2019 – 2020 Committee
Jan Preiss grew up in Bohemia and was more of a scientist when he first attended the scholae aestivae in Accademia Vivarium Novum. Soon after, drawn into the world of Classics, he started his studies of Greek and philosophy. He is now an undergraduate at New College. Jan is particularly interested in the way in which the direct method can take our aesthetic experience of ancient texts to a wholly new level. He also likes opera, tennis, and modern technologies.
Iván Parga Ornelas is currently 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 in medieval studies at the Complutense University of Madrid. He organizes events for the OLP in Rome and Oxford, including the Septimana Latina, and manages Humaniora Studia. His interests are in medieval and Neo-Latin literature, especially Petrarch, Erasmus, and Maffeo Vegio, and is working on a Spanish translation of Richard of Saint Victor’s Benjamin Major sive De gratia contemplationis. His favourite book is the Aeneid.
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.
Cynthia is a first year DPhil student at Jesus College writing on music and Pythagoreanism in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Though she grew up with classical languages, she only began speaking them when she joined the Latinitas Project last year during her masters degree at Brasenose College. Before coming to Oxford, Cynthia received her B.A. from Baylor University in Classics and Linguistics. Along with Latin and Greek, she has a passion for music, dance, and food.
Coordinator of Septimana Latina
Ayelet Wenger teaches the OLP introduction to spoken Latin. She spent two years studying classical rabbinic literature in Israel, received her B.A. in Classics, summa cum laude, from Princeton University, and now reads for the M.Phil. 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.
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 third 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 favorites in philosophy, music, and sport are Plato, John Coltrane, and Muhammad Ali.
(Guinevere) Jenny Rallens is a DPhil candidate in Classics (Language and Literature) at Oriel College writing on dialectic in Latin Philosophy, specifically the Augustinian fragment ‘de dialectica.’ She was the 2017-2018 president of the Latinitas Project and leads the Virgil reading group this year. Besides academics, she loves classical music, good arguments, running, and the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae.
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.
Lewis Scarpellino is an undergraduate at St. Anne’s College, Oxford, studying Classics. 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 grace of having experienced the joy 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.
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 MPhil 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.
Alwaleed Alsaggaf was born in in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and lived there till the age of 16 when he moved to London to pursue his studies. He studied Latin and Greek at the Accademia Vivarium Novum in 2016-2017. Alwaleed is now a finalist in philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London and a teacher of Latin language and literature at Eton College. His particular research interests are the Greek, Latin and Arab cultures and the way in which they relate, and the Latin writings of the Renaissance. Alwaleed is also passionate about Latin composition.
Vincenzo Rosati is a master’s student in Philology, Literature and the Classical Tradition at the University of Bologna. For the current academic year, 2018-2019, he is on an Erasmus Programme in the Department of Greek and Latin at University College London, during which time he is also leading 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.
Finlay O’Duffin is an independent Latin tutor and scholar. He serves as a non-executive committee member of the OLP and U.K. goodwill ambassador for the Accademia Vivarium Novum. 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).
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 is due for publication 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.