Latin Day celebrates language, Roman culture at Baylor
“Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana” has long served as a simple and stirring statement of Baylor University’s purpose and mission. And you’ve probably realized the phrase is Latin, even if it only registered once and you never thought about it again.
But a lot of people at Baylor — as well as high school students throughout the state — are thinking about the influence of the Latin language, and they came together to celebrate on the annual Latin Day at Baylor, held on campus last Friday. Produced by Baylor’s Department of Classics, Latin Day is a yearly tradition that brings together high school students who study the subject to increase their appreciation for Latin’s influence, give them the opportunity to work with Baylor students and professors, and have a little fun in the process.
What exactly takes place on Latin Day? The main event is “Certamen,” a quiz-bowl event where students compete to show their school is the most knowledgeable on subjects like Latin (naturally), mythology, and Roman culture and history. Latin Day also includes a photo scavenger hunt (looking for classical architecture elements like columns and arches, giving students a chance to tour campus), a manuscript workshop, lectures and a parsing bee (breaking down Latin words competitively). One of the most fun and popular elements is a yearly dramatic performance by Baylor Classics students, who treated this year’s attendees to Plautus’ Miles Gloriosus.
“Latin has been a part of Baylor since the university’s founding in 1845,” says Dr. Meghan DiLuzio, assistant professor of classics, “and it is still worth celebrating in 2014. We make the day educational, and we also want everyone to have fun.”
This year’s Certamen winner was St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Austin. In all, almost 250 students from all over the state participated in this year’s Latin Day.
Sic ’em, ursi!