Enjoying the Process


Latin is fun. Well, it can be, if you work at it.

I’ve taught a Latin class (or two) for a decade at ECS. A few years ago we started using the “Lingua Latina” curriculum for our high school students. Caput VIII is about a run-away servant who takes his girlfriend to shop for jewelry in Rome. It’s not really that dramatic, but I like to play it up.

When we read through the story (and we just got to Caput VIII again this week in class, which is part of the reason I’m posting this now, even though there are a lot of other important things happening in terra) I take the opportunity to upgrade the imagery a bit. Medus is looking to buy some bling for his baby-lady. But the first time I read it this way one of the students raised her hand and said, “Mr. Higgins, it’s not really called bling anymore. It’s drip.”

Turns out, I had a lot to learn. It can be just a synonym for bling, along with swag, you know, when you’re bougie. More precisely, when your bling has a lot of diamonds, that’s ice. And when your ice is really hot, well, you can see where this is going, right? You get drip.

So I’ve been celebrating the drip ever since, and have shared with my classes that it would be so cool to get some Latin drip. Last year, for Teacher Appreciation Week, some of my students made me my very own. (You can see the original thread here.)

The gold chain is heavy, but not gold. The (covered cardboard) medallion has “Latin Drip” on one side, and “QUID?” on the other side. Quid? means “What?” and it’s how I like to imagine first-century Gs greeting each other: “Quid, quid?”

It should be noted that my students gave me more than a linea. Caput XV famously (at least in my classes) refers to the tergum. It’s a part of the body that isn’t necessarily translated, but it can be identified. It’s the part where a kid might get a spanking. It’s the lower than the lower back part. Anyway, one day I mentioned how cool it might be to get some J.Lo like sweats with “tergum” written across the tergum. My students hot-glue-gunned some strategic sequins for me.

A few more follow-ups.

First, I may or may not still have the sweats. But I look at the DRIP every day while sitting at the desk in my home study. It hangs in front of me and reminds me that DRIP is not just style, it’s a way of life. (For the curious, here’s an explanation of the bearded mermaid.)

Second, after my previous school coffee cup broke, one of my students updated my title:

And finally, my “gift” for being part of my daughter’s wedding last summer was a DRIP tie clip. Actually, it’s a hair barrette, but I used it as a tie clip. I probably got to tell the story a couple dozen times during the reception, and I regularly rotate it in as one of my Twitter header pics.

The End of Many Books

The Aeneid

by Virgil

This is the third time I’ve read Virgil’s epic. I had to look up my previous reviews to see what I said, probably about how much I didn’t like it. This reading was different, not because I found a different translation, but because I had a different motivation. I’m giving a talk about it in a couple days, and preparing for the talk pushed me to pay attention to it more closely.

I don’t think I enjoyed it more, or liked it more, but I definitely do appreciate it more. In God’s prophecies and purposes (and I do mean the true God, not the so-called gods Virgil references), the river of Western civilization flowed to and through and from Rome, and the Aeneid provides the city’s origin story, which did seem to bring about a sort of peace within the Empire among those for whom Virgil’s poem provided good patriotic feels.

You definitely should read this at some point. It would be even better if you could read some of it in Latin, which, as it turns out, is actually much more colorful. You could also check out this (new to me) translation by C. S. Lewis, though he only finished a little more than two of the twelve total books in the story. And last, you could check back in a few days when I post the notes from my talk.

2018, March 28 – Read the whole epic thing this time around for our Tenebras class. The gods do not agree, Turnus is mad, and watch out for Camilla.

2013 – Read much of this poem, but not all, this time through with the Omnibus class. Shows the power of story, and the power of art to tell a story, for providing purpose to a people’s culture.

3 of 5 stars

Every Thumb's Width

Tackling Virgil

We’ve made the call that our 2022 Raggant Fiction Festival will cover some of the epics. The festival’s title is: Monumental Myths – Lit That Made Western Man. When talking about which epic I wanted to cover my first response was anything except for the Aeneid. Ha. Turns out, due to a number of variables, that I am now very excited about tackling Virgil. As I get going, I found this fantastic looking resource that I’ll be trying for doing some work in the original Latin text. I told my Latin students in class today that they can help keep me accountable.

A Shot of Encouragement

Reasons to Study Latin

This is a great video produced by Classical Conversations on reasons to study Latin:

Lord's Day Liturgy

Glossing the Skids

I taught John 14:6 a couple Sundays ago and thought that a great communion meditation that day would be to focus on the exclusivity of Jesus as the one way, one truth, one life. Or, put in Reformation sola sort of terms, Christ is the only way, the only truth, the only life. I know enough Latin to look up words in a dictionary, so I thought about attaching the “way,” “truth” and “life” to sola, or una (the Latin word for “one”). As I made progress I found a pattern: way is via, truth is veritas, and life is vita. There you go: una via, una veritas, una vita. The whole thing took me quite a long time, and then I decided to look up John 14:6 in Latin.

“Ego sum via, et veritas, et vita.”

Maybe I should have started there.

Even though Jerome already glossed the skids centuries ago, every week when we come to the Lord’s Table we affirm and celebrate that Jesus is all three: the way, the truth, and the life. We affirm that He is the way, the only route to the Father, our one access to God. In particular, His death was the way, represented by the bread and the cup. It took a perfect sacrifice to satisfy God’s judgment against unrighteousness and there is only one that works: the sacrifice of His Son. Una via.

We affirm that He is the truth. Generations of unbelievers have sought multiple roads and told many lies to nurture their idolatries. Men wouldn’t and couldn’t come up with the gospel by themselves. Jesus embodies the only truth, the truth about judgment and deliverance of wrath and love and hope. Jesus reveals our true condition and the one true solution. Una veritas.

We affirm that He is the life. When the first Adam sinned, he died. His death meant separation. Adam lost life, he lost fellowship with God (and with his wife). If death means separation, then life is relationship, life is fellowship, life is communion. So Jesus, the Second Adam, described Himself as the life then immediately descries how He reveals the Father to disciples and brings them to Him. Jesus fixed what Adam broke. Una vita.

We have communion with God through Jesus. We have fellowship with each other through Jesus. We enjoy the freedom of one, the freedom in Christ alone that comes by grace alone through faith alone.

A Shot of Encouragement

Pure Religion

Religio munda et inmaculata apud Deum et Patrem haec est visitare pupillos et viduas in tribulatione eorum inmaculatum se custodire ab hoc saeculo.

James 1:27