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Carmenta Online Blog

  • Jan 19 / 2017
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Latin

Fabricius: Fair Play Even in Times of War

Pyrrhus of Epirus

 

By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB

We are all familiar with the saying “all is fair in love and war.” History, however, shows us that the Romans would not agree with this–at least not the war part. Today we’ll be talking about a Roman commander who refused to participate in a plot which would have killed his opponent in a cowardly manner. Continue Reading

  • Jan 17 / 2017
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Classical Literature

Scottish Gaelic: Poetry in the Highlands

MacIan print of Highlanders wearing kilts and plaids separately

 

By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB and John Priest, B.A Cert. Min

Scottish Gaelic is a direct descendent of an early medieval language, Old Irish, and has produced amazing literature with beautiful poems which are sometimes even set to music. Nevertheless, too many Scots still ignore this treasure of their culture or even think that there is no Scottish poetic tradition in any other language but Lowland Scots, which is related to English. In this article we have selected a few wonderful pieces of poetry produced by natives of the Scottish Highlands. Continue Reading

  • Jan 12 / 2017
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Classical Literature

Overlooked Literature: Chinese Literature

 

By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB

China has produced real treasures of literature, from works of poetry to those of romance and history. However, this 5000-year-old genre is often overlooked; consequently, there are very few college departments dedicated to Chinese literature. For this reason, we at Carmenta Latin School believe it is time to make the general public more familiar with China’s great literary tradition. We have, therefore, selected three major works produced by this tremendous civilization. Continue Reading

  • Jan 10 / 2017
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Classical Literature

Overlooked Literature: Anglo-Saxon

Beowulf: king Geats

 

By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB

Today we’re going to look at some of the great literature produced by the Anglo-Saxons, the people whose language gave birth to Middle and Modern English. Although it is spoken by billions around the world, most people don’t realize that English comes from Anglo-Saxon or Old English. There are some marvelous pieces of Old English literature including an epic poem, historiography, and wisdom literature. Continue Reading

  • Jan 05 / 2017
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Ancient World

Io Saturnalia, Amici: Happy Saturnalia, Friends!

Etruscan dancers from the tomb of the Triclinium in the Necropolis of Monterozzi, c. 470 BCE

 

By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB

“During my week the serious is barred: no business allowed. Drinking and being drunk, noise and games of dice, appointing of kings and feasting of slaves, singing naked, clapping … an occasional ducking of corked faces in icy water – such are the functions over which I preside.” Continue Reading

  • Jan 03 / 2017
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Ancient Greek

Virgil’s Death of Laocoön

“Laocoön and His Sons”, Vatican Museum, Vatican City

 

By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB

Today we’ll be looking at the events that took place a few days before the fall of Troy. When the Trojans found the wooden horse, they were not sure whether they should keep it or burn it. That is when a wise priest of Apollo named Laocoön tried to warn them about the danger of keeping the Greek “gift”. The Olympian gods, however, had already decided that Troy had to be destroyed, and they would not hesitate to kill any mortal who would dare warn the Trojans about the Greek trap. Continue Reading

  • Dec 29 / 2016
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Ancient Greek

Nestor: The Conciliator

“Achilles Giving Nestor the Price of Wisdom”, by Raymond Monvoisin

 

By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB

Today’s topic is one of Homer’s favorite characters from his Iliad: Nestor, king of Pylos. He was once a brave man who participated in the quest for the Golden Fleece and also on the hunt for the Caledonian Boar. However, when the Trojan War took place, Nestor was already an elderly man and, therefore, unable to do much fighting. Nevertheless, he plays an important role as the wise man who tried to conciliate Agamemnon and Achilles. Continue Reading

  • Dec 27 / 2016
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Ancient Greek

Batrachomyomachia: A Classical Parody

Batrachomyomachia (The Battle of the Frogs and the Mice) by Bjørn Okholm Skaarup

 

By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB

Today we’ll be looking at a comic epic called Batrachomyomachia (“Battle of Frogs and Mice”), a parody of Homer’s Iliad. Its authorship has been disputed, though most scholars today believe it is the work of an anonymous poet from the time of Alexander the Great. Ancient authors claimed that Homer himself was the author. Continue Reading

  • Dec 22 / 2016
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Classical Literature

Polymaths: Sir Richard Francis Burton

Sir Richard Francis Burton

 

By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB

Today we’ll be talking about Sir Richard Francis Burton, one of the greatest polymaths of the nineteenth century. The word polymath comes from the Greek πολυμαθής (“knowing much”) and refers to a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas. Continue Reading

  • Dec 20 / 2016
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Latin

The Old Man and the Donkey

Aesop’s fables engraving

 

By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB

In studying the literature of different civilizations-even those that are a great distance from each other-there is a common affinity for fables. Despite what many people think, fables are not exclusive to children. In fact, there are fables which only a more mature and experienced audience may be able to fully appreciate. Continue Reading