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Classical Beginnings

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Classical Beginnings

Postby Elucubrator » Wed Apr 30, 2003 3:36 am

I think it would be great to hear stories from our members about how they came to the study of Greek and Latin, why they wanted to learn it, and whether they have any good stories for the rest of us???<br /><br /><br />Seba
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Re:Classical Beginnings

Postby Milito » Wed Apr 30, 2003 5:32 pm

Okay, I will bite. I have my doubts about whether or not it's a good story, but it involves job dissatisfaction and a snit.<br /><br />After almost 10 years in the military, I found myself in a job in a training institution with no one to train (major cutbacks in recruiting), and a boss with whom I didn't get along particularly well. This added up to bad job dissatisfaction. I had a computer science degree from University of Victoria, courtesy of the military, which I hadn't used, and I'd been taking some courses from U of Waterloo through their superb correspondence program. In a snit, caused by job dissatisfaction, I decided to start working on another degree, paying for this one out of my own pocket, because I didn't want to "owe" it to anyone. (I have a bit of trouble with the logic now, given who was paying me, thus enabling me to pay for the courses; however....) End result: I applied for an English degree - just what any telecommunications person needs.... And I took the introductory Latin courses to fulfill a language requirement, satisfy some curiosity engendered by childhood exposure to Asterix books, and placate the Imp of the Perverse who tends to hang out on my right shoulder. As it turned out, I did very well with the Latin, and enjoyed it thoroughly, which in retrospect shouldn't have been a surprise because I'd enjoyed the Anglo-Saxon I'd done to augment the computer science a few years before. I then did a couple of English courses, and another Latin course, and came to the conclusion that I liked reading English better than dissecting it. I then took a couple New Testament Greek courses, and discovered I liked Greek, too, though not so well as Latin, and then took a Roman Society course to find out how well I liked Classical Studies. I am now an Honours Classical Studies major at U of Waterloo, through their correspondence program. I have to update the Greek to Classical Greek over the NT Greek, take a couple more Latin courses (oh, shucks.....) and do about four other literature/history/ research courses, and I will be done. The question at the moment is whether I'll carry on through correspondence, or hang up the uniform next year and jump into full-time studies. If that happens to come about, I would really like to go on to Post Grad at U of Toronto, but at the moment, I rather suspect I'll be in uniform for a few years yet.....<br /><br />The places that a snit, coupled with a bad case of possession by the Imp of the Perverse, will get you.....<br /><br />Milito
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Re:Classical Beginnings

Postby Raya » Wed Apr 30, 2003 8:11 pm

Hehehe, good one Militio! (And Seba, what's your story?)<br /><br />For myself... hmm, whence comes my obsession? Somewhere between my father and grandfather...<br /><br />Dad told me the story of the Trojan War when I was 6 - a (failed) attempt to get me away from Disney. I should have hated it. Such carnage. Those poor Trojans. That (then) detestable Achilles.<br /><br />(The story of Achilles and me I'll save for another time. I used to hate him, but my pseudo-ex (don't ask!) claims that I have the love-hate thing going and that when I talk about Achilles, I sound like I fancy him. Of course, this comes from a guy who used to have a crush on Athena... hmm...)<br /><br />ANYWAY, back in the days before the convoluted love-life, here's what I saw: that the Trojan War is essentially about Beauty. The mortals fight over the most beautiful woman, and the immortals fight about who is the most beautiful (immortal) woman. Oh yeah, and the humans are so incredibly *civilised* in their warfare! Can you imagine, in a modern war, both sides agreeing to take a day off to bury their dead? (I mean, with both sides actually sticking to the agreement and not taking advantage of the situation with "All is Fair in Love and War"?)<br /><br />All of this fascinated me - I wanted to know more about the people who came up with this, who held such ideals...<br /><br />(On a more contemporary note, the Greeks are also the ones who gave us my first love (Drama) and my greatest source of fun (Sophistry). Ha~)<br /><br />My grandfather is the one who emphasised to me that until I read these works in the original Greek and Latin, I was missing out on something. I wanted to learn the classical languages since then, but it was only when I became competent enough in other languages to think in them, and I was able to see how my thought differed in different languages, that I could really appreciate what he was on about. Culture is inherent in language, and after all, it is the ancient cultures which (at heart) I am most interested in...
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Re:Classical Beginnings

Postby Carola » Wed Apr 30, 2003 10:52 pm

I have been studying Latin and I often say it was reading Umerto Eco's "Name of the Rose" and realising that the Latin I had learnt at school had become so rusty as to be non-existant! However, I think that like the other members I had become a little dissatified with studying things I wasn't really thrilled with and thought "What the heck - it's my life I'll do things I want to do!". So first I did a certificate in music performance (jazz) on the saxophone and then decided to do a BA in Classics. People keep asking what all this is leading to - I just look mysterious and grin ;)
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Re:Classical Beginnings

Postby annis » Thu May 01, 2003 1:41 am

I have simply always been fascinated by languages. One of my earliest memories is of me harrassing a babysitter after hearing her speak Spanish. I kept asking the words for things.<br /><br />I have a special fondness for dead languages, by which I mean historical languages: Greek and Latin, of course, the various Mesopotamian languages - finding a Sumerian grammar in English was a great day in my life - Egyptian in its Hieroglyphic and Coptic versions. I learned first about historical linguistics, via Germanic historical linguistics, when I discovered the city library had old copies of Old English and Gothic grammars.<br /><br />For unclear reasons I first majored in Classical Chinese. This also involved some Japanese and Sanskrit for good measure. Then I flipped out, one year short of the major, and switched to classics. One year later I flipped out again, and decided I could handle no more of Texas (allergies; heat; hostile evangelicals; exes best left in Texas) and moved north.<br /><br />Exposure to all of these languages early left me with an enduring hobby: I occasionally indulge in language creation. Since a certain famous philologist and author, who's books have recently been turned into wildly popular films, also indulged in this habit, I hope no one will judge me for this. ;)<br /><br />I love grammar. Obscure morphology thrills me. Being able to relate qh/r to english "bear" and latin-derived "feral" is a great pleasure to me, but it means sometimes people's word usage will stop be dead in my tracks as I make some historical connection. I was once with friends at a bar, and we were griping about people who shorten or lengthen our names against our will. One person is just named "Nathan" and he gets a bit put out when people call him "Nathaniel." So I said, "Ah, just 'he gives', not 'God gives.'" These were people who knew Hebrew! And they had no idea what I was talking about. I explained it, and all was clear to them. Then one said, "William, you do this to words all the time?!" He looked a little concerned.<br /><br />Anyway, while I do love grammar, I'm really most interested in getting to know the thoughts and culture behind the languages. The historical literature of these languages is of great interest to me, especially Greek Poetry. As you can tell from the list above, I have a lot of interests, but I've made a deliberate decision to restrict my interests a bit and really focus on Greek. (I just bought a house which cuts into random, leisure grammar reading, too.)<br /><br />So, Greek, Greek, Greek it is for me. I sort of want to revive my Latin, but I also want to really get much better at Arabic, too. I've not decided yet which will win out that battle, because I'm not slowing down on aoidoi.org for either of them.<br /><br />I think that's enough for now. <br /><br />[face=SPIonic]eu)tu/xete[/face]
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
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Re:Classical Beginnings

Postby Jeff Tirey » Thu May 01, 2003 12:12 pm

Indiana Jones could read Greek and Latin!<br /><br />Also when I was a kid my father told me about an old man who taught himself ancient Greek just so that he could read the Iliad - so I guess reading the Iliad in Greek became important to me.
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Re:Classical Beginnings

Postby Milito » Thu May 01, 2003 12:52 pm

[quote author=jeff link=board=6;threadid=77;start=0#353 date=1051791160]<br />Indiana Jones could read Greek and Latin!<br />[/quote]<br /><br />Try going to high school as "Raiders" came out, with a last name of "Jones", and an interest in archeology........... The nickname was inevitable, though it hasn't stuck....<br /><br />Milito (Kilmeny Jones)
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Re:Classical Beginnings

Postby wissen » Fri May 02, 2003 1:28 pm

Hmm... Indiana Jones knows them. That's the reason for me to learn Latin and Greek.<br /><br />Actually, I'm a graduate student of Electronic Engineering. Someone told me that it might make my dissertation more attractive if a greek or latin phrase was posted before the first line of each chapter. He told me as a joke only but reminded me of Dr. Jones. Maybe, as I will be a Doctor in the near future, I must know the languages that my favourest Dr. Jones knows, no matter what my major is. <br /><br />That's my story on the beginning. Sometimes I'm a little ashamed that I have done nothing in the language of my ancestor, the ancient Chinese. Well, let me do it later. :P<br />
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Re:Classical Beginnings

Postby auctor » Tue May 06, 2003 12:21 pm

My interest in things Classical came about from a desire to read stuff that others couldn't! (very childish at a young age!)<br />Since starting Latin 30 years ago I realised what knowledge and ability has been lost to the 20-21 century. <br />Latin, and slowly still Greek, poetry is so much more beautiful in its own tongue. Some of Plautus' and Aristophanes' comedy would stand its ground today.<br />For a "non-vocational" study the Classics will teach one more about daily life for us all than almost any other subject.<br /><br />Paul McK
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