Canadian Classical Bulletin/Bulletin Canadien des Etudes Anciennes

13.12      2007 08 15      ISSN 1198-9149


Editors/Rédacteurs: J. W. Geyssen (University of New Brunswick):

Michael P. Fronda (McGill University):

Renaud Gagné (McGill University):





Published by e-mail by the Classical Association of Canada/

Publié par courrier électronique par la société canadienne des études classiques



President: James Murray (University of New Brunswick, Fredericton)

Secretary/ Secrétaire: Patrick Baker (Université Laval)

Treasurer/ Trésorier: Annabel Robinson (University of Regina)


[1] Association Announcements
[2] Positions Available
[3] Calls for Papers

[1] Association Announcements

From: John Porter

2007 Sight Translation Competitions

The 2007 Sight Translation Competitions were held on January 15 (high school Latin papers), January 18 (Latin papers), and January 25 (Greek papers). Following last year’s practice, I continued to rely a great deal on electronic media in advertising the competitions and delivering the scripts.

Once again, submissions that arrived after the stated deadline were disqualified. As in my comments from last year, I would urge that institutions establish some regular system for dealing with the competitions.

I would like to thank Thomas Schmidt of Laval University for generously volunteering his assistance again this year. Professor Schmidt provided invaluable service over the winter in helping me to proofread material and in crafting the script that was employed in the competition and in my correspondence with the winners.

Thanks are also due to Michael Swan for helping me to select a passage for the Senior Latin competition on the spur of the moment last December, when one of our volunteers was forced to withdraw his services.

As the following figures indicate, submissions were once again down in comparison to the previous year, with the exception of the high school competition. I do not at present have a mechanism in place to record the number of students who attempt a passage but decline to submit their translations: my general sense, however, is that this group is quite small in number.

2007 Submissions:
Jr. Greek: 43* (2006: 59; 2005: 72; 2004: 71; 2003: 54) [late/disqualified submissions: 2]
Sr. Greek: 23* (2006: 32*; 2005: 32; 2004: 28; 2003: 28) [late/disqualified submissions: 2]
Jr. Latin: 80* (2006: 90; 2005: 123; 2004: 113; 2003: 61) [late/disqualified submissions: 5]
Sr. Latin: 64* (2006: 68; 2005: 80; 2004: 69; 2003: 47) [late/disqualified submissions: 3]
High School Latin: 114 (2006: 76*; 2005: 72; 2004: 54; 2003: 78)

*includes late/disqualified applications in the tally

The results are as follows:


John Harmar, Praxis Grammatica 593 (adapted)
114 entries
Examiner: Catherine Mori, St George’s School (Vancouver)

• 1st Prize: Zoë Belk (Centennial Collegiate)
• 2nd Prize: Kind-Ron So (Collège Brébeuf)
• 3rd Prize: Allegra Fryxell (Centennial Collegiate)
• Honourable Mention: Jou Glasheen (Bishop Strachan School) and Zesheng Chen (Collège Brébeuf)

Examiner’s comments:

This year’s batch of 114 entries from various Canadian high school Latin programmes showed promise indeed. The majority of the entrants were able to understand the gist of the story (“Scipio Nasica visits the poet Ennius”) but the more intricate grammatical details were not fully grasped by most. Of particular interest to the marker were the francophone group, which on the whole acquitted itself most admirably in a gracious and idiomatic French. Details which caused some difficulty for the competitors included the present participle in the dative, certain forms of the pronoun is, quidem (which was mistaken for idem), at (which was confused with et) and the rather complicated indirect discourse sentences (with accusative subject). All in all, the exam was a pleasure to set and mark. The exam was of correct difficulty and clear winners were easily chosen.


Lysias, Contra Simon 3.7 -10
41 entries
Examiner: Judith Fletcher, Wilfrid Laurier University

Recipients of the Margaret H. Thomson Prizes:

• 1st Prize: Leon Grek (McGill)
• 2nd Prize: Andrew Cleland (McGill)
• 3rd Prize: Ingrid Mourtialon (University of Montreal)

Examiner’s comments:

There were forty-one submissions, most of which were complete in some form or another. There was a considerable gap between the performances of the top two contestants and the rest of the submissions. The first sentence posed the most serious difficulties for nearly all of the contestants who had problems with the combination of result clause (i.e. “such a pitch of arrogance that ....”), a prin + infinitive construction, and several participles. Over half the contestants were confused about the genitives in line 9 (i.e. “missed me, but hit the forehead of Aristocrates”).

Livy 16.1-3
75 entries
Examiner: David Meban, Campion College, University of Regina

Recipients of the Margaret H. Thomson Prizes:

• 1st Prize: Jonathan Weiss (UBC)
• 2nd Prize: Marc Umba (University of Montreal)
• 3rd Prize: April Ross (Waterloo)
• Honourable Mention: Elizabeth Ferch (Queen’s) and Laurence de Tilly Dion (University of Montreal)

Examiner’s comments:

My goal in setting the exam this year was to provide students with a challenging passage (Livy 16.1-3), but at the same time to assist their efforts through a relatively short translation, a detailed introduction and ample vocabulary and grammar help. The winners of the competition, along with a fair number of individuals who fell just short of placing, did solid jobs of translating the passage. Indeed, the first, second, and third place entries demonstrated very good translation skills for a junior level examination. A large number of entries, however, had difficulty with the passage and in hindsight I perhaps wish I had chosen an easier passage. (I offer this for future examiners.)

I do not believe I have to go into specific details of the passage to convey to other educators the difficulties students encountered. Many of the usual problems presented themselves. When reading the exams, however, it became clear to me once again that we must strive to do a better job in preparing students for sight translation exams (and thus translation in general). I offer the following as examples of what I mean. Many students did not make full use of the vocabulary provided. A great number, for example, translated patribus as fathers, even though it is translated as “senators” in the vocabulary. More than a few students, moreover, left blank spaces in place of words they did not know – but often these too could be found in the vocabulary section of the examination. Also, students frequently seemed to abandon basic elements of grammar which they no doubt were thoroughly familiar with. With the opening phrase his immortalibus editis operibus, for instance, many students translated editis as a second person, and consequently understood immortalibus operibus as accusatives. Lastly, students often provided translations of sentences that clearly made no sense at all. From our time in the classroom these problems are familiar to us all. What makes them so frustrating is not only that our students are capable of so much better, but also that these problems can be easily addressed. I include these remarks as a simple reminder that in addition to the usual focus on grammar, syntax and vocabulary, we should continually incorporate into our teaching a greater emphasis on some of the different techniques and strategies needed to be successful at sight translation.

Thucydides, Histories 1.23.1-3
21 entries
Examiner: Vayos Liapis, Centre d’études classiques, Université de Montréal

• 1st Prize: Michael Bonner (University of Toronto)
• 2nd Prize: Andrew Murdison (Queen’s University)
• 3rd Prize: Yuriy Lozynsky (York University)
• Honourable Mention: Janet Mowat (University of Winnipeg), Nathan Sawatzky (University of Winnipeg)

Examiner’s comments:

Of the twenty-one papers submitted for the Senior Greek Translation Contest, only five, I felt, could be seriously considered for a distinction. Predictably, they were the five submissions that I selected for prizes and honourable mentions. The first prize was the one that immediately stood out for accuracy, elegance and an impressively acute feeling for Thucydidean Greek. Prizes 2 and 3 were of approximately equal quality (although with rather serious defects), but I eventually decided that 2 was slightly better than 3. As for the two honourable mentions, they did have serious flaws, but I felt they stood out from the rest. A particularly disappointing feature of this year’s Senior Greek contest was that there were no French submissions at all.

Here are some general remarks regarding the overall quality of this year’s submissions:

1. <G>PRO/TERON</G> was all too often confused with <G>PRW=TON</G> and translated, accordingly, as “firstly,” “first,” “first of all,” etc.
2. <G>KRI/SIN</G> was all too often translated “crisis” rather than “outcome.”
3. A surprisingly small number of students was able to translate <G>MH=KOS</G> correctly.
4. <G>LHFQEI=SAI</G> was almost always (with, I think, only one exception) confused with <G>LEIFQEI=SAI</G> and translated, accordingly, “abandoned.”
5. A surprisingly large number of students thought that <G>A)NTIPOLEMOU/NTWN<G> referred to anti-war protests!
6. Only one entry (the first prize) translated the parenthesis correctly (EI)SI\ D’ AI(\ KAI\ OI)KH/TORAS METE/BALON A(LISKO/MENAI)
7. <G>TA/ TE PRO/TERON AKOH=| ME\N LEGO/MENA, E)/RGW| DE\ SPANIW/TERON BEBAIOU/MENA OU)K A)/PISTA KATE/STH</G> was translated correctly by only one student (the first prize).
8. A large number of students failed to translate correctly <G>PUKNO/TERAI</G>.

Finally, I share the disappointment of some of my predecessors at the fact that an alarmingly large number of submissions contained whole chunks of nonsensical English. We should point out to students, in the strongest terms possible, that if the English/French rendering makes no sense, then it cannot be accurate.

Q. Curtius Rufus, Historiae Alexandri Magni Macedonis 3.12.1-12
61 entries
Examiner: John Porter, University of Saskatchewan (with the assistance of P.M. Swan)

• 1st Prize: Emilia Barbiero (University of Toronto)
• 2nd Prize: Yuriy Lozynsky (York University)
• 3rd Prize: Catherine Émond (University of Montreal)
• Honourable Mention: Marc Umba (University of Montreal); Leon Grek (McGill University)

Examiner’s comments:

This was an extremely challenging passage to mark. Of the 61 entries, the top 7-8 were extremely close, with the top 4-5 representing in many ways a photo-finish. While the passage was felt to be overly lengthy by some instructors, relatively few students seem to have had difficulty completing their translations, and the fact that so many did relatively well suggests that, despite the often inelegant nature of the Latin, the passage was cast at about the right level. The main disadvantage is that, in a passage of such length, it was almost inevitable that the wheels would fall off every student’s translation at some point, which was exactly what occurred. On the other hand, this might also suggest a certain arbitrariness in the use of shorter passages for such competitions, where quite good students might simply not clue into the syntax or vocabulary of the particular lines they have been given.

Some features that were expected to cause difficulty and did:

3: quibus maxime adsueverat
7: captivis (fem.)
9: spadonibus
9-11: amiculum quod Dareus ... detractum esse
18: rati actum esse de dominis
27-28: apparatu pristinae fortunae reginas fore

Features that routinely caused more difficulties than one might have expected:

2: paulo ante a suis capta
4: epulantes
9: forte
9: ipsarum
19-20: qui occiderent [rel. clause of purpose: often translated literally without a clear sense that its significance was understood]
23-24: quod irrupisse non admissus videbatur
25: ipsis
27: non ... modo
27: incolumes

In general, the passage displayed the features that I have found most desirable for such a competition: a general narrative or philosophical argument of appropriate complexity that employs an appropriate vocabulary, that is content neutral (i.e., that does not accord an undue advantage to a student who happens to have taken a particular course or to have read a particular work, and for which the necessary context can be provided in an introductory note), and that challenges students to pay close attention to the use of subordinate clauses, circumstantial participles, and the like. No one would cite the passage as a model of Latin prose style — the compulsive use of pluperfect indicatives was particularly irksome, although this led to confusion only in one or two instances — but otherwise it seems to have met the goal of presenting a text that virtually no student would have seen before and that all could think their way into by paying careful attention to the evolving context.

I would like to thank all of the examiners for the time and energy that they have put into this year’s competitions, and for their excellent work.

The list of winners will be posted on the CAC WWW site ( and, as will a list of this year’s passages (with links to pdf versions of the examination papers).

Respectfully submitted,
John Porter

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[2] Positions Available

From: Chair of Classics <>

The Department of Classics at the University of Toronto is soliciting applications for a tenure-stream position at the rank of assistant professor, to be filled by a Greek historian with expertise in material culture (e.g., sites, artefacts, archaeology, epigraphy, papyrology). The successful applicant will have demonstrated excellence in research and teaching, and will be expected to contribute to a growing and research-intensive doctoral programme (which includes a flourishing collaborative program in ancient history) and to a thriving undergraduate programme in Greek, Latin, and Classical Civilization; an ability to teach Greek prose authors at all levels is required. The department welcomes a wide range of methods and innovative approaches in the study of history and is particularly interested in candidates who combine a thorough training in Classics with an interest in other disciplines in the humanities or social sciences. The Department of Classics cooperates closely with the departments of Art History, Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, and Anthropology, among others.

The appointment will begin 1 July 2008; an appropriate doctoral degree must have been earned by that date. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. Applications should include: a curriculum vitae, a sample of academic writing, evidence of excellence in teaching, and a short description of the applicant’s current research plans. Applicants should also arrange to have three letters of recommendation sent to: Greek History Search Committee, Dept. of Classics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada M5S 1A1. To ensure full consideration, the application and all supporting documentation should be received by November 1, 2007.

The University of Toronto is strongly committed to diversity within its community. The University especially welcomes applications from visible minority group members, women, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, members of sexual minority groups and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

Any enquiries about the application should be sent to

From: Rohini Wittke

University of Toronto
Department of Art 6040 Sidney Smith Hall 100 St. George Street Toronto, ON M5S 3G3 Canada


Position Title/Rank: Assist/Assoc Professor
Division: Faculty of Arts and Science
Department: Art
Deadline: November 19, 2007

Job Description: The Department of Art at the University of Toronto, St. George Campus, invites applications for an Assistant/Associate Professor, tenure stream, in the field of Greek Art. Start date for this position is July 1, 2008.
Applicants must have a PhD and must demonstrate a strong record of excellence in teaching and research. The successful candidate will be expected to play an important role in undergraduate and graduate level academic programs, both within the Department of Art and in cooperation with cognate fields.

The Department of Art has a specialist in Roman art and is currently searching for an endowed chair in the area of Aegean Prehistory.

Salary is commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Please send all applications and inquiries to and arrange to have three letters of reference sent directly to:

Professor Mark Cheetham
Search Committee, Greek Art
Department of Art,
100 St. George Street, Room 6040
University of Toronto
Toronto, ON M5S 3G3 Canada

Applications should include curriculum vitae, a statement outlining current and future research interests. Publications could be sent in hard copy, although electronic editions are preferred. Closing date for applications is November 19, 2007.

We offer opportunities to work in many collaborative programs, including Aboriginal, Canadian, environmental, ethno-cultural, sexual diversity, gender and women's studies. The University of Toronto offers the opportunity to teach, conduct research and live in one of the most diverse cities in the world.

The University of Toronto is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from visible minority group members, women, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, members of sexual minority groups, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

From: Sonja Bermingham

University of Victoria
Department of Greek and Roman Studies
Assistant Professor in Latin Language and Literature

The Department of Greek and Roman Studies invites applications for a tenure track position in Latin Language and Literature. We are seeking to make the appointment at the rank of Assistant Professor. Applicants should hold the PhD and be demonstrably active in research and publishing. The successful applicant should be able to offer a broad range of courses in Latin literature, to introduce innovative courses related to his/her research areas, and to teach Latin at all levels of the undergraduate and graduate curriculum. In addition, the successful candidate should be willing to supervise MA students concentrating on Latin literature and to participate in other relevant components of our MA program. Applications from candidates who situate their research at the intersection of literature and society will be particularly welcome. The Department is strongly committed to both excellence and equity and, in consideration of the Department’s equity plan, women are especially encouraged to apply. We are also committed to increasing the diversity of approaches and perspectives in teaching and research. A willingness to contribute to the life and growth of the Department is essential. The appointment will commence on July 1, 2008. Please send a letter of application and curriculum vitae to the Chair by November 16, 2007. In addition, three references should be asked to send confidential letters to the Chair by November 16, 2007.

Cedric Littlewood
Chair, Department of Greek and Roman Studies
P.O. Box 3045, STN CSC
University of Victoria
Victoria, BC V8W 3P4

Telephone: (250) 721-8515
Fax: (250) 721-8516

The University of Victoria is an equity employer and encourages applications from women, persons with disabilities, visible minorities, Aboriginal Peoples, people of all sexual orientations and genders, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of the University.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, in accordance with Canadian Immigration requirements, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

From: Colleen Parish


The Department of History and Classics Program invites applications for a tenure-track position at the rank of assistant professor in Latin Literature, effective 1 August 2008. The successful candidate should hold a PhD by time of appointment, and show promise of excellence in teaching and scholarly research. The ability to teach undergraduate and graduate courses is required. A letter of application, curriculum vitae, one-page statement of teaching philosophy, and three confidential letters of reference should be sent to Professor Catherine LeGrand, Chair, Department of History, McGill University, 855 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3A 2T7. The application deadline is 1 November 2007. We will conduct interviews at the January 2008 meeting of the American Philological Association in Chicago.
We encourage all qualified people to apply, but Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority. McGill University is committed to equity in employment. English is the language of instruction at McGill, but knowledge of French is an asset.

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[3] Calls for Papers

From: C W Marshall

The Technologies of Memory:
Latin Literature and the Preservation of the Past

The 2008 Pacific Rim Latin Literature Seminar will be held at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, from Tuesday to Friday, August 26-29, 2008.

The creation of literature is governed by forms and by media, and this inevitably shapes the nature of the work created. Literature is constantly created, revised, quoted, adapted, interpreted, and lost: all of these processes are governed by literary technologies. From the length of a line of verse to the size of a papyrus roll to the use of slaves to read texts aloud, specific technologies associated with literacy shape perceptions of Roman literary identity, and affect the interpretation of individual works. Proposals are invited for 20-minute papers that deal with the intersection of Latin literature and the mechanics of literary production and reception, broadly conceived. Possible areas of investigation include the following:
- the role of libraries in the Roman world
- para-literary documents, created as a byproduct of other literary endeavours
- the transmission of authors through the manuscript tradition, the printing press, and the internet
- bilingualism and Roman literature
- the relationship of books to larger works (as in epic), and other aspects of poetic structure
- epigraphic verse, and other forms of public writing and material culture
- the circulation of ancient literary texts
- the influence of the codex
- "reading" in all its forms in antiquity
- the reception of Latin literature in later centuries

As is usual for the PacRim Latin Seminar, there will be plentiful entertainment beyond the conference papers, including a performance of Hosidius Geta's Medea and a conference dinner. Details on accommodation will follow later.

Abstracts for papers of 150-250 words, as well as any inquiries, should be sent by December 7, 2007 to:
C. W. Marshall
Classical, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies
The University of British Columbia
Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6T 1Z1
E-mail (preferred):

Graduate students and scholars in the early stages of their careers are particularly encouraged to apply.

We shall be seeking funding support for the conference from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Therefore, titles and abstracts must also be accompanied by the following, as applicable:
Family name, given name, initials
Institutional affiliation (if any) and department
Degrees received; please specify the discipline
Recent positions held
Recent publications and those relevant to the theme of the conference
Audio-visual or other requirements
E-mail and postal address



Next regular issue    2007 09 15

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