Rome, around the time of Constantine:
There’s been a lot of discussion recently about where Homer’s Ithaca (i.e., the island ruled by Odysseus) actually is. I feel that many dismiss the island currently called Ithaki, off the west coast of Greece, in favor of Cephalonia, a much bigger island to the west of Ithaki. Nicholas Kristof, an Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times, reports on a different theory: that Homer’s Ithaca is actually a peninsula called Paliki on the western part of Cephalonia, and that some time in the last couple of thousand years, geological activity filled in the strait separating the two islands. This idea is being trumpeted by Robert Bittlestone, a British businessman.
It’s an interesting theory, and reminds me so much of how Heinrich Schleimann discovered Troy, by using Homer’s own words to figure out the best place.
The video is enough to make me want to leave Maine in March and travel back to Greece. If you don’t have time to read the article, at least spend the five minutes watching the video here.
FOR a nation like ours that is seeking its way home from 10 years of war, maybe there’s a dash of inspiration in the oldest tale of homecoming ever — “The Odyssey” — and in new findings that shed stunning light on it.
Homer recounts Odysseus’s troubled journey back from a military entanglement abroad, the decade-long Trojan War. “The Odyssey” is a singular tale of longing for homeland, but it comes with a mystery: Where exactly is Odysseus’s beloved land of Ithaca?
Homer describes Odysseus’s Ithaca as low-lying and the westernmost island of four. That doesn’t fit modern Ithaca, which is mountainous and the easternmost of the cluster of islands in the Ionian Sea.
The new year brings with it some additions to the website. I have added a new video page on the origins of Roman numerals. There are some interesting theories out there, including one that I personally have been taught that is likely wrong. The right place to look for where Roman numerals came from is with the Etruscans and their tally-based numbering system. It’s an interesting topic, and one which I encourage you to check out.
I have also been asked about how to purchase and download these videos. I more than encourage you to watch them for free through YouTube, and that is why I have just embedded the video code on this website. However, there may be times when you would want to watch the videos without advertisements, or when you are offline. Also, some schools block YouTube (for shame!), but that doesn’t mean students can’t learn in school from these videos. For that reason, I have created a store where you can purchase individual videos for just 99 cents each through the end of February. Payment is safe and secure with a credit card through PayPal (and you don’t even need to have a PayPal account to purchase them). I like using PayPal because you know that I will not see your credit card information, nor do you need to worry about a hacker getting access to your money. I settled on 99 cents (original price $1.99) because of the amount of time needed to research, write, and create the videos. It’s not an easy process, and the high quality does come at a cost.
If you want access to the entire library, you can purchase all current and future videos for just $25 (again, through the end of February). Once you have created an account here, you will have access to your past purchases, including the entire library file in perpetuum if you have bought it. So your $25 will save a lot of money in the future. Of course, you can always give a donation.
Thanks for your support!
So, truth be told, the website for Latintutorial.com hasn’t been a priority (but I told you as much, right?). However, the new year demands that this gets a new skin. I have moved over much of the past content, and even updated a few of the pages for new videos (currently at 26 and counting, and I have a few more in the works). So even though I haven’t focused much on this part of the hobby, I figured it still was worth spending some time figuring out how it can best be used. More later…
Now that we’ve officially gone live with the site (you’ll notice that by going to latintutorial.com, you get to our main page, rather than the coming soon section), I am going to discuss our website’s goals. Or, goal, really: CONTENT.
That’s easy enough. Over the next year, content will be the primary focus. And since the philosophy of this website is that instruction is best given dynamically and through multiple channels, the focus within content will be creating and expanding our videos. As of this post, there are currently 19 videos on these pages, with over 100 minutes of Latin instruction. Ideally, we would have over 50 videos by next summer, and over 100 (?!) by the end of the next one after that.
Of course, this focus will necessarily come at the cost of somethings. While we will put up our videos in their own pages for the website, it will not be a priority to include the extra, like the written description or the quizzes. As well, some parts of this site are more of a hobby than a priority, like the Vergil page (which soon may turn into a generic Latin Authors page) and the scansion practice.
So for now, expect more video content in the coming months. Then after that, there will be more of a focus on perfecting this site.
This is the first post for Latintutorial.com, and I hope this is the beginning of something pretty grand. The goal of this site is to provide a resource for students and teachers in Latin classes throughout the world. And so you will see lots of videos and other semi-interactive features to aid in understanding and explaining Latin.
I have just a few notes to make in this first post: