Latest Marathon Reading of the Aeneid

The incipit of a somewhat lengthy piece at Michigan Live:

Thirteen straight hours of poetry reading might sound like many college students’ worst nightmare.

But six Western Michigan University world language students have volunteered for just that, signing on for what is being billed as the university’s first marathon poetry reading this Friday.

Latin 5570, The Teaching of Latin, is holding a read-aloud of Vergil’s epic, “The Aeneid,” on March 15. The enterprise, “To Hell and Back on the Ides of March,” will kick off at 11 a.m. in Knauss Hall and go until all 9,896 lines of the 2,000-year-old poem have been read.

Those of us not versed in lingua Latina – not to worry. The reading will be in English, after a brief opening in which volunteers have offered to read Vergil’s first 11 lines (“I sing of arms and the man”) in about a dozen languages, including Swahili, French, Spanish, Scots and, of course, Latin.

“Our insanity has to have some limits,” said senior Ian Hollenbaugh.

Senior Sean Rogers conducted a trial run by reading the first of the poem’s 12 books aloud. It took 50 minutes and change, he said.

If all goes well, the enterprise should take 12 to 13 hours, with graduate student Sara Miller Schulte joking that Friday’s enterprise is more of a “half-marathon.”

It is the first time WMU has hosted a classics marathon, organizers said. “Homerathons” have cropped up at colleges and universities around the United States in recent years – with readings of “The Odyssey” at Skidmore College in New York, Bucknell University in Ohio, Illinois Wesleyan University and the University of Arizona. […]

What’s unique about this one is that they’ll be livestreaming it … so sometime on the ides you might want to check out their progress at: a marathon reading of virgil’s ‘aeneid

Satyr + Goat Arrive at the British Museum

The Telegraph is doing a good job hyping this exhibition … that famous Pan and goat statue is there, and there’s even a photo in the Telegraph if you need a memory refresh:

An erotic statue has caused the British Museum to install a “parental guidance” warning in their new exhibition, Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum.

The sculpture is of the mythical half-goat, half-man Pan having sex with a nanny goat. The Times reports that the museum is determined to display the object in plain sight, rather than hidden behind a curtain or in a “museum secretum” – a restricted area for those aged over 14 in the Naples Museum.

Paul Roberts, senior curator, said the statue may be unconventional today, but would not have raised eyebrows in Roman Pompeii: “The Romans would see the god goat having sex with a goat, so it wouldn’t have troubled them at all.

Roberts says high-brow Roman owners would have been amused by the statue: “It’s because the owners are cultured that they have the sculpture of Pan and the goat. They also have a sense of humour, because to a Roman that would have been humorous, not offensive.”

He added that phallic symbols were commonplace in Roman homes. Images of the well-endowed fertility god Priapus, sometimes weighing his appendage against a quantity of gold, were often found at the entrance to houses as a symbol of success and good luck.

… which is interesting for other reasons as well: it was less than a year ago that the Telegraph was reporting on a brouhaha over some Leda and the Swan depictions: Classical Tradition Gone Wrong II: Bestial Leda? … I guess now we can open the debate on whether to include Satyrs among humans or animals.

Classical Words of the Day

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