Submitted by Isabel Knudson
I recently returned from the Women Latinists program with Forte Academy in Florence, Italy, a study abroad trip partially covered by a CANE educational grant. While in Florence, I spent my time reading ancient, medieval, and Renaissance texts written in Latin by women authors – texts far outside the traditional male Classical canon. Some of the women authors read included (but were not at all limited to) Sulpicia, Hildegard von Bingen, Egeria, Cornelia Gracchi, Olympia Morata, Elizabeth Jane Weston, and more. The daily seminars in Florence involved reading women’s original Latin texts and discussing the cultural and historical implications surrounding them. I am so excited to bring these texts into my future classroom and show my students the diverse potential of the Latin language!
I plan to create tiered readings of these texts to implement them as language lessons using
women authors. This could evolve into an entire unit on the survival of the Latin language past
antiquity and into the modern era, with a focus on women authors. I am especially excited to
implement Margareta Godwijk’s emblem book in the classroom – this was a young girl’s
drawings and writings of various Latin mottos in the 1600s, and students could draw their
interpretations of the mottos and create their own Latin mottos! I hope that by sharing these ideas
with students, they will interact with the Latin language in a new way that shows it is not a
language reserved for older male Roman aristocrats, but in fact a language that was used by
many people of all ages across time, into the 21 st century!
I am very grateful to CANE for making this experience possible, and I have gained a lot
of knowledge I am excited to adapt and transfer to my future classrooms.