Author Archives: vtomasso

Dr. Emily Wilson Talks the Odyssey at Trinity!

“Translators replace every word and syllable of the original text with entirely different ones, and also move it to an entirely different cultural context. What might it mean to perform this impossible task responsibly?”

Dr. Emiiy Wilson of the University of Pennsylvania visited Trinity’s campus on March 28 2019 and gave a talk on her translation of Homer’s Odyssey, which was published by W. W. Norton & Company in 2017. She spoke to us about how she approached the pleasures and challenges of translating the eighth-century BCE Greek epic poem and revealed that her next project is a translation of the other epic poem attributed to Homer, the Iliad!

Dr. Martha Risser of Trinity’s department of Classical Studies organized an Odyssey reading group that met several times in the months of February and March to read parts of Wilson’s translation. Dr. Vincent Tomasso (Classical Studies), Dr. Chloe Wheatley (English), Dr. Meredith Safran (Classical Studies), Dr. Lucy Fenriss (English), and Mark Hughes took turns reading from the translation.

Thank you, Dr. Wilson, for delivering such a stimulating talk and for your wonderful translation! We look forward to your future projects.

Dr. Hanne Eisenfeld speaks about ancient athletes at Trinity!


On February 26th, Dr. Hanne Eisenfeld came to Trinity to speak about the fifth-century ancient Greek poet Pindar. Her presentation comes out of research that she has done for a book project about how Pindar’s poetry allows mortal athletes to straddle the boundary between human and god. Thank you for visiting and sharing your ideas with us, Dr. Eisenfeld!

Justin Slocum Bailey speaks about Latin Pedagogy at Trinity!

On the evening of January 28, about 30 faculty and teachers of Latin from Connecticut and Massachusetts gathered at Smith House for  “Engaging the whole reader: Active Latin as a bridge between student and text,” a workshop led by Justin Slocum Bailey. Dr. Lauren Caldwell of the Classical Studies department created and put together this event. Justin is a consultant from Ann Arbor, Michigan whose work focuses on second-language acquisition and effective teaching methods. The workshop offered ideas and resources for Latin instructors to build in to their class sessions — including staged exercises for reading Latin authors such as Vergil and Cicero, spoken Latin and conversational activities, and even sign-language methods — to create a fun and productive atmosphere for students. Justin’s depth of experience in consulting for K-12 school districts and for colleges and universities made this an informative and engaging event, and feedback from attendees has been very positive. We thank the Mellon Foundation and the Classical Association of New England for making the workshop possible, and look forward to more opportunities to learn from Justin’s creative and dynamic approach.

Dr. Poe on Amazons at Trinity!


On Tuesday March 12th Dr. Alison Poe of the Art History & Visual Culture department at Fairfield University delivered an AIA lecture at Trinity on the all-female warrior tribe, the Amazons. By examining several art objects from the later Roman Empire (primarily from the fifth and sixth centuries CE), she argued that imagery that incorporated Amazons at this time stressed the Amazons’ connection with luxury and exotic locales. This contrasts with their association with savagery and anti-civilization in earlier periods of antiquity.

Thank you to the co-sponosors of this event: the AIA-Hartford chapter, the department of Classical Studies, the department of Art History, and the program in Women, Gender, & Sexuality.

Dr. Miller on Etruscans at Trinity!

On February 12th, Dr. Paul Miller, president of the Denver chapter of the AIA and professional archaeology, spoke to us about the two divergent ideas for the origins of the Etruscans, a group of people who lived in northern Italy before the coming of the Romans and during their conquest of the Italian peninsula. Thank you for your enthusiastic engagement with us, Dr. Miller!

“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.”