Summer of Classics 2013: The Start of August


This past week has been rather quiet, especially compared to my hectic and intense week in Berlin!  Having said that, I’ve been quite busy volunteering at Liverpool World Museum, resizing photographs of Greek painted pottery ready to be uploaded to the museum database system, and making notes of artefacts in need of photographs in preparation for a catalogue of the museum’s Etruscan collection.  I also had a bit of a browse through the museum shop and picked up a book on the Japanese collections of the National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside, which should make for very interesting reading, since my knowledge of Japanese history leaves a lot to be desired!  In addition to my volunteering duties, I've been filling up my little notebook with ideas, and doing some research and reading in the hope of posting some of them on here soon!

I’ve decided that, since the arrival of the month of August signifies a rough halfway point of the summer vacation, I ought to do a little bit of academic work, to prevent my brain from falling out.  Also, a bit of Greek grammar revision never hurt anybody.  While rummaging through one of the bookcases in the study, I came across a copy of The Oxford Book of Latin Verse.  In the past, I preferred translating Latin prose rather than poetry, as it seemed so much more natural and logical, despite the fact that I’d always enjoyed analysing the composition and embellishments of verse literature, often coming up with theories (sometimes wild ones!) regarding the intentions behind particular uses of imagery and literary devices.  The rediscovery of my copy of The Oxford Book of Latin Verse has inspired me to engage in a spot of language practice, since in my brief flick through its pages, I found several pieces by Lucretius I had read On the Nature of Things in preparation for university applications and studied it this year as part of a Roman Philosophy module.  I found that his beautiful and compelling style of writing made philosophy, a topic I steered clear of as a young teenager through fear of it being ‘dry and dull’, appealing and intriguing.  Clearly his aim of using poetry as a ‘honey lined cup’ to make philosophical principles accessible and pleasing to the reader was accomplished! I remember being particularly drawn towards his vivid descriptions of the movements and nature of atoms, comparing them to dust particles drifting in a beam of sunlight.  Being one with a keen interest in Physics, I felt that this kind of crossover between science and art was truly special.  Once again, Lucretius’ words seem to be acting as a honey lined cup, inspiring me to conquer my aversion to translating Latin poetry once and for all!


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