Seminar Structure

NEH Summer Seminar, July 13-31, 2020 for K-12 Teachers

Roman ruinsEach day of the seminar will begin with a morning session of the entire group to translate passages of Petronius’ Satyricon from Latin to English. The Scholars will have prepared these passages for translation the night before. The morning session is an opportunity to show each other the fruits of that preparation, to ask questions about the Latin, and to engage in discussion of the particular topic of daily life. The topic of the day is coordinated with the Latin passages from Petronius and there will be supplementary readings in English, both primary and secondary sources. In the afternoon we build on the morning discussion with a consideration of the archaeological evidence from Pompeii and small group translation of the graffiti. In addition, each week will feature the participation of one of the visiting faculty. At the beginning of the week they will give an overview lecture of their particular area of specialization. They will then join in the daily reading sessions during the rest of the week.

Gustavus Adolphus College has a good library collection of primary and secondary materials on the topic of Roman daily life and Scholars will also be able to use the library’s access to classically related digital databases and inter-library loan. The Classics department at the college has a number of specialized resources including a full set of the Loeb translations of Greek and Roman authors and a small collection of ancient coins.

Roman artEach Scholar will also give a 20-minute oral presentation at the end of the seminar on something they have researched and prepared relating to the topics we have studied. The specific nature of the project is left up entirely to each Scholar: it can focus on a more traditional research question, be a creative project, or be entirely related to converting material we have studied in the seminar to classroom use. The only guiding principle is that it be a useful and worthwhile endeavor to the Scholar. 

We will make a field trip to the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts (only 75 minutes away) to see their ancient collection, focusing on the religious wall painting from Pompeii, the depiction of clothing and hairstyles in both male and female statuary, and the examples of ancient silver and glassware. We will also take a tour of the local winery in conjunction with our study of ancient food and wine. Finally, we will work together one evening to cook a Roman meal from the Roman recipes of Apicius.