Project Domus

For the past couple of years, I have enjoyed leading my eighth-grade Latin class in a project on Roman houses. I am sure that many teachers of Latin have some sort of domus-related activity, and this is mine. The project aims mainly at introducing students to this important aspect of Roman daily life; it also offers plenty of opportunities for students to compare and contrast their own lives to ancient ones and to engage in Latin language composition and communication through simple descriptive sentences.

I like to start this project by discussing different the living situations of Romans, from the insulae of cities to urban domī to elaborate villas in the countryside. They study a number of houses that were preserved and excavated around the bay of Naples. We hone in on the typical Roman domus, discussing different generic rooms in the Roman house and their apparent uses and features (e.g. the vestibulum, atrium, culina, peristylium etc.). An impressive array of resources are available to students, and here are just a few that I have enjoyed using:

VROMA does a lovely job of clearly labeling rooms with links to names and longer descriptions of the rooms’ apparent uses. I love the simple floorplan as well.

This site does a similar job with a few more rooms added to the layout.

This virtual tour is a neat video, and it works for activities where you want students to identify different rooms (they could even do it in Latin!).

This video was created by a student (of either History or Latin). He brings up some interesting points and identifies room names for a quick and dirty review.

Khan Academy has a number of resources as well, like this article on the house of the Vetii.

After discussing and describing the Roman house, students are tasked to create their own domī. They go about choosing features, frescoes, and furniture for their houses, which would appeal to Roman taste as well as their own. In years past, the final products have come in the form of posters, dioramas, and google drawings, and I also ask students to describe their houses and the function and/or appearance of the rooms and the objects within.

Students tend to enjoy this project because of the degree of personal choice and creativity that goes into designing their own home. Some students–and even some adults–may never have given any thought to the architecture and design that they might want in their own house; this project gives them an exciting opportunity to do just that. I will add lastly that the project brings together culture and language learning and is easily tailored to students’ ability and comprehension.


Quid agitur?   Recently updated !

2017 CANE Annual Meeting March 17-18 at Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH.

2017 General Information

The 111th Annual Meeting will be held March 17-18, 2017, at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, NH.

You can register online here. All materials are available there, and will be duplicated below.

Though online registration is preferred, if you’d like to print your registration and mail it in, you may do so by clicking here.

Important Information

Program (Updated 12/22/16)
Hotel Information
Directions and Parking

First Time Attendees!

The Finnegan-Plante scholarship will grant $150 to first time attendees who are members of CANE and whose schools do not cover their costs.


Quid aliud agitur? Addendum

Let me attempt to rectify two careless omissions in my listing of summer study opportunities available to Latinists here in the US. The first is an Latin immersion program for high school students, the Tusculum Virginianam, which will be held Sunday, July 30, 2017 to Saturday, August 5 at the Machen Retreat and Conference Center in McDowell, Virginia. The Tusculum Virginianam will be led by Dr. Patrick M. Owens of Wyoming Catholic College and Dr. David C. Noe of Calvin College (MI), two experienced moderators and teachers in the active Latin movement. The program will be held at a beautiful retreat center in an area surrounded by national forests a few miles from the Virginia/West Virginia state line. For more information see this page.

The second is Dickinson College’s Summer Latin Workshop, held July 12-17 in Carlisle, PA. Christopher Francese and Marc Mastrangelo, both of Dickinson College, will be the moderators. Participants will read Prudentius’ Psychomachia.

I’ve attended the Dickinson Summer Latin Workshop twice, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Chris Francese and his fellow moderators provide high school Latin teachers with a wonderful opportunity to read, translate and discuss (in English) a work of Latin literature in a stimulating, friendly and relaxed environment for a week at a remarkably low cost ($300, which includes a single room in a suite (shared bathroom) and two meals per day. There are often repeat customers, but newcomers are heartily welcomed. Participants often meet in the evening to go over the next days’ assignment. The Dickinson Campus is very pleasant (albeit hot in July) and one needn’t get in the car for the whole week. Use of the college library and athletic facilities is part of the program.