Friday, May 18, 2018

Reading Period 27: May 18-24: Metamorphoses

Long Read: 

Ovid's Metamorphoses, books 12-15

Creative Assignment:

Now that you've had a chance to try out your skits in front of an audience, revise one of your skits so that it could be staged by any group of four players. Include stage directions, instructions for costumes and props, and turn out a real finished product.

Writing Assignment: 

Time to fight back! It's your turn to give me feedback on the class. Include favorite and least favorite assignments, projects, activities, readings, and suggestions for next time I teach Ancient Literature to another class of unsuspecting youths. :) You can be as specific or philosophical as you like. Do you feel it was utterly useless to memorize "Ode to Man" from Antigone? Should we have painted more portraits? Feel free to use your rhetorical skills to challenge the very foundations of education itself.


Rank the following works from most interesting (1) to least interesting (8). Think about which were the most worthwhile to read, even if you might not have found them easy to read. The one that gets the worst reviews will be burned from the syllabus for next time, in your honor.

Oedipus Rex
The Iliad
The Odyssey
The Frogs
The Aeneid

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Reading Period 26: May 11-17: Metamorphoses

Æsacus, buddy, is that you?
Long Read: 

Metamorphoses: Books 9-11


Dryden's translation of the myth of Pygmalion from Metamorphoses

Dryden's translation of the myth of Æsacus from Metamorphoses

Creative Assignment:

Craft a helpful sign to accompany your theatrical performance for the elementary kids! Your sign should convey the name of the myth you are presenting, clearly legible on the posterboard you were given. Be colorful, be creative, but remember that the primary function is to help the children learn about the myth.


Finalize your plan for your skit with your team. Be ready to recite when appropriate or improv when possible. Be funny, be creative, be interesting, but deliver a message that helps the children understand the characters and story. The performance is Tuesday at 9:40.

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, Pieter Bruegel the Elder
Writing Assignment:

AP Option: Take the 2013 practice exam and get it to me by Monday morning, so I can heroically grade the essays and get them back to you on Tuesday. Go over the multiple choice on your own with the answer key.

Non-AP Option: Write a 500 word essay in which you persuade someone to make a personal change. This could be to quit smoking, to earn a degree, to change jobs, to move to a new country. You can direct it to a specific person, a group, or an imagined person. Use all of your persuasive powers and the rhetorical strategies we've been working on. Your rhetoric should ask them to define themselves in a new way, and evoke an emotion in your reader. This will be the last real essay you write for this class, so bring all your powers to bear on the topic.


In lieu of a quiz this week, two tasks:

1. Study Arma Virumque Cano! You will be reciting this on Thursday, May 17, for rewards and points.
2. Paper challenge! Get limbered up to go to battle with the middle schoolers.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Reading Period 25: April 27 - May 3: Metamorphoses

Medea's back, y'all.
Long Read:

Metamorphoses by Ovid, books 6-8


Ode IV, 7: Diffugere Nives
by Horace
translation by Samuel Johnson

The snow dissolv’d no more is seen,
The fields, and woods, behold, are green,
The changing year renews the plain,
The rivers know their banks again,
Hippolytus unjustly slain
Diana calls to life in vain,
Nor can the might of Theseus rend
The chains of hell that hold his friend.

Od IV, 7: Diffugere Nives
by Horace
translation by A.E. Housman

The snows are fled away, leaves on the shaws
And grasses in the mead renew their birth,
The river to the river-bed withdraws,
And altered is the fashion of the earth. 
The Nymphs and Graces three put off their fear
And unapparelled in the woodland play.
The swift hour and the brief prime of the year
Say to the soul, Thou wast not born for aye. 
Thaw follows frost; hard on the heel of spring
Treads summer sure to die, for hard on hers
Comes autumn with his apples scattering;
Then back to wintertide, when nothing stirs. 
But oh, whate'er the sky-led seasons mar,
Moon upon moon rebuilds it with her beams;
Come we where Tullus and where Ancus are
And good Aeneas, we are dust and dreams. 
Torquatus, if the gods in heaven shall add
The morrow to the day, what tongue has told?
Feast then thy heart, for what thy heart has had
The fingers of no heir will ever hold. 
When thou descendest once the shades among,
The stern assize and equal judgment o'er,
Not thy long lineage nor thy golden tongue,
No, nor thy righteousness, shall friend thee more. 
Night holds Hippolytus the pure of stain,
Diana steads him nothing, he must stay;
And Theseus leaves Pirithous in the chain
The love of comrades cannot take away.

What I say, Medea IS BACK. 
Creative Assignment:

Write a three minute script for four characters, for two of the three stories your group chose for the Metamorphoses skit festival. If your group has five people, make it for five characters. Some of the stories lend themselves obviously to two or three characters, so you'll need to add parts here and there -- someone can be a vase or a horse or something. You can rotate who plays the "extra" parts across the three plays. Your skit must NOT be longer than three minutes! Bring your scripts, printed on paper to class on Thursday. You will be collaborating on writing this project, but one person should be "lead" writer for each skit.


Submit your poem that you wrote last week to the poetry contest, using the form!

Writing Assignment:

In your two-person debate team, decide who will give the opening statement and who will give the closing statement. Your writing assignment this week is to write that opening or closing. Bring this printed document to class on Thursday so you can collaborate.


Book 7 of Metamorphoses is particularly of interest to us because we know Medea so well from the play by Euripedes. Ovid was a fan, and in fact wrote his own tragic play called Medea, which is unfortunately lost. For your quiz this week, first read this famous invocation, which Medea makes in Book 7 and which Shakespeare honored (plagiarized) in Prospero's "this rough magic" speech in The Tempest.


Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes, and groves,
And ye that on the sands with printless foot
Do chase the ebbing Neptune and do fly him
When he comes back; you demi-puppets that
By moonshine do the green sour ringlets make,
Whereof the ewe not bites; and you whose pastime
Is to make midnight mushrooms, that rejoice
To hear the solemn curfew; by whose aid,
Weak masters though ye be, I have bedimmed
The noontide sun, called forth the mutinous winds,
And ’twixt the green sea and the azured vault
Set roaring war—to th' dread rattling thunder
Have I given fire, and rifted Jove’s stout oak
With his own bolt;

Ovid (from a 1567 translation):

Ye Ayres and windes: ye Elves of Hilles, of Brookes, of Woods alone,
Of standing Lakes, and of the Night approche ye everychone.
Through helpe of whom (the crooked bankes much wondring at the thing)
I have compelled streames to run cleane backward to their spring.
By charmes I make the calme Seas rough, and make the rough Seas plaine,
And cover all the Skie with Cloudes and chase them thence againe.
By charmes I raise and lay the windes, and burst the Vipers jaw.
And from the bowels of the Earth both stones and trees doe draw.
Whole woods and Forestes I remove: I make the Mountaines shake,
And even the Earth it selfe to grone and fearfully to quake.
I call up dead men from their graves: and thee lightsome Moone
I darken oft, though beaten brasse abate thy perill soone.
Our Sorcerie dimmes the Morning faire, and darkes the Sun at Noone.

Now answer these questions about Medea in book 7:

1. What does Jason want from King Aeëtes?
2. What are the three tasks that the king lays out for him?
3. How does Jason cleverly deal with the warriors that sprung up from the teeth?
4. How does Jason cleverly deal with the dragon that protects the golden fleece?
5. What mythical creatures pull Medea's totally awesome chariot?
6. Describe Medea's treatment procedure for Aeson's potion of youth.
7. How does Medea prove to Pelias' daughters that she can indeed make people young?
8. Who actually kills Pelias?
9. What poison does Medea use to try and poison Theseus?
10. Why does it not work?

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Reading Period 24: April 20-26: Metamorphoses

Apollo and Daphne. Consent?
Long Read:

Metamorphoses by Ovid, books 3-5

Due Dates:

Writing assignment: Tuesday in class.
Quiz: Wednesday, 7pm
Creative assignments: Thursday in class.

Creative Assignments:

You have your postcards. Now think creatively about where you might want to send them. Will you send them to members of student organizations, cultural groups, religious leaders, media people, friends and family, writers and poets, academics, librarians, or? Don't use your name unless you personally know the person you're writing to. Make sure you're writing legibly, include the Facebook address for the event, and have an address to use that is not a home address (unless you know the person). Access the shared document

AND <--- note, this is AND not OR

Do some research on poetry from the travel banned countries and Mexico. Think creatively about how you might suitable work that we can read from these places, and bring in three leads. Maybe you found the name of a translator who has worked on poetry from Venezuela. Maybe you found a web site with ancient myths from Chad. Perhaps you checked a book out of the library. You will need to add three leads to the shared document. Include as much information as you can on your leads. Access the shared document: Poetry Knows No Boundaries:  Literature Selection Scratchpad and create a section for yourself. Don't delete other people's work accidentally!

AND <--- another AND, also not an OR

Write a poem for the Poetry Knows No Boundaries poetry contest. We will be publishing these, without names if you like, on the event site to generate interest in the contest. Othering of any type is your topic. Do your very best.

By our old pal John Waterhouse
Writing Assignments:

Your final draft is due on Tuesday! My friends, here is what you need in your two pocket folder:

1. Your paper idea / topic that I marked up.
2. Your outline that I marked up.
3. Your rough draft that I marked up.
4. Your peer-edited rough draft that your partner marked up.
5. Your final draft, in 11 or 12 point, with approximately 1 inch margins, double or 1.5 spaced, with a header on the top left or right that includes your name, the date, the assignment, and the class.

If you are missing something, you can print it off again. If your partner failed to sign their peer editing work, you can help them out by doing that. If we have 100% compliance on people turning in final drafts with all the materials in folders, we will not write a third paper (unless we are prepping for the AP exam.)

AP Lang: 

Go to the exam practice section of the College Board web site for AP Language and Composition. Click on the scoring guidelines for 2014 and specifically read the scoring guidelines for question 3. Then click on the link Free Response Questions, and write an essay for question 3, which is about teaching creativity. Give yourself 40 minutes and write in longhand using a pen.


For this week's quiz, take a look at this list of names of characters from books 1-5 of Metamorphoses. Pretend you have a friend who fancies him or herself creative and interesting, and wants to name his or her baby after one of these characters. For each name, give a reason why it would be a good baby name or a terrible baby name.

1. Cadmus
2. Echo
3. Narcissus
4. Minerva
5. Prosperina
6. Perseus
7. Callisto
8. Phaeton
9. Pyramus
10. Thisbe
11. Hermaphroditus
12. Andromeda

BONUS: Of all the characters we have read about this year, which name would you take for yourself? And why?

Friday, April 13, 2018

Reading Period 23: April 13 - 19: Metamorphoses

Long Read: 

Metamorphoses by Ovid, books 1 and 2.


"The Creation" by James Weldon Johnson

From Genesis, chapter 1 of the Holy Bible (King James Version)
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

Creative Assignments:

One of the most ambitious and impossible acts of the imagination is to conceive of the nothingness that would have been before any act of creation of the world. Having read "The Creation" and the beginning of Genesis, and the beginning of the Metamorphoses, take a whack at describing in a poem, with metaphor or simile, or with sensory description, or with pure philosophy, the void that predated creation in a mythology where creation was a moment in time. Your poem can be as long or as short as you like.


Find a lump of clay. Playdough is fine, or terracotta clay, or plasticine, whatever. Form your clay into a rock, such as Pyrrha would have thrown over her shoulder as the oracle instructed her. Take a picture. Now form it into a human shape, taking three or four pictures along the way, from the same angle in the same location. Post your series of photographs. You might even create an animation of the series, so that it looks like the rock is transforming into a human.

Writing Assignment:

Using ALL of the logical fallacies we studied in class, write an essay taking either side of the claim you have chosen for the team debate. You MUST label the fallacies, 1-12, either within the text of your essays with numbers in parentheses, or with a pencil after you print it out. Here's the list:

1. Slippery Slope
2. Hasty Generalization
3. Post hoc ergo propter hoc
4. Genetic Fallacy
5. Begging the Claim
6. Circular Argument
7. Either/or
8. Ad hominem
9. Ad populum/Bandwagon Appeal
10. Red Herring
11. Straw Man
12. Moral Equivalence

AP Lang: Finish the multiple choice sections in practice test C in the green book, taking 12 minutes for each reading with its associated questions. You can go through and look at the answers given in the answer key, and mark any problematic ones as well as any easy ones. We will discuss the answers in class.


1. Which god created the world?
2. Why did Jove not use his thunderbolts to destroy the wicked world?
3. Why were Deucalion and Pyrrha the only two people on earth?
4. What metamorphosis occurs as a result of Apollo's (Phoebus') obsessive love?
5. What metamorphosis did Jove create to hide his misdeeds from Juno?
6. Why was Argus an awesome guardian for Io and how does Mercury get him to fall asleep?
7. Why does Phaethon go to the palace of the sun and what gift does he ask from Apollo?
8. List one effect of Phaethon dropping the reins.
9. What metamorphosis results from the death of Phaethon?
10. What metamorphosis does Juno force on Callisto and why?

Friday, April 6, 2018

Reading Period 22: April 6-12: The Aeneid

Long Read:

The Aeneid by Virgil, Books 10-12


"Falling Asleep Over The Aeneid" by Robert Lowell

Creative Assignments:

Write your own "Falling Asleep Over The Aeneid" poem. You must give details from the scene in real life at the beginning and the end, like Lowell's yellowhammers and the great-aunt. In the middle, give as garbled a dreamlike confusion of images and characters from The Aeneid as you can. Put yourself in the scene, as Lowell does, and include dialogue, action, imagery, and emotions. You do not have to use the same rhyme scheme as the original poem, but you could!


Take a look at these four pieces of art, inspired by The Aeneid. Choose one, and create your own imitation or copy of it, in any medium. Please only choose this one if you're going to take a serious run at creating art and thinking about the elements and style of each of these pieces.

The Trojan Women Setting Fire to the Fleet by Claude Lorrain, French, painting in Rome, 1643

Aeneas Fleeing Troy with Anchises, Creusa, and Ascanius by an anonymous enameler, France, 1530

Venus Giving Arms to Aeneas by Jean Cormu, France, 1704

The Dream of Aeneas by Salvator Rosa, Italy, 1660 (This is where the Tiber speaks to Aeneas)

Writing Assignment:

The rough draft of your argument paper is due on Tuesday. Bring two copies -- one for me and one for peer editing.


1. What important decision does Jupiter make about the upcoming battle?
2. He's worn out with two of his godwomenfolk fighting. Who?
3. Who kills Pallas, and what does he take as a prize?
4. How does Juno manage to save her favorite guy from Aeneas?
5. How are the Latins like the Greeks?
6. How are the Latins UNLIKE the Greeks?
7. Who is Camilla and why is she majestically awesome? (AND WHY DID THE MUPPETS NAME A CHICKEN AFTER HER?)
8. What two guys are going to duel in Book 12?
9. What will be decided by the duel?
10. Why did Aeneas take an arrow to the knee?
11. When Juno finally gives up her hatred for Aeneas, what does she want as a compromise?
12. What prevents Aeneas from being merciful in the end?

Friday, March 23, 2018

Reading Period 21: March 23-29: The Aeneid

Long Read:

The Aeneid of Virgil, books 7-9

Creative Assignments:

Let's work on your memorization project! First, listen to the pronunciation in the video. Then pursue one of the options below it.

Arma virumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab oris
Italiam, fato profugus, Laviniaque venit
litora, multum ille et terris iactatus et alto
vi superum saevae memorem Iunonis ob iram;
multa quoque et bello passus, dum conderet urbem,         
inferretque deos Latio, genus unde Latinum,
Albanique patres, atque altae moenia Romae.

Musa, mihi causas memora, quo numine laeso,
quidve dolens, regina deum tot volvere casus
insignem pietate virum, tot adire labores             
impulerit. Tantaene animis caelestibus irae?

Option 1:
Write these lines out in three different ways. One might be pencil and paper. One might be marker and cardboard. One might be invisible ink. Maybe on a white board. Maybe on a mirror with a whiteboard marker. Maybe you will write very very tiny on the back of a postage stamp. It's up to you. Upload images of your three different versions in writing.


Option 2:
Choose three different locations to record yourself saying the lines out loud. Maybe once standing on the porch at midnight, one lying in the crawl space, one sitting at your desk, one in a moving vehicle. Don't worry about perfect pronunciation or memorization -- just show us evidence that you've pronounced the words in three different locations.

Writing Assignments:

Your outline for your argument paper (see last week's assignment) will be due on Tuesday (March 27) and your rough draft for your argument paper will be due on Thursday (March 29).

AP Language and Composition:

Please read "Discourse Four" by Renee Descartes in your World of Ideas anthology.


1. What do the Trojans hear when they're floating past the island of Circe?
2. What prophecy has been given to Latinus?
3. How does Allecto get into the mind of Amata, Latinus' wife? Does she turn Dionysian or Apollonian?
4. How does Allecto mess with Turnus, leader of the Rutulians?
5. What ally does Aeneas find to help him fight the Latins?
6. How does Vulcan decorate Aeneas' cool new shield?
7. How does the Trojan fleet escape being burned up by Turnus and his fellas?
8. What two Trojans go out on a cool Diomedes-and-Odysseus-like mission to kill some Latins, and how does that work out for them?
9. What Latin hero claims to be the new Achilles?
10. How does Turnus escape, when the Trojans have driven him back to the banks of the Tiber?