As one year ends and another one begins, it is only proper to reflect on the past year and appreciate what has been and, at the same time, get excited over what is to come. This time around we not only leave a year behind, but an entire decade as we step into the 20’s. Let’s hope it will be roaring!
2019 was for Latinitium a year of ups and downs. We began with an up having just launched our first book and audiobook in easy Latin: Pugio Bruti – A Crime Story in Easy Latin. It was a great feeling! The book was so well received we felt quite overwhelmed. Let’s just say the feeling kept us warm all through the cold Swedish winter.
However, we did not rest on our laurels but kept on working and a few months into the new year, we were finally ready to release an online course to go with the book. We wanted to make this course not only suitable for Latin learners, but also for teachers wanting to use it and the materials it contains in school.
The year has not all been about Pugio Bruti, though.
Far from it.
One of the most important things we did this year was writing and publishing an article on how to learn Latin. The article, called How to learn Latin: Motivation, Goals, and Habits, is the first part of a planned three-part series. Daniel has sorted through his many years of experience in learning and teaching Latin, to make an ultimate guide for everyone who wants to learn, or is already learning Latin.
This first part focuses on the importance of having motivation for your studies, setting goals, and developing habits. I can strongly recommend reading or re-reading it now when a new year is about to begin. Part two and three are on-route for 2020.
We have also been graced by a few guest authors this year; Dirk Sacré, Tom Keeline, and Peter Barrios-Lech.
Dirk Sacré gave us a great article in Latin called De florilegi Latinitatis neotericae a Milena Minkova apparato. Tom Keeline, assistant professor of Classics, caused quite a stir with the headline of his article Is “reading” Latin impossible? From associate professor of Classics Peter Barrios-Lech, we got to dive into differences between the use of the subjunctive and indicative in indirect questions in his thorough article The indirect question in Latin.
Out of the “office”
Just like last year, Latinitium left Sweden on a few occasions to attend conferences and seminars. During the summer, we went to Rome, where Daniel attended the Academiae Latinitati Fovendae conference. There he was elected member of the Academia, and gave a brief oratio initialis in Latin.
Once the conference was over, we stayed in Italy but headed south to visit the amazing archeological dig of Herculaneum. This town was, just like Pompeii, buried as Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D. Not only did we visit the site, but we brought our camera and filmed a documentary for you. You can find it here:
During the fall we went to Valencia to participate in Collegium Latinitatis’ seminarium Facta Romanorum Memorabilia at the University of Valencia, Spain. Daniel held a speech called Litterae per saecula sepultae about a very special text by Dictys Cretensis and taught a class about the part in Satyricon with werewolves. Both the speech and the class were filmed by Collegium Latinitatis. You will find them below:
Speaking of filming and videos, we naturally kept our tradition once we’d returned from Spain, and made scary video for Halloween. This year we turned to supposedly real events that took place between a Swedish ghost and a pastor in the fall of 1632.
So far we’ve only spoken about ups, we did have a big down this year though:
The chat we called Exedrium.
We wanted to create a place where people could meet and practice their Latin in real time. As the Latin community is spread out over the world, it is sometimes difficult to find someone to talk to, someone to practice with, and at times you are completely on your own. Many of you have voiced a desire to have a platform, or something to communicate or find penpals through or something of the like.
So, we rolled up our sleeves and went to work. After a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (ok, perhaps not that dramatic, but after a lot of work), we created a chatroom where people could meet and chat in Latin. We were so excited.
And it worked!
It took off like a rocket. It was amazing to watch. But, it only worked for a short while. Several things were against us, the most important one perhaps being time itself.
As the Latin community is spread out accross the world, we keep different times. When it’s evening here, it’s midday, morning, or night in other parts of the world. Getting enough people to show up in the chat at the same time proved to be difficult when the initial buzz had died down. We tried to suggest times, but in the end the chat emptied and we made the difficult decision to shut it down. Perhaps it will return in the future.
Back to fun stuff now!
A digital anthology for the 21st century
As September began and leaves started to turn red and orange on the trees outside, we launched our biggest project yet: a digital anthology.
We wanted to do this properly, not only as an ordinary anthology with a text and a few lines about the author. Instead, we decided to write proper articles about each author, choose a text from said author and provide you with both an audio recording, a video of that text along with an English translation, and a commentary. That way, the anthology can work as a way of learning about Roman authors as well as a way to discover new exciting texts and authors, and as studying material for learning Latin.
Improvements (to say the least!)
Previously we’ve provided you with two digitised Latin dictionaries. Now, we updated this with two more, and made it possible to search them all at once, from one site. All thanks to the amazing work of our dear friend Johan Winge.
We also realised, with all these new things on the website, that we needed to clean up a little bit. So many things have happened since 2016 when we were newborns – so many videos, so much audio, articles, books, resources, links. So we rearranged it and made things easier to find.
We have not only published a lot of great things on Latinitum.com, but on our membership site.
For those of you who are not aware: We have a membership site via Patreon where you can support Latinitium to help us going. There, you can also create a habit of watching Latin videos every week, get access to more audio, early access to the audiobooks we produce, video lessons, and a lot more. You can learn more about it here.
This year, we published quite a lot:
Every Friday (!), we recorded a weekly message in Latin talking about what’s happened, or not, during the week, and giving you an insight into our work. These videos are also trying to get members to get into the habit of listening to Latin atleast once a week.
Most Fridays we also recorded a longer video lesson where Daniel explained a text, told a story, talked about an expression, or something like that. We also brought you along on some adventures when we went looking for a Roman tomb and a cave.
During late fall, we also started to publish easy Latin stories. A lot of our material has not been for beginners in Latin, which is something that’s been troubling us for a long time. So, now we’ve started to create beginner’s Latin with easy stories. They’re audio recordings accompanied by a transcript of the text as well as an English translation and some vocabulary. We chose to release this to our members as they take quite a lot of time to produce. We are also looking for some feedback so that we can bring some easy Latin outside of the membership site at a later stage.
December = Launch
We seem to have a thing for launching things in December, and this year it was time for the final part of the audiobook to the book Ad Alpes – A Tale of Roman Life. Throughout the year, we’ve published Ad Alpes the audiobook. We split it into three parts. And, in December, it was time for the final part.
It was a long and bumpy road leading up to the release – it took much longer than we anticipated due to whining dogs, drilling neighbours, electric noises, broken microphones, software updates and so on and so forth. For a long time it felt like Ad Alpes was cursed, that we were not meant to turn it into an audiobook. But, as we say in Sweden: ”skam den som ger sig” (shame on the one who gives up). And it is now finally out: 7 hours and 19 minutes of Latin audio!
Great way to end a year!
More years and more Latin to come
As we step into a new decade, we would like to take the opportunity to thank all of you for the support, the reads, the visits, the use of our site, the comments and shout outs, the newsletter reading, the enthusiasm for our books and audio, for all the support from our members, for all of it. We are so greatful to have an audience such as you!
We have a lot of hopes, dreams, and ideas for the new year, well for the new decade – a lot of them (but not all) concerns Latin. You’ll see.
Happy New Year! And Happy New Decade!