Classics Student Projects

Classics students do amazing projects.   You can too!  Check out a selection of our students’ accomplishments below.

Doug Hinners--Spring 2015

CLAS 491:  Classics Capstone
Dr. Eric D. Nelson

Translating Apicius:  From Pages to Plates

In these convivial dining recreations it was important to recognize the needs and goals of the original audience in order to properly translate their recipes for a modern one.  A need to express wealth, for example, was best explained through the construction of a staged triclinium; the portioning appropriate for dining barehanded could be shown through careful portioning on plates; and the inherent demand for entertainment was better expressed through the carving of a whole hog than by plating pork butt from the kitchen.  In this way the audience could interact with the research, bringing clarity to aspects of the Apician recipes that might otherwise seem nonsensical.

Image 1:
Roasted Piglet in Tracta and Honey and Wine Braised Mushrooms.
Here is a plate of freshly carved pork loin, surrounded by mushrooms that had been slowly braised in cilantro and red wine.  One of our chefs carved this piglet in the room, much to the delight of the guests.

Image 2:
Here I compare the clibanus to it’s two modern equivalents, the tagine and Dutch oven.  My research paper would go on to discuss comparable heating methods in some detail.

Image 3:

Rabbit Meatball and Pennyroyal Pickles.
In addition to reflecting good finger food portioning, this dish allowed guests to compare the effects of fish sauce.  One pickle contained it, and the other did not.

Image 4:
Honey, Nut, and Emmer Groat Pudding with Salted, Honeyed, Stuffed Dates.
These dishes could represent the common fair of poor Romans when one considers the ingredients.  Still, in this setting they made for an excellent dessert.

Image 5:
On the left is an excellent quality oenogarum as produced by Prof Rochelle Snee.  On the right is my homemade smelt based fish sauce, now two years fermented.

Image 6:
Roasted Piglet in Tracta and Honey and Wine Braised Mushrooms.
Here is a plate of freshly carved pork loin, surrounded by mushrooms that had been slowly braised in cilantro and red wine.  One of our chefs carved this piglet in the room, much to the delight of the guests.

Image 7:
Roasted Piglet in Tracta and Honey.
This pig was done in a gas powered pizza oven who’s design is intended to replicate those still seen in Pompeii.  She had been carefully bathed in a thickened honey and white wine mixture throughout the cooking process, and came out with a pleasantly candied skin.

Image 1 :
Here I compare the clibanus to it’s two modern equivalents, the tagine and Dutch oven.  My research paper would go on to discuss comparable heating methods in some detail.

Image 2:
Dressed Golden Beets, Stuffed Beet Greens, and Dressed Egg.
This marriage of three recipes hoped to entertain the guests through the reconstruction of a beet… or egg on the plate.

Image 3:

This invitation, carefully constructed by Dr. Travillian, was rolled, wrapped in ribbon, and passed to guests on the day of the banquet.

Image 4:
Rabbit Meatball and Pennyroyal Pickles.
In addition to reflecting good finger food portioning, this dish allowed guests to compare the effects of fish sauce.  One pickle contained it, and the other did not.

Image 5:
Roman amphora and Byzantine pithoi are discussed and compared to the modern kimchi pot.

Image 6:
Honey, Nut, and Emmer Groat Pudding with Salted, Honeyed, Stuffed Dates.
These dishes could represent the common fair of poor Romans when one considers the ingredients.  Still, in this setting they made for an excellent dessert.

Image 7:
The three people, professors Travillian, Snee, and Nelson, most instrumental in the success of this venture carefully consider their dessert.

Shiori Oki -- Fall 2014

LATN 211
Dr. Eric D. Nelson

Sallust in the 21st Century

Working through Sallust’s Bellum Catilinae is no easy task. When our class reached Catiline’s speech in Chapter 20, Professor Nelson challenged us with taking his words and giving our own translation. I struggled for a while to think of a striking way to bring Catiline into modern times. Much of what Catiline discuses in his speech is relevant today: the oppression of lower classes by the wealth of the highly influential, the struggle to maintain a state of living in desperate times, and the camaraderie that is a product of experiencing the same toils and joys.

After a couple of unsuccessful attempts , I realized that if I would summarize each of his long sentences that I could condense what he was saying and make it more concise. Then the number 140 came to mind. What better way to reach people today than through social media? Lucius Catiline @l_catiline was born. His twitter is comprised of a 15 tweet feed complete with #(hashtags) and the like. Each tweet is my interpretation of one of Catiline’s longer sentences. My goal was not to lose the message of Catiline’s movement and at the same time to highlight the vital elements of his speech that have come to be synonymous with conditions of our times.

Jenny Kimura -- Spring 2014

LATN 491
Dr. Tyler T. Travillian

in the Artist’s own words

Display Case of Jenny Kimura's Scroll, upstairs Admin
Admin Display Case

Artist’s Bio

Jenny Kimura, who started PLU in F2013, is originally from Kailua, Hawaii, and is a member of the first graduating class of Trinity Christian School.  She is planning a major in Graphic Design with minors in Printing and Publishing Arts and Latin.  Jenny has studied Latin for six years, during which time she has translated Vergil’s cultural epic, the Aeneid, memorized portions of Cicero’s speeches, analyzed the laments of Augustine, and even read from the Latin translation of Harry Potter.  Most recently, she has been reading the poems of Catullus.

The Piece

The scroll records an anthology of the Roman poet Catullus, who lived approximately from 84-54 BCE.  He was born to an upper class family in Verona, Italy, but not much else is known about his life, except what we can distinguish from his surviving poems.  This anthology in particular explores the rise and fall of Catullus’s affair with a married woman (most likely Clodia Metelli), whom he refers to as “Lesbia”, a pseudonym that celebrates her resemblance to the Greek poetess Sappho, a resident of the island of Lesbos.  I have arranged the poems in five stages:  (1) Catullus and Lesbia together and happy; (2) Catullus in love with Lesbia, despite her evident negative effect on him; (3) an excerpt from a longer poem on Ariadne, symbolizing their breakup; (4) Catullus hating Lesbia; (5) Catullus resigning himself to the simultaneous emotions of love and hate.  Although Catullus lived thousands of years  before us, his conflicted and complicated feelings for Lesbia are still immediately comprehensible to the modern age.  I hope that this reimagining of Catullus’s work can be a bridge that connects us to an age distant in time if not in spirit.

The Process

Originally, I had intended the theme of the anthology to be witty poems and poignant insults, but after considering my life-long love of reading stories, I realized that Catullus and Lesbia’s (doomed) love story was one that I wanted to tell.  Their story is one that many can relate to and any time period can sympathize with.

After I arranged the poems, I turned my focus to remaking an ancient scroll.  the first challenge was learning how to write like a Roman scribe.  I selected a fourth century CE Roman script, since it was closest in style to my own handwriting and was relatively easy to write with a pen nib.  I tried out a variety of modern pens with tips similar to the stylus the ancient Romans used, including a dip- and a cartridge-based fountain pen.  I settled on the cartridge pen and practiced copying the alphabet from a manuscript of Vergil until I could faithfully reproduce the script, writing out names, quotations, song lyrics, and old sayings so that I could practice not just letters but words and phrases.

Once I learned the script, I copied the poems onto eighteen inch strips of papyrus: each column is five inches tall and six inches wide, with one inch margins all around, sketched in advance with pencil guidelines.  The strips are joined together at the edges with PVA bookbinding glue.  The whole text, which is about 10 feet long, is rolled on a seven-inch dowel with antique finials attached to either end to give it an elegant look, and is fastened with an elastic ribbon.

Jenny Kimura's scroll, with fountain pen and ink
Jenny Kimura's scroll, with fountain pen and ink