Cook Travel Scholarship recipient Max DuBoff ’19 recounts summer ’18 at Goethe-Institut Berlin

The iconic quadriga atop Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, above scenes of the Centauromachy. Photo credit (for all images in this piece): Max DuBoff

[Editor’s note: Rutgers’ Department of Classics holds an annual competition for its undergraduate and graduate students to receive one of several Ethyl S. Cook Scholarships, which support travel abroad for programs that specialize in fields relevant to classical studies. Here is the very welcome report of a recent recipient, Max DuBoff ’19, a member of the inaugural class of the Rutgers Honors College and a 2017/8 Lloyd C. Gardner Fellow who will graduate with a double major in Classics (Greek & Latin option) and Philosophy.]

“When I began to learn Latin, I felt like the language I had spoken my whole life suddenly made a whole lot more sense. I discovered roots behind common and uncommon words—I’ll never forget my first cognate, equus—and gained insight on the grammatical and linguistical development that helped shape English into the glorious hodgepodge it is.

Although I advanced greatly in my language learning in the interim, I experienced no similar wonderment for over half a decade, until this summer in Berlin, when I began to learn German at the Goethe-Institut with generous funding from the Ethel S. Cook Travel Scholarship program. I continually delighted in finding out which common English words derive from German; even though I knew abstractly that English is a Germanic language and that many of its grammatically integral words are from German, I simply did not understand German’s concrete influence on English. My new knowledge of German provided further color to my understanding of my native tongue as well as my other previous language learning.

The top of the classically inspired Triumph Arch opposite the New Palace in Sanssouci Park, Potsdam

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Rediscovering the “classical element” at NYC’s Rutgers Female Institute & College (1838-1895)

Official seal of the Rutgers Female Institute, featuring Revolutionary War personality Col. Henry Rutgers. From its 25th anniversary celebratory booklet (1864)

There is so much to admire in the new (2018) book The Douglass Century: Transformation of the Women’s College at Rutgers University, coauthored by Rutgers faculty members Kayo Denda (Libraries), Mary Hawkesworth (Women’s and Gender Studies), and Fernanda H. Perrone (Libraries), and published by Rutgers University Press. It is deeply researched, lucidly written, lavishly illustrated and wonderfully produced, and features more than a few narrative twists. In short, the volume marks an immensely engaging and indeed indispensable contribution to the history of women’s education in America.

For many readers, one startling item will leap out right at the beginning of the first chapter (pp. 4-6), the whole account of New York City’s Rutgers Female Institute. It was organized in 1838 with a bequest of three lots of land from the estate of Colonel Henry Rutgers—namesake of our university—and later (1867), with the introduction of a robust classics curriculum, transmuted into the Rutgers Female College. As such, it became the first institution in the city of New York where women could earn the degree of Bachelor of Arts—more than 20 years before the chartering of Hunter College and the founding of Barnard College.

First location of the Rutgers Female Institute (1839-1860), in NYC’s old Seventh Ward, in the lower east side of Manhattan. From the institution’s 3rd Circular (1841).

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Rewriting Rome from the outside in: Spotlight on Katheryn Whitcomb RU Classics PhD ’16

Philip the Tetrarch (4 BCE-34 CE) of Judaea, son of Herod the Great, pays homage to Augustus in 8/9 CE; the reverse depicts the Augusteum at Paneas. Credit: Heritage Auctions no. 3018 (2016) lot 20068

Ever since Katheryn Whitcomb (Rutgers Ph.D. 2016) earned an A.B. in Classical Languages at Bryn Mawr College, her work has managed to maintain an impressive balance between ancient literatures and history, texts and material culture, center and periphery. Her primary research focus eventually centered on non-Roman perceptions of Rome during the late Republic and early Empire.

This trajectory resulted in an ambitious Rutgers dissertation entitled “Allies, Avengers, and Antagonists: Rome’s Leading Men Through the Eyes of Ioudaioi”. What Katheryn compellingly conveys here is a complex and ever-shifting variety of local attitudes, with each thread in her narrative showing real development. In the end, she shows that even some generations after Pompey’s invasion and assault on the Temple in 63 BCE, one can hardly speak of universal resentment of Roman rule in Judaea. Continue reading

At RU’s rainy 2018 Commencement, 13 graduating Classics majors shine

At High Point Solutions Stadium, graduating Classics seniors including Michael Antosiewicz’18 (front left), with Professor Emily Allen-Hornblower (front right)

At Rutgers’ rain-soaked 252nd Commencement on Sunday 13 May, university President Robert L. Barchi called the class of 2018 “the largest and most accomplished” in the institution’s history.

Ignoring the rain (more or less) at Rutgers’ 252nd Commencement (Mother’s Day, 13 May 2018)

In all, the event—which also included Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences—saw 12,961 receive graduate status, including 13 majors in the Department of Classics.

 “Every one of you has successfully completed a rigorous course of study”, said President Barchi to the graduates in the crowd of 32,500 at The Birthplace (a.k.a. High Point Solutions Stadium), “at Rutgers, one of the finest public universities in America.” 

Classics Undergraduate Director Emily Allen-Hornblower (left) with Atiya Aftab, Department of Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies Program

Speaking of rigorous, Classics Associate Professor and Undergraduate Director Emily Allen-Hornblower quite literally carried the departmental flag at both the general Commencement and the soggy ceremony for the School of Arts and Sciences, as a large and exceptionally talented group of Classics majors received their degrees: Madison Akins, Michael Antosiewicz, Akari Armatas, Michael Collins, JuliaRose Driscoll, Kat Garcia, Shannon Gilbert, Molly Kuchler, Katie Moretti, Eric Ng, Kim Peterman, Thomas Pettengill, and Tiara Youngblood.

One of many takeaways: our majors’ trilingual mortarboard decorations were off the proverbial hook.

From left, graduating Classics seniors Shannon Gilbert, Kim Peterman, Katie Moretti, Molly Kuchler

RU Classics wishes every single one of our majors and minors and indeed all the members of Rutgers’ Class of 2018 all the very best at this most important milestone. Please stay in touch!

Did we mention that Katie Moretti ’18 wrote her Honors thesis on Dido?

A May Day celebration of RU Classics 2018 grads, Eta Sigma Phi initiates

On Tuesday 1 May, the Dean’s Home at Rutgers’ Douglass Residential College hosted an elegant Classics Department celebration of undergraduate achievements and graduate milestones. Faculty, students, parents, and friends converged for an afternoon of ceremony and short presentations, all accompanied by seasonal refreshments and much good cheer.

Associate Professor and Undergraduate Director Emily Allen-Hornblower chaired the festive occasion, overseeing the award of gold medals to 13 Classics majors from the Rutgers class of 2018, and laurel crowns to four new members of the Zeta Epsilon chapter of Eta Sigma Phi, the national Classics honor society.

Associate Professor (and Undergraduate Director) Emily Allen-Hornblower and Professor (and Chair) James McGlew

Recognized at the event were graduating Classics majors Madison Akins, Michael Antosiewicz, Akari Armatas, Michael Collins, JuliaRose Driscoll, Kat Garcia, Shannon Gilbert, Molly Kuchler, Katie Moretti, Eric Ng, Kim Peterman, Thomas Pettengill, and Tiara Youngblood.

Four of this year’s 13 graduating Classics majors: from left, Michael Collins ’18, Eric Ng ’18, JuliaRose Driscoll ’18, Shannon Gilbert ’18

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Taking stock of a unique collaboration in Rome: Rutgers Classics remembers HSH Prince Nicolò Boncompagni Ludovisi (1941-2018)

Excerpt from unpublished letter of Marie Antoinette congratulating Ignazio Boncompagni Ludovisi on his elevation to Cardinal, written at Versailles 12 October 1775. Collection of HSH Prince Nicolò and HSH Princess Rita Boncompagni Ludovisi, Rome.

Since 2013, students at Rutgers-New Brunswick have enjoyed an extraordinary opportunity to “do history” by working with digitized pages of primary documents (dating from 1400-1940) belonging to the Papal family of the Boncompagni Ludovisi.

So it is with great sadness that Rutgers Classics reports the death of the head of family, HSH Prince Nicolò Francesco Boncompagni Ludovisi, aged 77, on 8 March 2018, at his ancestral home of the Casino Aurora in Rome. Trained as a chemical engineer at ETH Zurich and fluent in seven languages, Prince Nicolò possessed a dazzling knowledge of European history and enthusiastically encouraged Rutgers’ efforts to delve into a topic in which he had unparalleled expertise and passion—the architecture, art and archives of the Boncompagni Ludovisi.

Photographed at the Casino Aurora in 2010: HSH Prince Nicolò Boncompagni Ludovisi, Rome 1941-Rome 2018.

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To study Classics at Cambridge, Michael Antosiewicz ’18 wins coveted Gates Scholarship

Michael Antosiewicz ’18 discusses his research with VP for Undergraduate Education and Professor Emeritus of English Barry V. Qualls (left) in April 2016

Michael Antosiewicz ’18, who will graduate from the School of Arts and Sciences in Rutgers-New Brunswick with a double major in Classics (Greek and Latin concentration) and History and a minor in Philosophy, is one of just 35 US students this year to be newly awarded a scholarship for graduate study at Cambridge University by the Gates Cambridge Trust. Starting this fall, Michael will pursue a M.Phil. degree in Classics at Cambridge’s Sidney Sussex College under the direction of Kennedy Professor of Latin Stephen Oakley.  You can see the 16 February 2018 announcement of the new class of Gates Cambridge Scholars here.

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