I thought I would start sharing some of the things I learned in taking many years of Latin and Ancient History. Most of my childhood, I wanted to be an Archeologist/Anthropologist. This was after I found out Marine Biologists had to be good swimmers and after failing beginning swimming 7 times due to an inability to float this did not seem to be a wise career choice so at 10, I switched obsessions to Ancient History. I was aided and abetted in this obsession in very strange ways growing up. The weirdest being that I had been put in the hardest and highest math class under the mistaken apprehension on the part of my guidance counselors that I was just not working up to my potential not that I was spectacularly bad at math. I had a math teacher that sat you in the order of the grade you received on the last test. I got tired of sitting in the last seat in back so I embarked in a very short life of crime and forged my dad’s signature on a mid term grade notice. Really dumb move in a school where everyone knows your dad because he used to teach in the school next door and everyone knew his handwriting.
Witness me being called into the Guidance Counselor’s office and confronted with the evidence. I admitted it and told the counselor why and exactly what I thought of being tortured in this fashion. So he agreed to change me into an easier math class and I agreed to quit my life of crime on one condition. I wanted to take Latin when I started 9th grade. He agreed and didn’t tell my parents either. So I figured it was a win all around. Why he allowed me to do that I have no idea but he did and I got my Latin when the time came and a class in Ancient History from the same very beloved teacher who I will always adore.
Anyway this upped my game considerably because Mrs De Grassi also taught us bits of Greek language and the Russian Alphabet just for the fun of it. Yes, I was that big a geek. (still am) Latin and History were the only two subjects I never worried about my grades in ever. Latin also came with a travel bonus. It was the only language that you got at least a short trip somewhere in California to compete in Junior Classical League conventions and if you won an award my high school Latin teacher, once we moved into her class gave us “A’s” for winning which was good because I was a lazy translator when we read some things like Cicero. Caesar’s commentaries were better but Cicero was just a conservative old stick in the mud that now a days would be a contributor on Fox News. I will always love “Winnie Ille Pu”. I ended up with a 1st in the state of California and two 2nds and a 3rd in Roman History and Daily Life and a 2nd in the state in writing Latin Poetry. And unless you are a pagan those are basically irrelevant modern skills. The only year I lost at Roman History was the year the nuns who made up the tests thought they would trip our school up and lose the Sweepstakes. They only tripped my up because they added the much hated Byzantines into the tests. I studied them the next year, so it only worked once and we won the Sweepstakes anyway even if I lost that year.
I read everything I could get my hands on about Egypt, ancient Rome and the Celts, not so much on Greece because I didn’t like the way they treated their women. Their dogs had more freedom. Didn’t like the Byzantine era at all or much of the history of the Holy Lands either because the more I read, the more I got disenchanted with Christianity and any of the other cults of that era, especially after I figured out the real story of the massacre of Jericho. That did it for me. The whole,” my god says we can steal your land and kill all the men, women and children” because he says so and finding out even later that it was because they worshipped a goddess made it even clearer.
So over the years I’ve absorbed an incredible lot of information. I thought periodically I’d share some of the stuff I’ve learned over the years.
I never became an archeologist because a woman archeologist from UCLA, came to speak with us back in the “70’s told me to forget about it unless my daddy was rich. Dad being a Glendale school teacher in the 2nd lowest paying district in the state was a bit of a reality check. I will always wonder if the woman who came to speak to our class was Maria Gimbutas because she did have an accent and was at UCLA at the time but I guess I will never know.
That didn’t stop my fierce interest and even now when I’m feeling lazy in reading, ancient history is my drug of choice in murder mysteries that take place in ancient times like those by Lynda Robinson, Lynn Haney, Lindsay Davis, Peter Treymayne (AKA Peter Beresford Ellis) and Steven Saylor. I think Lindsay Davis is my favourite though.
Anyway, ready or not, here some of it comes later today.