Beyond Translation: The Benefits and Drawbacks of English-to-Latin Composition

Beyond Translation: The Benefits and Drawbacks of English-to-Latin Composition
By Lily Nesvold

In an advanced Latin course my senior year of high school, my teacher gave the class an assignment that was deceptively simple: to compose four “correct” lines of dactylic hexameter, a quest which would result in an automatic “A” for the trimester. Naturally, we were all very excited about the grading scale for the task. What we failed to recognize was how difficult it would be…

The Wealth of the Countryside

Virgil, Georgics 2.458-542
Translated by Sara Chopra

In this final passage of Book 2 of his Georgics, Virgil presents his reader with an ode to the farmer, extolling the virtues of country living. However, as much as these closing lines celebrate the joys of an agrarian lifestyle, they equally express the poet’s distaste for the corruption that has taken hold of his city, Rome…

Catullus 101: Hello and Goodbye

Catullus 101
By Sara Albert

Catullus wrote this elegy while mourning the untimely death of his brother. Despite the fact that he wrote it so long ago, the raw emotion he expresses throughout the piece is timeless and universal. Any reader who has lost someone special to them knows how Catullus felt in the moments he describes…

Graecia Capta: Sappho and Catullus

By Mati Davis
Sappho 31 and Catullus 51

These two poets focus on the same theme as the previous part of this series: love’s pains. Catullus’ poem 51 hovers somewhere between allusion and direct quotation of Sappho’s poem 31. These two are as interesting for their similarities as for their differences. Even though they follow nearly the same formula, Catullus deftly contrasts Sappho’s romantic euphoria with his own frenzied agony…

Blinded by Love

Catullus 83
By Lily Nesvold

Overall, I took quite a few liberties in translating this poem. I did keep consistent with the tone of Catullus’ poem by employing a low language register, and I used many derogatory words to emphasize Catullus’ frustration. However, I decided to insert a parenthetical statement after the first two lines to emphasize Catullus’ hatred for Lesbia’s husband. Today, calling someone a “jerk” is so universal in the English language—the reader can instantly assess his character…

The City in Peace

Iliad 18.490-508
By Stephen Jagoe

In this passage, Homer describes Achilles’ shield and the scenes that decorate it, specifically the “town in peace.” The imagery stands in direct contrast to the rest of the poem’s theme of war. It reminds the reader of the bygone days before the fighting started, and gives him hope that someday the fighting will stop…

Turpis Fausta

Turpis Fausta
By Lily Nesvold

Composed in dactylic hexameter, “Turpis Fausta” is an original work of poetry inspired by a few of Catullus’ pieces: Poem 41 about Mamurra’s ugly mistress; Poem 83, in which Catullus hurls invective at Lesbia’s husband; and Poem 51, showcasing Catullus’ great envy of a mystery man for his ability to capture Lesbia’s attention…

The Hive

The Hive
By Cate Simons

During quarantine, I’ve spent much of my time outdoors. Outside, surrounded by nature, I’m able to slow down and separate myself from some of the anxiety I’ve lately felt about the general state of the world. In the last few months, this passage from Vergil’s Georgics has been very much on my mind, and I’m especially drawn to Vergil’s efforts to portray bees in human terms…