Classic(al) Summer

Hello everyone,

My name is Brett Evans, and I am excited to start my Christopher Wren summer scholarship project and blog. With just one exam between me and a kicking off the summer with a long, long nap, I’d just like to lay out what I will be working on over the next coming months. Starting in around two weeks, I will take an intermediate Latin class at Georgetown so that I can rapidly increase my reading fluency and command of grammar. I’m really excited for the class – I only started Latin this past year, and I’m captivated by it. After the class ends in mid-June, I plan to take a week or two off before beginning my research down here in Williamsburg, which will last me for the rest of the summer. My project is a study of some of Ovid’s poetry written from exile, specifically his letters written to named addressees back in Rome asking them to persuade Augustus to relocate Ovid to a nicer place in exile (he was not a happy camper on the shores of the Black Sea – more to come on the harsh terrain and barbarians galloping over the frozen Danube). I am focusing my study on one letter in particular, the second of the collection, written to Fabius Maximus, the pater familias (a Roman position of influence as the head of his family) of his wife’s family. In his first of a few letters to Maximus, Ovid tries to win his favor through flattery and comparing his suffering in exile to that of famous mythological heroines famous for their own sad fates. Ovid also launches a lengthy (about one third of the poem) and complex criticism of Augustus in his work, which is curious; Ovid ostensibly wants Augustus to treat him more favorably, and yet openly criticizes his very legitimacy as emperor. To complicate discussion of the letter and the entire collection, the poems are written in the style of private letters; however, Ovid had them openly published in Rome for all to read and even arranged them to create a distinctly literary work. We must consider the extent to which these letters can be read as persuasive personal appeals and innovative literary creations. Ovid is endlessly witty -the more I learn about his poetry, the more confounded I become and the more questions I need to investigate.

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Studying the Impact of Aid in the Western Balkans

Hi! My name is Connor Smith, and I am a rising sophomore. Thanks to the generosity of the Weingartner family, I will be working with Professor Paula Pickering of the Government Department on her research this summer. I am really excited to have this opportunity, and I think this vibrant blogging community really speaks to W&M’s unique commitment to undergraduate research.

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