Athenaze is not just a book

Posted on April 5th, 2007 by

A fortnight ago I had the pleasure of being invited to Athens (Athens, Georgia, that is!) to give a talk on Euripides’ Trojan Women in conjunction with a production of the play by UGA’s theatre department. My talk (“Athenian Men Watching Trojan Women: the Function Of Tragedy in Athens”) was part of their blockbuster Athenaze event. The very mention of the word Athenaze is probably conjuring up images of awkwardly drawn Dicaeopolises in the minds of Hellenists; but at this Athenaze, there was not a -mi verb in sight! This annual event brings together classics department alums, majors, faculty, and high school students for a major fest celebrating classics. In the morning, a panel of four alums in their early twenties, who are now teaching Latin in the high schools, gave presentations as part of an outreach panel. They shared ideas for recruiting minorities, for organizing study trips to Italy, for creative events like toga bowling, Latin jeopardy, interlanguage Olympics, and a game called ‘toss the Romans into the volcano’, an off-beat celebration of the ancient treasures preserved through the eruption of Vesuvius. Latin is alive and kicking in Georgia – the teacher at Brookwood High School has over 600 students enrolled in Latin and told of students beating down her door to get a spot on her summer travel courses to Italy. Incidentally, you just can’t get away from Gustavus even by journeying Athenaze! The dramaturg (Brett Rogers, who teaches at UGA) was one of Matt’s former students at the Centro who gushed about his teaching, and at intermission two young ladies came up to me and asked me if I knew Andrew Howard!

 

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