Author Archives: vtomasso

“Democracy: Ancient Athens” at Trinity!

This coming J-Term at Trinity, Prof. Lauren Caldwell will be leading a course that will have students learn about ancient Greek history and politics through a role-playing game!

Prof. Caldwell’s class will be re-creating the struggle to decide the political system in ancient Athens at a critical juncture in its history: 403 BCE. In that year, the Peloponnesian War came to a startling conclusion when the Athenians were finally defeated by the Spartans. The city was in chaos, torn by a civil struggle between the government imposed by the victorious Spartans, an oligarchy (ancient Greek: “rule by the few”) called the Thirty Tyrants and a rebel group that wanted the city to be a democracy (ancient Greek: “power of the people”).

Students will play a specific role in this historical context and together determine the course of history!

Dr. Caldwell’s “Democracy: Ancient Athens” course will meet for eight class sessions (Mondays through Thursdays) from 10:00AM-12:30PM from 1/7/19 through 1/18/19 for 0.5 credits.

Paideia visits Trinity!

Dr. Jason Pedicone gave a presentation at Trinity on his founding of the Paideia Institute for Humanistic Study, Inc. on September 25 2018. One of the Paideia Institute’s missions is to bring Latin and Greek into secondary schools were those languages are not offered, and Prof. Lauren Caldwell is doing just that. This semester, she spearheaded a program with her Latin students to introduce Latin to the students at the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA) school, just steps way from Trinity.

Prof. Caldwell is continuing this effort in the spring semester of 2019.. f you’re interested in being a part of this project and bringing Latin to the students of the HMTCA, you can earn 0.25 academic credit by joining Prof. Caldwell’s LATIN 105 course in spring 2019! Contact Prof. Caldwell for further details. It would be ideal for you to have some background in the Latin language, whether in high school or here at Trinity.

2019 Seniors Present!

Guest blogger: Morgan Hallow

Trinity College’s Classical Studies senior majors presented their final research projects on Tuesday, December 4, 2018. The four seniors did research on these projects for almost six weeks leading up to these presentations and each will write a longer paper that will go into more depth into their respective topics.

Amelia Roberts presented on the darker side of the mythology of Aphrodite. She focused on the Homeric Hymns as well as Hesiod’s creation story from Theogony to show how modern-day conceptions of Aphrodite as simply the “goddess of love” omit the ancient understanding of the goddess as a chaotic, almost primordial, force.

Morgan Hallow discussed references to classical mythology employed in the plays of Shakespeare. She used an example of a reference from Shakespeare’s As You Like It to show the complex relationship between the characters within the play, their individual understanding of classics, and how use of references to classical mythology becomes a competition of social standing.

Katherine Novko shared her interest in the relationship between Wedgwood ceramics and social mobility during the Victorian Era in Great Britain. She explored the similarities between Wedgwood’s designs and those from antiquity, specifically ancient Greece. Ultimately these objects, according to Novko, are used to signify knowledge of the ancient world and would thereby function as a means of signifying class status.

Thayer King narrated the movement of the Euphronios Krater from its alleged origin site, to its short stay at the Metropolitan Museum, until its eventual and compulsory return to the rightful owner: Italy. King was also interested in the various international laws concerning the looting of historically significant archeological sites and the impact thereby created in doing so both from an economic viewpoint as well as from a scholarly viewpoint.


Professional translator Dr. Diane Arson Svarlien visited Trinity’s campus on October 22 2018 to deliver the annual Moore lecture for the promotion of Greek. Her lecture was entitled “Made of Words: Euripides’ Helen and the Art of Verse Translation”, and in it she talked to a large audience of students and faculty about the opportunities and challenges of rendering Euripides’ poetry into English verse for her Hackett-published translation of the Helen, Ion, and Orestes.

She also visited Greek 102 to discuss the different ways of translating the Greek of Euripides into English, and she offered the “Try Greek!” workshop that introduced first-year students to the joys of ancient Greek. Thank you, Dr. Arnson Svarlien!

Ardyn Allessie interned with a law firm!

You can do so many different things with a Classical Studies major/minor at Trinity College. Here’s a great example of that: Classical Studies minor Ardyn Allessie (’19), with the support of Prof. Lauren Caldwell, used her experiences in Classical Studies courses when she interned with the law firm Messing & Spector LLC in the summer of 2018. This is her experience in her own words:

Ardyn Allessie with Latin Club at HMTCA, November 2018

“In the summer of 2018, I had the pleasure of interning for Noah Messing, a full-time member of the faculty at Yale Law School and founding partner of the law firm Messing & Spector LLC. Professor Lauren Caldwell in the Department of Classical Studies at Trinity had given my name to Noah, who was seeking an undergraduate with good research and writing skills for summer work in his firm. Professor Caldwell recommended me for the attention to detail I had shown in taking Latin at Trinity and serving as a teaching assistant for Latin 101 and 102.

During my internship, I was there to help Noah with whatever he needed. From designing business cards to renewing bar memberships, I was his right hand. Noah traveled often, so we decided that it would make the most sense for me to work remotely. He is based out of Yale, in New Haven, Connecticut and I worked from New York City. Noah’s law office is in Midtown, so I had to go there a few times as well. I enjoyed the new experience of remote working, as the concept had never previously crossed my mind.

The summer internship allowed me to put into practice time management skills, organizational skills, attention to detail, self-discipline when no one was watching over me, and an ongoing virtual dialogue with my boss. Noah also taught me the importance of a constant communication to make sure that we were on the same page, and the importance of asking clarifying questions even though I was a bit intimidated.

The workload itself came from all angles. One day I would be helping Noah join the Bar of the Federal Court of Claims; the next day I was scheduling appointments to get a new water pump in his car; the following day I was researching metrics on used car sales. I even researched class actions relative to labor laws, California advisory opinions — and I also found all Japanese restaurants with one or more Michelin stars!

Given the wide variety of the tasks Noah asked me to complete, I needed to learn to always think outside the box and keep an open mind. I gained the confidence to tackle topics I have never heard of or knew nothing about.

The bottom line is that through my internship, I sharpened my communication and research skills and gained a new sense of confidence in my abilities. Most importantly I gained an amazing mentor for life in Noah Messing.”

Trinity students present at the first annual CTW symposium!

Guest bloggers: Morgan Hallow and Philip Jaeggi-Wong

On Saturday November 10th, 2018 Trinity College hosted the first annual CTW undergraduate symposium. Students from Trinity College, Connecticut College, and Wesleyan University presented their work. There were four students total on the ancient text panel, with two presentations on Biblical studies topics and two on classical studies topics.

Apollo and Daphne by André Le Nôtre, 1693

Benjamin Sarraile, a senior from Wesleyan University, discussed the various choices he made while creating his own translation of Homer’s Iliad. Sarraile is specifically interested in how the poetry of older translations has slowed down the tempo or speed present in the original Greek; in his translation, Sarraile aimed to trade poetry for tempo so as to keep in line with the speed of epic poetry. Morgan Hallow, a senior from Trinity College, presented her paper on the role of Cupid in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. She argued that Cupid’s power of desire takes full control over the poem and itself is what prevented Ovid from writing an epic akin to the Iliad or Virgil’s Aeneid.

Jean-Germain Drouais, The Canaanite Woman, 1763

Peter Teel, a sophomore from Trinity College, discussed the organization of the Old Testament and the way in which its narratives were composed from various sources in Biblical history. He focused on the role of King Josiah in the creation of the Book of Deuteronomy and its designation as a text written by Moses in order to effect reform in his kingdom. Philip Jaeggi-Wong, also a sophomore at Trinity, called into question the traditional view of Catholic Christianity as being based on the universal mission of Jesus. He argued that the gospels suggest a more partisan Jesus, whose idea of his own mission changes through his different encounters with Jews and Gentiles in his ministry in Judea.

Well done, everyone, and congratulations!

Ancient chemistry with Dr. Koh!

Guest post by Aiden Dumas

On Tuesday October 30 2018, we were pleased to welcome Professor Andrew Koh, a Senior Research Fellow at MIT, who gave an insightful lecture on organic residue analysis and the study of human history. Afterwards, Dr. Koh visited one of our First-Year Seminars (Medicine and Health in Ancient Rome, taught by Professor Caldwell) and let us in on the ins and outs of the culture of research labs and explained how classical studies can give us a unique perspective on our own time by providing a platform of data for us to examine the social, political, and legal ramifications of subjects such as environmental fluctuation. Just as we are now facing a troubled global climate altered by excessive human interference, Dr. Koh reminded us that the Romans too had instances of this phenomenon in their history. For example, by studying the Romans’ harvesting of millions of marine snails to make their coveted regal purple dyes, we can draw parallels to modern overfished aquatic populations such as tuna, and take lessons from how the Romans dealt with these resource shortages. Thank you for the insightful visit, Dr. Koh!

Excavate at Akko, Israel this summer!

This summer Dr. Martha Risser will be excavating the ancient site of Akko, Israel, and she would love for Trinity students to join her!

You will receive academic credit for participating in the dig for a month: CLCV 300 (2 credits). Your work there can be tailored to your specific interests: GIS, metallurgy, economy–the sky’s the limit!

Here is the link that gives instructions about how to apply: The deadline to apply is March 15.

Dr. Julie Hruby speaks about the Palace of Nestor!

“Mycenaeans were kind of lushes.”

On Thursday September 13 2018, Dr. Julie Hruby of Dartmouth College’s Department of Classics came to Trinity’s campus to deliver the first AIA lecture of the 2018-2019 season. In her cleverly-titled talk, “Ashes, Ashes, They All Fell Down: A New Theory About the Destruction of the Mycenaean Palace of Nestor”, Dr. Hruby looked at older ideas about why Bronze-Age  Greek palaces were destroyed at the end of the twelfth century BCE, concluding that destruction by invaders was not a sufficient explanation. Presenting historical seismic maps of the area, she asserted that earthquakes and subsequent fires were responsible for the Palace of Nestor’s demise.

Dr. Hruby presented to a packed house of faculty, students, and AIA community members. It was a great interdisciplinary success, with Environmental Science, Chemistry, Classical Studies, and others present. Thank you, Dr. Hruby!