemed in those ages which give birth to it most readily.

Agricola 1.4

  • future active participle
  • dative of reference
  • past contrary-to-fact condition (pluperfect subjunctive)

At nunc narraturo mihi vitam defuncti hominis venia opus fuit, quam non petissem incusaturus: tam saeva et infesta virtutibus tempora.


Next Blogcast: Agricola, Chapters 2-3 with Assignment #A, to be posted soon


Just For Fun:

If you are interested to know more about Boudicca’s famous rebellion, put down by Suetonius Paulinus while Agricola was on his staff, you can watch this documentary



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Protected: LATN 403 Spr 20: Agricola chap. 21

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Posted in Classics, England, Film, Language & Etymology, Military, Rome, Sewanee, Slavery, Time | Enter your password to view comments.

Protected: Private: Myth Spr 20: Theseus

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Posted in Astronomical, Classics, Music, Mythology, Nautical, Poetry, Sewanee, Tennessee, Uncategorized | Enter your password to view comments.

Notes from the Corona Diary: goobye, Ronnie Mac

Tonight, on the advice of friends, we watched Knives Out with the boys. It’s a fun movie, a good old-fashioned murder mystery with twists and turns, the sort of things you smile at the whole time. Sitting with the boys in our TV room, it felt like old times. But it’s not old times.

Earlier in the day, my friend Keri called me. She runs Octo π, the pizza restaurant nearby, which had been IvyWild before that. Pursuant to the governor’s orders, they were moving to a strictly take-out model, and she had talked with my sons about delivering for her. She’d provide glove and masks, and all that. But she was calling to say a friend of her son, and someone who’d been to my house before, was now likely exposed to the coronavirus. “He has a 102 degree temperature, and has not tested positive for flu,” she said. He’s been over her house several times recently. Hmmm, said I, perhaps the boys shouldn’t hang out. But I wasn’t connecting the dots beyond this, as she was.

About 5 PM today, Keri wrote on Facebook,

After much agonizing consideration I have decided to shut down Octo π. We will not be implementing the Margheritas & Margaritas delivery plan as I had hoped. I found out this morning that two family friends have recently shown potential C19 symptoms. They have both been in contact with my family several times over the past two weeks. One of them has tested negative for the flu and will not know their C19 test results for another week. The other has family that recently returned from a country where one of the worst epicenters for the virus currently rages. It is not likely that they have the virus, but in light of the devastating impact this virus has had on all of our lives, the only responsible thing to do is to assume that I have been exposed until further information comes to prove otherwise. No current plan of action for Octo π can work without my deep involvement. I feel that the risk to you, your families, and my staff is not worth whatever advantages there are to staying open.

Our current financial situation dictates that there can be no recovery from this shut down. This coming May would have marked our tenth year of business in this beautiful community. It has always been a struggle, but it has always been worth every second. I am so profoundly grateful to this town for literally supporting me and my family as I followed my dreams and pursued the work that I love so very much. Few people have that opportunity in life.

Thank you. Keri

The enormity of what this means is only dawning on me, but as usual, Kelly had it all figured out. We finished up the movie and came downstairs, and then she said out loud  “For just a moment, I forgot we’re experiencing a world-wide pandemic that just drove my friend Keri out of business.” She ended up putting that on Facebook.

Restaurants are a tough thing to run in this town. The clientele is heterogenous: upper middle class snobs like myself affiliated with the university, and folks with less disposable cash who still like a fancy meal now and then. Keri has always managed to meet the tastes of both. She and I spent a lot of time together a decade ago, when both her kids and mine were small– I was on sabbatical, and she was looking to realize her dream of opening a restaurant. I was lucky enough to be with her when she looked at the old laundromat and said, You know, this place has a lot of charm. I couldn’t see it, but she could, and through her eyes, many others did too as they sat at her tables and had one delicious meal after another at them. I remember her fixing the place up, and how her daughter Ivy couldn’t pronounce restaurant or laundromat and called the place her mom made our the Ronnie Mac.

Given the circumstances, it’s the right decision to close it down. Her  farewell keeps with the graciousness Keri has always shown. Goodbye, Ronnie Mac. We all deserved many more year with you. This is a rotten way to go out, and my heart is very heavy this evening.


Octo Pi open, among its last nights. March 19, 2020

Posted in Family, Sewanee, Time | Leave a comment