Classical Literacy Level I Part I
Adriatic Sea: An arm of the Mediterranean Sea between the Balkans and the Italian peninsula.
aegis: An attribute of Zeus and Athena usually represented as a goatskin shield. Protection, shield, defense, backing, support.
Aeneas/Aeneid: A Trojan leader, son of Anchises and Aphrodite, and legendary ancestor of the Romans. When Troy fell to the Greeks he escaped and after wandering for many years eventually reached Italy. The story of his voyage is recounted in Virgil's Aeneid.
Aesop: Greek storyteller. The moral animal fables associated with Aesop were probably collected from many sources and initially communicated orally.
alma mater: the Latin for "nourishing mother", this phrase was used in ancient Rome as a title for various mother goddesses. The school, college, or university that one once attended.
alpha and omega: the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, used to signify the beginning and the end.
Alps: A mountain system in Europe that extends in a curve from the coast of southeastern France through northwestern Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and southern Germany into Austria.
alter ego: a second self, a second personality or persona within a person, who is often oblivious to the persona's actions.
alumna/alumnae: A female graduate or former student of a particular school, college, or university.
alumnus/alumni: A male graduate or former student, of a particular school, college, or university
amoromniavincit: Love conquers all.
antebellum: Before the war, the time period preceding a war. Antebellum architecture is a style of southern architecture that makes one think pre-Civil War.
Apennines: A mountain range in Italy that extends for 880 miles (1,400 km) from the northwest to the southern tip of the country. It is considered the "spine" of Italy.
Capitoline Hill: one of the seven hills of Rome; It was the citadel (equivalent of the ancient Greek acropolis) of the earliest Romans
Chimera: Fire-breathing she-monster with a lion's head and a goat's body and a serpent's tail
errarehumanumest: To err is human.
et al./et alii: "and the others." In an English sentence: the new history textbook is written by Jones, Smith, et al.
Etruscans: Beginning in the 700sB.C., people from Etruria , (north of Rome) who were the first rulers of Roman Republic. for more than 100 years. Built up Rome, streets, temples, mining. Laid the foundation for Rome and Roman civilization.
ex officio: by virtue of an office or position. Example--the head of the department serves as an ex officio member of the board.
Excelsior!: Ever higher! Upward!
fasces: Bundle of rods with an axe used to symbolize authority
Ge/Gaea: Roman/Greek name for the earth goddess, married to Uranus, mother of the Titans, Cyclops, and Hecatonchires.
homo sapiens: the biological species to which modern human beings belong
Hydra: Sea monster with nine heads. When struck off, each head was replaced by two new ones. Hydra was slain by Hercules.
in loco parentis: in the place or role of a parent
in memoriam: in memory of
in toto: in total, completely
iota: a very small amount; the 9th letter of the Greek alphabet
Ithaca: Odysseus' home, an island off the west coast of Greece
labor omniavincit: Work conquers all.
lapsuslinguae: A slip of the tongue.
laurels: Apollo's wreath of foliage worn on the head as an emblem of victory
magnanimous: noble and generous in spirit
magnum opus: a great work of art or literature, from the Latin for "great work"
Medea: (Greek mythology) a princess of Colchis who aided Jason in taking the Golden Fleece from her father, King Aeetes
mellifluous: pleasing to the ear (from the Latin words mell - honey + fluere - to flow)
mentor: 1. a wise and trusted guide and advisor 2. a friend of Odysseus who guided Telemachus while Odysseus was away
mores: fixed customs or manners; moral attitudes
Mt. Parnassus: A mountain in central Greece near Delphi, 8061 feet high; sacred to Apollo and the Muses
N.B./nota bene: Italian and Latin phrase meaning "note well"