On the purport and name of this Collegium

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On the purport and name of this Collegium

Postby A. Gratius Avitus on Thu Jul 06, 2006 7:48 pm

Avitus collegis optimis suís S·P·D

Dear friends, I have from a very early age strongly identified with classical civilisation. As one of the inescapable consequences of this personal disposition, I long ago adopted the Latin language as my own. This is, in a nutshell, the best description of who I am.

I have hardly any experience of the SVR at present, other than the most cursory inspection of the web site; but I very much like all I have seen so far, my interests being purely intellectual and civil, rather than political and military, which seem to be much more prominent at other modern Roman groups. I hope therefore that this will be the beginning of a very productive presence among you all.

Now, I have been teaching Latin for two full academic years at the Facultas Litterarum of the Academia Thules, of which I am now the Dean. At our faculty, as in most universities around the world, we put together Language and Literature, and one of the things that strikes me most about the organisation of the SVR colleges is that here literature has been aligned with arts as varied as music or architecture, whereas languages have been relegated to a separate college branded with the hardly flattering adjective of "ancient".

Indeed, and to start with, although the languages of classical civilisation are ancient, the name "Collegium Linguarum Antiquarum" makes it sound as if they were some kind of fossil. As a Latin speaker strongly involved in the living Latin movement which took new force in Europe and around the world from the late fifties and the sixties, I think the adjective is quite unfortunate. For one thing, all that is discussed here in the SVR is ancient, but the other colleges are not called "Collegium Historiae Antiquae" or "Collegium Artium Antiquarum" or "Collegium Philosophiae Antiquae", etc. The SVR aims supposedly "to keep the Roman heritage alive". That adjective hardly helps to convey that, and stands out without reason and in the worst possible way from the names of all other colleges. I would like to ask you to remove it.

Then, I would like also most seriously to ask you equally carefully to consider and feed me back on whether in your experience it makes enough sense to have literature aligned with architecture but secluded from the languages in which it is expressed, and whether this could not be at least one of the reasons for this college of languages, deprived of its natural soul and breeding ground, literature, to languish as it seems to have been recently doing according at least to the information I've received from some of the magistrates of the SVR.

I am aware that I am only a newcomer, but I think it would make much more sense to put languages and literatures together under one "Collegium Linguarum et Litterarum" and allow them to flourish and develop together, and interact in their natural way.

Thank you ever so much for your attention.

Curate ut valeatis optime!
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Postby Cleopatra Aelia on Thu Jul 06, 2006 8:02 pm

Salve Grati Avite,

welcome to the forum of the SVR. I noticed from your six posts that you are a Latin buff. I'm sure you'll find others here who are equally sharing your passion for this language. Some tried to write a whole thread in Latin and since you wrote that you adopted Latin as your own language you might to join and therefore revive this thread or start a new one.

I'm sure that Aldus Marius, our admin, will appreciate your input in putting the names of the collegia into correct Latin but since I know him pretty well in the meantime he'll tell you himself.

Vale optime,
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Postby Horatius Piscinus on Thu Jul 06, 2006 11:53 pm

Salve bene Avite

Excellent suggestions! We seem to always be considering updating things at SVR, especially now, following our reorganization and some other intended changes. The Rectores/Curatores will take up the matter of transferring some things between the collegia. In the meantime you and all others are welcome to begin threads in the Collegium Linguarum on literature. We like to take a loose approach and allow our collegia to develop on their own from the input of our members. Your suggestion sounds like a very good idea for developing this collegium, and so I say just go with it.

Gratias magnas tibi ago. Vale optime
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Thanks for the excellent feedback

Postby A. Gratius Avitus on Fri Jul 07, 2006 10:19 am

Avitus Cleopatrae Piscinoque optimis suís S·P·D

Thank you very much for your excellent feedback. I look forward to Aldus Marius correcting the names of the collegia and any magistrates transferring the litterary threads to this collegium. I do think this is important to develop it as it deserves. I will of course visit any Latin written threads and start some others.

Curate ut valeatis optime!
Last edited by A. Gratius Avitus on Mon Jul 10, 2006 7:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Curio Agelastus on Sat Jul 08, 2006 12:19 pm

Salve Avite,

You make an interesting point. I would be in favour of keeping this name as it is, for the reason that there is a difference between Latin and historic Greek, and modern languages. The former may not be dead, but an effort must still be made to keep them alive. On the other hand, if the 'ancient' were to be dropped from the name, then that might be considered license to speak any language one pleased. And you know that would happen, if only because people like me have that kind of bizarre sense of humour, i nie chcesz tamtym, tak? 8)

In any case, if the new fora currently being discussed do get set up, then we might end up with a Spanish forum, and Italian forum, a German forum, a French forum, etc. In which case the name of this forum might be useful to distinguish it from those which are merely alternative language fora, as opposed to one set up for the purpose of discussing the academic side of linguistics.

Bene vale,
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Postby A. Gratius Avitus on Sat Jul 08, 2006 2:07 pm

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Curio Agelastus wrote:You make an interesting point.


Thanks.

Curio Agelastus wrote:There is a difference between Latin and historic Greek, and modern languages. The former may not be dead, but an effort must still be made to keep them alive.


I won't enter a discussion of Greek, Egyptian, Chinese or any other languages with undoubtedly ancient origins. Now, what the difference is between Latin and other modern languages would be a very long issue to discuss; and that an effort must be made to keep it alive is certainly undeniable, although of course an effort must be made to keep many other presently minoritarian languages alive too. Basically, all of this is off the point, in my humble opinion of course (see previous messages and further below).

Curio Agelastus wrote:On the other hand, if the 'ancient' were to be dropped from the name, then that might be considered license to speak any language one pleased. And you know that would happen, if only because people like me have that kind of bizarre sense of humour, i nie chcesz tamtym, tak? 8)


Of course, anyone could argue that something ridiculous could happen and then prove it by forcing it to happen themselves! This, in my opinion, is a dubious argument. To start with, if anyone were to use a language that hardly anyone else here understands or cares about they would just be making a disservice to their own self, méré khayál sé tó 8). But the language in which we communicate here is again not the issue (see below). The fact remains that the other Collegia do not include the adjective "antiquum" and yet —as it is obvious enough from the very name of the Societas Via Romana that we are in a Roman context— mainly ancient history is discussed in the Collegium Historicum, and in other colleges ancient religion, ancient philosophy, ancient art, etc. are likewise the focus of the discussion respectively. Of course, I could go to the Collegium Historicum, propose for discussion some highly controversial or even provocative point of contemporary history, completely Roman unrelated (like whether the Malouines should be British or Argentinian), and argue that it is a legitimate issue to discuss there as the title of the Collegium does not specify that posts must have any Roman or ancient interest, only an historical one. I could also then go on to say that I have a bizarre sense of humour. I for one don't think that would be funny.

Curio Agelastus wrote:In any case, if the new fora currently being discussed do get set up, then we might end up with a Spanish forum, and Italian forum, a German forum, a French forum, etc. In which case the name of this forum might be useful to distinguish it from those which are merely alternative language fora, as opposed to one set up for the purpose of discussing the academic side of linguistics.


As I indicated, you seem to be confusing on the one hand the language in which messages to the forums are sent, on which account this (as most others in the SVR except the Provincia Belgica one) is an obviously English forum (not an Italian, Polish, French, or even "ancient language" one, despite one attempted and obviously failed thread in Latin in 2004), and on the other hand the topic of the forums themselves: History [ancient], Philosophy [ancient], Languages [ancient], etc. These are two completely separate things.

Thank you for your attention.

Cura ut valeas optime!
Last edited by A. Gratius Avitus on Mon Jul 10, 2006 7:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Q Valerius on Sun Jul 09, 2006 8:12 am

I'm posting in this to give my support to this change. Everything else I address in the topic in the Comitia.
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Antiquarum?

Postby Aldus Marius on Sun Jul 09, 2006 8:49 pm

Salve, clare Avite, et Salvete omnes...

I wonder what is so wrong with "Antiquarum"...? --I don't think the Romans objected to calling a thing "ancient"; quite the reverse. The mos maiorum was ancient. The Religio Romana was ancient before anyone even thought to write about it. The older families had more auctoritas ("street cred") than the recent arrivals; and Senex was an agnomen, not an insult.

The Romans met the phenomenon of old age with gratitude, respect, and a certain amount of awe. Elders were repositories of wisdom and experience; this sounds clichéd to modern ears, but then, most of our own "community memory" is quietly rotting away in nursing-homes. There were reasons the Romans measured the saeculae the way they did: the next "age" was not declared until the last person to have seen the previous one had passed on. If that person lived to be a hundred and twelve, bene, the incoming century could wait.

Nowadays, "progress" waits for no man. We no longer value age, much less antiquity. For us, these words have connotations of burnout, physical and mental exhaustion, stasis, uselessness, obsolescence, outmodedness, fossilization, and irrelevance...for starters. But the Romans did not see it thus, and their terms for it did not have to carry all that baggage.

We could all strive to be Romans in this. I find our choice of the word "Antiquarum" to be far less regrettable than the modern Western mindset that could find such a term offensive.

In fide,
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Postby A. Gratius Avitus on Mon Jul 10, 2006 11:55 am

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I'm very much aware that our Roman ancestors had a more than positive view of the past, and I myself am quite sympathetic to the idea that ancient is often better than most people normally stop to think (although, of course, not always). I didn't need reminding of any of that, in any case, I'm sorry. The issue remains that no other college has felt the need to adopt such a glorious adjective in their names.

Cura ut valeas optime!
Last edited by A. Gratius Avitus on Mon Jul 10, 2006 7:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Curio Agelastus on Mon Jul 10, 2006 1:57 pm

Salve Avite,

To reply to a few comments, Avitus said:

"This is very poor argumentation"

Thanks.

"Of course, I could go to the Collegium Historicum, propose for discussion some highly controversial or even provocative point of contemporary history, completely Roman unrelated (like whether the Poles should abandon Silesia and return it to their German owners"

We have discussed contemporary issues before. We are not particularly uptight here. And for the record, I think Silesia should be taken from the Poles and granted to the Habsburg family, in what would be the greatest act of political irony since the Treaty of Lausanne.

"As I indicated, you seem to be confusing on the one hand the language in which messages to the forums are sent... and on the other hand the topic of the forums themselves"

I am not confusing them. I was simply pointing out that the desire for multi-lingualism might yet be satisfied if the attempts at extra fora for different languages are achieved.

The crux of my argument is that Latin is not the same as French, Polish or Italian, simply because an effort has to be made to keep the language going. The aforementioned modern languages are spoken naturally. No doubt you don't like this, but Latin *is* an ancient language. It may still have life in it (For instance, Marius takes pride in the fact that his Latin is as evolving as any language) but it is only Classical scholars and Latinophiles who speak it now. Therefore, this forum is for discussing *Ancient* languages.

That said, this isn't a particularly important point; we would probably do better to devote our attention to academic discussion.

"Thank you for teaching me so much about our ancestors. I was obviously unaware of all that."

We're a helpful bunch over here.

"The issue remains, in any case, that no other college has felt the need to adopt such a glorious adjective in their names."

This is indeed so.

Bene vale,
Marcus Scribonius Curio Agelastus.
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Postby A. Gratius Avitus on Mon Jul 10, 2006 2:24 pm

Avitus Litteratis optimis suís S·P·D

Since I am a most recent member of these forums and have not yet had the time to see to my registration as a sodalis (nor will I have until the end of August, when I come back from my holidays starting on Thursday), and as a consequence cannot participate in the Comitia where the debate, which *I* brought up, seems to have been moved, and thus removed from my own participation in it (and someone said there was no politicking in the SVR), I will add my comments here in the respective forums where I started the discussion.

Scerio wrote:I do agree, however, that Linguarum Antiquarum should be changed to Linguarum et Litterarum. I also use that convention at my forum, since undoubtedly language and literature are rarely separated. In fact, they depend on each other.


Thank you ever so much, mi Scerio. You are absolutely right.

Cleopatra wrote:I also agree with Marius that it should still be linguam antiquarum, otherwise we could discuss there also matters of English, French, Spanish and German etc. So it makes clear that it's a college for ancient language opposed to modern languages.


As I've said elsewhere, this is not the point. On such account one could say that in the Collegium Historiae one could discuss also matters of English, French, Spanish and German history, etc. And if you tell me that those matters are in fact sometimes discussed, then it is also true that English, French, Spanish and German languages, etc. should also be allowed to be discussed if they somehow illuminate some point of Latin, for instance. My point is that although this is true for all colleges, the adjective hasn't been felt necessary elsewhere.

Curate ut valeatis optime!
Last edited by A. Gratius Avitus on Mon Jul 10, 2006 7:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby A. Gratius Avitus on Mon Jul 10, 2006 2:51 pm

Avitus Agelasto optimo suo S·P·D

Curio Agelastus wrote:"Of course, I could go to the Collegium Historicum, propose for discussion some highly controversial or even provocative point of contemporary history, completely Roman unrelated (like whether the Poles should abandon Silesia and return it to their German owners"

We have discussed contemporary issues before. We are not particularly uptight here. And for the record, I think Silesia should be taken from the Poles and granted to the Habsburg family, in what would be the greatest act of political irony since the Treaty of Lausanne.


Sure. Contemporary issues, especially inasmuch as they can illustrate some aspect of antiquity, would appear to be completely legitimate. The same goes for the languages section. That's my whole point.

Curio Agelastus wrote:"As I indicated, you seem to be confusing on the one hand the language in which messages to the forums are sent... and on the other hand the topic of the forums themselves"

I am not confusing them. I was simply pointing out that the desire for multi-lingualism might yet be satisfied if the attempts at extra fora for different languages are achieved.


Well, if that's what you were trying to say, the language in which the forums are carried out is, in any case, a completely different issue.

Curio Agelastus wrote:The crux of my argument is that Latin is not the same as French, Polish or Italian, simply because an effort has to be made to keep the language going.


I acknowledged and commented on this above. There are thousands of languages in the world that need an effort to keep them going. That changes nothing in our discussion.

Curio Agelastus wrote:The aforementioned modern languages are spoken naturally. No doubt you don't like this, but Latin *is* an ancient language.


Again, you mix two different things. One is the "natural" issue and another the "ancient" one.

Latin is no longer a natural language, I grant you that as I have granted you above that it needs help to survive. At present, Latin is a "learned" language. There are many other languages known to man in that category. Classical Sanskrit, for instance, was a "learned" (i.e. no longer "natural", i.e. no longer learnt from one's mother's womb but at school) in the time of its maximum literary splendour in the 5th century. Modern standard Arabic, as heard on television, is also a "learned" language (modelled on the Qur'an, the different dialects actually spoken by the people comparing to it not unlike Spanish or Italian compare to medieval Latin). Basically, the concept of "natural" vs. "learned" has nothing to do with "modern" vs. "ancient".

The adjective "ancient" means that it has been around for thousands of years; but this adjective not only applies to Latin and Greek, it also applies to Chinese and many other languages, natural AND learned, minoritarian OR majoritarian.

Curio Agelastus wrote:It may still have life in it (For instance, Marius takes pride in the fact that his Latin is as evolving as any language) but it is only Classical scholars and Latinophiles who speak it now. Therefore, this forum is for discussing *Ancient* languages.


That it is only spoken by scholars makes Latin a "learned" (or "erudite" or "scholastic" or other adjectives that could be found) language. Being "ancient" or otherwise is a different matter. Of course Latin is "ancient", and so is Chinese. The crux of my argument though was that that adjective is completely out of place in the light of the fact that all the other colleges, which also deal with ancient history, ancient religions, ancient philosophies, etc. have not, I repeat have not, adopted it, and Latin and Greek are no more ancient than Roman history is ancient, Gnosticism is ancient or Epicureanism is ancient.

Curio Agelastus wrote:That said, this isn't a particularly important point; we would probably do better to devote our attention to academic discussion.


Completely agree here!

Curio Agelastus wrote:"The issue remains, in any case, that no other college has felt the need to adopt such a glorious adjective in their names."

This is indeed so.


Well, and that is indeed the crux of my argument.

Agelastus alicubi wrote:However, it's not that important. We've discussed linguistic trends that have included modern samples before, and we've discussed other modern issues before; since none of us is overly uptight about the fora, I don't think it matters that much.


That's up to you. As I indicated, I would definitely not like to have to continue with this discussion for much longer.

Cura ut valeas optime!
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OT: Clarification, sort of

Postby Aldus Marius on Tue Jul 11, 2006 8:12 am

Salve, Avite, et salvete iterum...

Curio amicus mentioned having sections of the Board in other languages. This wasn't really explained, but we were kicking an idea around a few days before you came.

We have, in the General category [the one containing ReadMe and the General discussion], a forum called Provincia Belgica. Belgium is home to many of our members and most of our founders, and they meet face-to-face semi-regularly. Hence, Belgium is considered to be our only Provincia. (Find or recruit enough members in your area who can get together once in a while and it could become that type of Province too.)

However, since our recent administrative restructuring, we don't really have Provinciae anymore, or machinery for recognising them. So it has been proposed to redefine the "Province" (too nifty an idea to let go!) as any community of members with a common language and the heritage that goes with. We'd have Hispano-Romans, Romanised Germans, and of course Romans-of-Rome, or at least Italy...and they needn't all be living in physical proximity to each other. The "Hispania" forum, pro exemplo, would welcome Spanish-speakers; people from Spain; people interested in Hispania Romana; people from Spanish-speaking countries; and Marius, who is a Texan, whose Mater immigrated from Venezuela, and whose roots lie firmly in Baetica. We'd talk, mostly in Spanish, mostly about Roman Spain. (I'd have to buff up my Spanish.) >({|;-)

So under this proposal there would be fora for every ancient provincia that has enough language-speakers and interested others. They would not be "just" language fora. As I understand the proposal, the common interest would be cultural, not just a desire to post in something other than English. This is, I think, what Curio meant about "extra fora for different languages". (If I'm wrong, I'm sure he'll set me straight.)

Clear as mud...?
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