2020 – 2021 Committee
Jan Preiss grew up in Bohemia and is currently an undergraduate studying Classics at New College. He learnt Latin using the direct method and, having seen its effects first-hand, he is passionate about making it accessible to everyone. Jan is notorious in the OLP for preferring Homer over Virgil and being way too keen on all things technological. He has a long-standing interest in China and Chinese culture. He also likes philosophy, opera, and tennis.
Althea Sovani comes from Italy and is an undergraduate studying Classics with Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford. She is especially fond of writing and translating and from a very young age started loving literature and grammar. Nothing delights her more than enquiring into the origin of words and decoding grammatical structures. Her favourite authors are Marcus Aurelius, Pseudo-Longinus and Lucan. She cannot bear the use of the term thing and defends all words from maiming abbreviations, adjectives from superlatives, clauses from stylistic impoverishment and synonyms from oblivion.
Treasurer & Programme Manager
Cynthia is a second year DPhil student at Jesus College writing on the role of mystery language and imagery in Graeco-Roman philosophy and poetry. Though she grew up with classical languages, she only began speaking them when she joined the Latinitas Project two years ago during her MSt at Brasenose College. Before coming to Oxford, Cynthia received her B.A. (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from Baylor University in Classics and Linguistics. Along with Latin and Greek, she has a passion for music, dance, and food.
Simon is a third-year Mathematics undergraduate who spends too much time reconstructing Plautine Latin phonology. Having only had a term’s worth of Latin grammar when he joined Latinitas, he was very impressed with how effective the direct method was, and now is looking into the methodological issues of using a reconstructed pronunciation in class. Simon is also interested in the history of natural philosophy and is currently writing a paper on ancient planetary motion models. He likes connecting relatives, Archilochus, Merovingian Latin and irregular plurals.
Jack Woodworth is from California and is studying for a bachelor’s degree in Classics with Sanskrit at Corpus Christi. He began learning Latin and studying historical linguistics as a young teenager and has since begun learning Greek and Sanskrit at Oxford, where he is now in his fourth year. He teaches the beginner’s Latin class for the OLP and occasionally gives small classes/seminars on linguistic topics pertinent to Greek and Latin. His favourites in philosophy, music, and sport are Plato, John Coltrane, and Muhammad Ali.
Alwaleed Alsaggaf was born in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and lived there until the age of 16 when he moved to London to pursue his studies. Having received his IB diploma in 2015, he went to Birkbeck, University of London to read philosophy, and graduated from there in 2019. After finishing his first year at Birkbeck, he went to study Latin and Greek at the Accademia Vivarium Novum in 2016-2017. Alwaleed is now an MA researcher in Ancient Philosophy at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU), Munich, where he also currently teaches a course entitled “Latin for Philosophers”. He previously worked as a teacher of Latin language and literature at Eton College for two years.
His main research interests are ancient philosophy and its reception in the Arabic and Latin world, as well as contemporary analytic philosophy. Alwaleed is also passionate about Latin composition and teaching philosophy in Latin.
Ayelet Wenger teaches the OLP introduction to spoken Latin and was the coordinator of Septimana Latina 2020. She spent two years studying classical rabbinic literature in Israel, received her B.A. in Classics, summa cum laude, from Princeton University, and is now pursuing a postgraduate career in Judaism and Christianity in the Graeco-Roman World. Her thesis analyzes Septuagintalisms in the Gospel of Luke. Ayelet loves backpacking and other forms of wandering, Derek Walcott, and frequentatives.
Brian Lapsa is a D.Phil. student in Classics researching the late pagan and early Christian use of exempla for ethical formation. After a BA in History and German at the University of Virginia, he worked in marketing and translation, ultimately returning to academic life to read Philosophy (M.A., M.Phil.) at Leuven and Classics (B.A.) at Oxford. He has taught at the University of Leiden and is currently Assistant Researcher in Roman History at the University of Latvia. In 2018-19 Brian served as President of the Oxford Latinitas Society.
Cole Whetstone is from Durham, North Carolina, USA. He completed his undergraduate degree in Classics and Philosophy at Harvard University in 2018, and this summer completed his MSt in Ancient Philosophy at the University of Oxford; where he also taught Spoken Ancient Greek for the OLP. Cole lives for philosophical conversation. Left to his own devices, he spends all his time quibbling over curious (not to say profound) inanities. His new favourite is whether the aphorism “vinaigrette is only stable when it is moving; and so with all things” is completely or only partly true.
Finlay O’Duffin is an independent Latin tutor and scholar serving as a non-executive committee member of the society. In Trinity Term of the OLP’s first year (2018) he developed and taught a weekly Schola Rhetorica in Latin on the basis of ancient progymnasmata. In 2016 and 2017 he taught at Vivarium’s summer schools, for which he also developed a Palaestra dicendi curriculum for practical oratory. His studies were in Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic (B.A., Jesus College, Cambridge); the Western Literary Tradition (M.A., Leuven, 2013); Latin and Greek (Vivarium Novum, 2013-14); and Law (LLB, London College of Law, 2018).
Iván Parga Ornelas is pursuing his PhD in Renaissance Studies at the University of Warwick, where he is a Chancellor´s International Scholar. Iván has previously worked as an assistant teacher at the Accademia Vivarium Novum in Rome, where he started his Latin studies in 2009. He graduated in Classical and Christian Literature at the Pontificium Institutum Altioris Latinitatis in Rome, and received his MA in Medieval studies at the Complutense University of Madrid. He organizes events for the OLP in Rome and Oxford. His interests are in medieval and Neo-Latin literature, especially Petrarch, Erasmus, and Maffeo Vegio. His favourite authors are Virgil and Jorge Luis Borges. Iván served as the Vice-President of the OLS for the academic year 2019/20.
Jason is a doctoral student at Magdalen College, Oxford, working on questions of local tradition in early Greek hexameter poetry. They were the co-leader of the Vergil reading group for a year, and currently teach spoken Attic Greek. Jason is also interested in linguistics, metre, and Hittite literature, and is a devout follower of writing macrons in Latin texts. Their favourite place to be is the Lower Reading Room of the Bodleian library.
(Guinevere) Jenny Rallens was the founder and the first president (2017-18) of the Latinitas Project and the director of the first two Septimanae Latinae. She is currently a DPhil candidate in Classics (Language and Literature) at Oriel College writing on dialectic in Latin Philosophy, specifically the Augustinian fragment ‘de dialectica.’ She has also taught Latin at Jesus College and is an intern at the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae, currently working on the word revirescere. Besides academics, she loves classical music, good arguments, running, and reading with friends.
Jessi (Aurelia) is a PhD student in the Classics department at the University of Cambridge. Previously, she spent two years teaching at Winchester College after completing a Master’s in Classics at Oxford and an A.B. in English (with a Classics secondary) at Harvard. She is interested in the long history of classical epic poetry, especially its reception in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; in the relationship between English and classical literary canons; and most of all in teaching, which is her greatest joy.
John-Francis (Eriugena) Martin was the 2018-19 Treasurer of the OLP. An Irishman, he grew up in the countryside of deep-clodded Meath, fertile heartland of the river Boyne. He was educated by the Jesuits at Clongowes Wood, with a year at Schola Nova (Belgium), where he was first exposed to spoken Latin, and many wonders besides, under the inspiring tutelage of Prof. Stéphane Feye. Moved by a love of Virgil and his Bucolics, he read Classics at Trinity College (Dublin). He is currently reading for an DPhil in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies at Corpus Christi College (Oxford), focusing on the network of Byzantine Catholic humanists in the century leading up to the fall of Constantinople.
Krasimir Ivanov comes from Bulgaria, where he studied at the National Classical Lyceum and later graduated from classical philology in Sofia University. For two years he attended the Accademia Vivarium Novum in Rome. For the last three years, he has been participating in OLP as a tutor. His main interests are related to the Roman Republic, where he is looking for the reasons that ex pulcherruma atque optuma pessuma ac flagitiosissuma facta sit. He also loves agriculture, astronomy, good tales, and enjoys studying ancient thought – from Homer and Cato to the monks of Mount Athos.
Lewis Scarpellino read Classics at St. Anne’s College, Oxford. Before coming to Oxford, Lewis attended King Edward VI School in Stratford-on-Avon (2007-2014) and the Accademia Vivarium Novum in Rome (2014-2015). For Lewis it is the experience of bringing together the studia humanitatis with true friendship and community, and the desire to share this experience with others that makes the OLP project so dear and important. Lewis was the Secretary of the Oxford Latinitas Project in 2018-2019, and he was also the society’s Greek teacher.
Oroel Marcuello Gil was born in Zaragoza, Spain. Spending a year in the Academia Vivarium novum (2017-18), he fell in love with classical languages and authors, especially Sophocles and Ovid. Wishing to preserve the humanistic spirit that he enjoyed there, he founded with a colleague a spoken-Latin group in Zaragoza University, with which he also organised two trips to the academy. He has also taught for OLP, especially Greek, he was a tutor in scholae aestivae 2020, and has collaborated with Cultura Clásica.
He loves education, linguistics, rock-climbing, music, and psychology. He plays cello and writes novels and poetry.
Pierre Gorsky-Mièze has long been enamoured of Latin, which he has studied for over 14 years. After 3 years taking classes préparatoires aux grandes écoles, he spent 2 years in Italy learning and teaching using the direct method. He is passionate about spreading the knowledge of Classics, having been a member of the Human-Hist society for over 8 years and a co-founder of Schola Sorbonae, a society based in Paris and aiming to promote the studies of Latin and its culture. Pierre is currently studying for a master’s degree in Political Philosophy and Ethics at Lettres Sorbonne, where he is writing a thesis on the extent to which ethics should be taught at schools.
Vincenzo Rosati studied Philology, Literature and the Classical Tradition to a master’s level at the University of Bologna. In the academic year, 2018-2019, he was on an Erasmus Programme in the Department of Greek and Latin at University College London, during which time he also led the weekly ‘Lumen Litterarum II’ sessions at Oxford with Alwaleed Alsaggaf. In 2017 he graduated with a B.A. in Classical and Christian Literature at the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome. There he wrote a dissertation, in Latin, about the pedagogical experiences of the humanistic schools led by Victorinus Feltrensis at Mantova and by Guarinus Veronensis at Ferrara, under the supervision of Professor Luigi Miraglia. He loves music and uses it for teaching ancient poetry, following the methods of his teacher Özséb Áron Tóth from the Accademia Vivarium Novum.
Yaamir Badhe is a third year undergraduate Classicist at Jesus College. He was first exposed to speaking Latin on the 2019 Septimana Latina in Rome and now organises and co-leads the Vergil reading group. His interests in the Classical world include Greek tragedy and Hellenistic history, especially the Indo-Greeks and Greco-Buddhism. He enjoys speaking ancient languages not least because of the increased reading fluency the direct method affords, but also because it makes him feel like a character from one of his favourite modern novels, Donna Tartt’s ‘The Secret History’.
Dr Melinda Letts
I read Literae Humaniores at St Anne’s College, Oxford, followed by two years as Research Assistant to Professor Keith Hopkins, with whom I collaboratively authored a chapter of his book Death and Renewal (Cambridge, 1983). I then decided to try life outside academia, working first in overseas development and subsequently in a series of leadership roles in UK health charities and public bodies, for which I was appointed OBE in 2003. I returned to academic life in 2009, in Oxford, where I am Tutor in Greek and Latin Languages at Jesus College and Lecturer in Classics at Harris Manchester College. My doctoral research, undertaken at Christ Church, Oxford, brought together both strands of my career in a study of the 1st century Greek doctor Rufus of Ephesus’s unique treatise on the importance of questioning patients about all aspects of their life and condition. Teaching ancient languages is a way of giving students the opportunity to engage for themselves with the thinking and experience of those who have gone before us, and to discuss questions of eternal significance to humanity, and that’s why I love what I do.
Professor Gregory Hutchinson
Founding Senior Member
Gregory Hutchinson was born in 1957, in Hackney, London. He went to the City of London School and to Balliol College, Oxford, as an undergraduate and graduate, then to Christ Church, Oxford, as a Research Lecturer. In 1984 he became Fellow and Tutor in Classics at Exeter College, Oxford, and in 1998 Professor of Greek and Latin Languages and Literature. In 2015, he was appointed to the Regius Chair of Greek, and so returned to Christ Church, having really seen the world. In his research he seeks, unusually for a classicist, to give equal attention to Greek and to Latin, and to work on both prose and poetry. Prof. Hutchinson is also interested in the relation of literature to history, archaeology, philosophy, linguistics, and other areas. He is the author of numerous books, articles and chapters. His most recent book is Plutarch’s Rhythmic Prose (Oxford University Press, 2018).
Professor Armand D'Angour
Armand D’Angour pursued careers as a cellist and businessman before becoming a Tutor in Classics at Jesus College in 2000. In addition to his monograph The Greeks and the New (CUP 2011), he is the author of articles and chapters on the language, literature, psychology and culture of ancient Greece. In 2013-17 he undertook research into ancient Greek music, and in 2017 was awarded a Vice Chancellor’s Prize for Public Engagement with Research. In addition to numerous broadcasts on radio and television, a short film on YouTube has reached over 400,000 views after its publication in December 2017. His book Socrates in Love: The Making of a Philosopher was published in April 2019. More details of his work are available on his website www.armand-dangour.com.
Professor Eleanor Dickey
Eleanor Dickey is Professor of Classics at the University of Reading. She was born in the US, educated at Bryn Mawr and Oxford (Merton and Balliol), and has worked at the University of Ottawa in Canada, Columbia University in New York, and the University of Exeter. Her research concerns the Latin and Greek languages and how they were taught, learned, and used in antiquity, with a particular emphasis on interaction between the two languages. Her books include Learning Latin the Ancient Way(CUP 2016), The Colloquia of the Hermeneumata Pseudodositheana (CUP 2012-15), Latin Forms of Address (OUP 2002), and Learn Latin from the Romans (CUP 2018). Eleanor also runs the Reading Ancient Schoolroom, a re-enactment of an ancient school for modern children that is always seeking volunteers (see www.readingancientschoolroom.com). She does not speak Latin very well yet but is having great fun learning.