This digital commentary on Eutropius’ Breviarium Historiae Romanae was completed in May 2016 in partial fulfillment of the Monmouth College Honors Program under the guidance of the Monmouth College Honors Program Coordinator, Dr. Marsha Dopheide, and her advisors, Dr. Kristian L. Lorenzo (Visiting Assistant Professor, Classics Department), Dr. Bridget Draxler (Assistant Professor, English Department),
and Matthew Katsenes (Moultonborough Academy, Moultonborough, NH). The thesis can be read in its entirety here.
Additional feedback for the online component was supplied by the Latin II class at Moultonborough Academy and by Matt Albert (Red Rock High School, Las Vegas Nevada).
This website contains selections from Eutropius' Breviarium Historiae Romanae
and accompanying notes, vocabulary, and media. These selections come from Books IV, V, and VI and
focus on events leading up to the end of the Roman Republic. The commentary has several goals:
- to explore the interaction between text and technology and the consumption of electronic texts
- to help high school students prepare for the Advanced Placement (AP) Latin Exam by providing accessible, yet important, background information to help contextualize the AP Latin selections
- to help students transition from the made-up Latin of textbooks to the authentic Latin of Classical authors and better comprehend and translate real Latin texts
This digital commentary explores the way in which technology influences our reading and translation of classical texts by creating a dynamic site, whose tools provide a sense of agency to the students exploring these selections of the Breviarium. Each section of the text has been broken into smaller, more mangeable chunks. Each of these chunks utilizes both a system of indenting and a system of highlighting to direct the student's attention to particular pieces of the sentence and to guide them through the sentences. As the student progresses through the text, the indenting and highlighitng of the chunks becomes less frequent. The commentary corresponding to the highlighted portion of the text is also highlighted in order to direct the student's attention to the relevant notes. The vocabulary instead of being immediately supplied is clickable and thus definitions are only given through the choice of the student. The defined words include those not listed in Paul B. Diederich's Basic Vocabulary of Ancient and Medieval Latin and other words chosen by the authors. Definitions have been curated for each word. At the end of each section, the chunks of text have been reconnected. The supplied vocabulary includes only words not included on Diederich's list and the commentary has been replaced with comprehension questions.
Because Eutropius was writing an abbreviated version of history, he highlights only the important parts of history - or the parts, which he deemed important, though Eutropius has been lauded for his evenhanded recount of history. He often only focuses on the military ventures of Rome. Because of this, essays providing further biographical information on these figures of Roman history as well as essays providing further historical context for these events have been supplied. In the text, names have been hyperlinked to these biographies, and brief historical/cultural notes are included in the commentary directly beneath the text.
Eutropius' Breviarum Historiae Romanae is such a fitting text for the last goal on that list because he writes in good, standard Classical Latin. His syntax is straightforward, and his sentences are short, yet varied. His vocabulary is limited primarily to the most common words in the Classical Latin corpus. Without only a few exceptions, he relies on standard, familiar grammatical constructions. For more on the previous popularity of Eutropius, see this short article on Brian Beyer's publication on Book III of the Breviarium.
Notes, introductory matter, and essays were generated by Emma Vanderpool and vetted by her collaborator, Matthew Katsenes, though any remaining errors are her own. The pre-reading handout and the coding of the website were generated by Katsenes.