ElderCollege course covers antiquity’s major authors

Preparation readies student for Greek, Roman literature study.

By Marlene Robertson

It all started with a phone call to John Edwards, instructor for the Greeks and Romans course.

I wanted permission to visit one of his classes and find out what I should read to prepare and avoid looking like a total weenie.

The way I figured, the Romans conquered and pillaged, then fiddled while Rome burned, and the Greeks were God-like and held orgies.

What else was there to know?

In truth, it wasn’t quite that simple. Edwards recommended that I purchase A Loeb Classical Library Reader, so away I went to the VIU Bookstore and brought it home. Gulp.

The first paragraph of the preface reads: “This selection of lapidary nuggets drawn from 33 of antiquity’s major authors includes poetry, dialogue, philosophical writing, history, descriptive reporting, satire, and fiction – giving a glimpse of the wide range of arts and sciences, styles and convictions, of Greco-Roman culture.”

The left hand page was in either Greek or Latin, and the right was an English translation. Now I’m thinking I’ve really bitten off more than I can chew.

But, I surprised myself.  As I got into the book, I became totally immersed and caught up in the lapidary nuggets. But how would I fare in the class?

Edwards reminded me somewhat of Abraham Lincoln, who I understand was quite the orator with a wicked sense of humour. As it turns out, so is John.

When you walk into a classroom and ask the students why they are taking the course, and they say without exception ‘because of the instructor’, you have to know you’re in for something special. Believe me, I wasn’t disappointed.

He talked about epicureans, stoics and cynics, and explained when you have a stoic cynic, things get pretty interesting.

Apparently, many believed this was the best way to go through life, and that life included following nature and believing that less was better. Even way back then, some people took their beliefs to the extreme and practiced ostentatious simplicity.

Cynic is a Greek word for dog and it seems some of these dudes ran around naked acting like mad dogs. Who said history is boring?

A colleague of Edwards’s, Peter Orme, spoke on the theological implications of the Roman conquest of the Citadel (Masada) built by Herod the Great. It was a thoughtful and thought provoking talk, and just like that, the class was over. I wanted more.

Watch for the new ElderCollege fall calendar, check out Edwards’s courses and sign up early.  You won’t be disappointed.

Be sure to visit our website at www.viu.eldercollege and enter your contact information. This will put you on the ElderCollege mailing list which includes the calendar of courses offered and updated information of what ElderCollege is up to.

For more information call 1-866-734-6252 or e-mail pqcampus@viu.ca.

Now where did I leave my toga?

Just Posted

Nanaimo rapper Sirreal plays the Port Theatre on June 25. (Photo courtesy Alanna Morton)
Nanaimo rapper Sirreal and friends play the Port Theatre

Live-streamed concert the second in venue’s Discovery Series highlighting local artists

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement, stating that Nanaimo will see temperatures between five-10 degrees above seasonal the next two days. (News Bulletin file)
Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement, stating that Nanaimo will see temperatures between five-10 degrees above normal the next two days. (News Bulletin file)
Heat wave will see Nanaimo temperatures rise 5-10 degrees above normal

Sun with highs of 28 C forecast by Environment Canada for Harbour City on Sunday and Monday

According to a staff report, Regional District of Nanaimo has seen some $13.6 million in grant applications approved between Jan. 1 and May 15. (News Bulletin file)
Close to $14 million in money granted to RDN in first half of year

Successful grants include more than $4 million for transit service in Regional District of Nanaimo

A section of the rail corridor on Vancouver Island. (Black Press file photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Put rail trail right overtop of the tracks

Removing tracks would be a horrendous expense, says letter writer

District of Lantzville Mayor Mark Swain, left, and Snaw-Naw-As Chief Gordon Edwards sign a memorandum of understanding outside Snaw-Naw-As Market on Friday, June 18. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Lantzville and Snaw-Naw-As sign memorandum of understanding

District and First Nation create joint working group

Robin Dutton, left, and Peter Sinclair are taking their mountain bikes and travelling down trails in the Mount Benson area June 19 as part of a 24-hour fundraiser benefiting Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Full-day mountain bike fundraiser gives financial support for Nanaimo food bank

Event part of Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank’s Food 4 Summer campaign

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding partnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read