Web-based texts of Silver Latin authors including selections from Ovid, Lucan, Valerius Flaccus, Statius and Silius Italicus. The texts of each author contain hyperlinks to notes and vocabulary. There are also links to secondary literature online, and additional bibliography
The stated purpose to 'teach and promote research' in the Latin epic poetry of the early empire is clear, and justified for an advanced undergraduate or beginning graduate audience, with some reservations. Most of the materials are more suitable for intermediate Latin students or for students taking courses in English translation. The Latin selections from the authors are not enough yet to justify an entire course using only this site, but as a supplement to a course in any one of these authors this is a site worth a few visits for the commentary, online articles, and bibliography.
We hope that the site will grow in all three areas, but especially in the number of online articles and amount of text with vocabulary and commentary, provided that this section is more rigorously edited. (In this section, there are quite a few mistakes, some of which are debatable. It is to be expected that the definitions of some words will be linked incorrectly. In glossing vocabulary, however, distinction needs to be made between conjunctions and adverbs and adjectives and pronouns. Too often a word is identified incorrectly or incompletely. In the Tereus section of Ovid, there is one serious grammatical mistake: 'quo' is identified as an adverb when it is a relative pronoun whose antecedent is Tereus' sword (6. 551). Less serious is the misidentification of 'lumen' as feminine instead of neuter, as both the nature of the word and the syntax of the line demand.)
As it grows, we suggest that the site reconsider its target audience. If it is to remain the same, commentary should be at a higher level and an apparatus criticus should be added or variant readings mentioned. Bibliography should be in a database and not reduplicate what is already available online,
unless it aims to be more comprehensive.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
For those teaching an undergraduate Latin course in any one of these authors, or a survey course that fits the map of the site, Latin epic poetry of the early empire, this site can be a worthwhile tool. The Latin texts provide hyperlinked vocabulary that is worth using (though there are more than a few mistakes); commentary that is worth using, especially for the intermediate level, with numerous Latin paraphrases provided and some references to Allen & Greenough's Grammar. The texts provided cover only brief passages from the corpus of any of these authors, and do not supply in and of themselves enough material for a reading course. The bibliography supplied is not of a graduate research caliber, and superior ones are available online, but it does provide a starting point for an undergraduate student, and the articles provided by the site are an excellent feature. The site could provide several undergraduate level assignments for any instructor teaching a course on one of these authors. Tidbits are supplied under the heading "Reference and Teaching Material" including links to the online Allen & Greenough; these seem a not-too-careful add-on to the site, and one might look for some more original contributions by the project faculty here.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site is easy enough to navigate, and the initial pages are very attractively designed, as are the articles and bibliography sections.
The text with commentary pages fall short of this: the text is in an overly large font, creating a disruptive breaking up of poetical lines, and a rather unappealingly bright blue which is hard on the eyes. The split text/commentary page that comes up when using the vocabulary and commentary works well, and is superior to those on other sites that open pop-up windows or new pages altogether. It is problematic,
however, that non-grammatical commentary is found within the vocabulary section since it is not possible to access it, or even to know it is present, without clinking a word to obtain its definition. It is preferable to split the two, reserving all non-grammatical commentary to its own separate section.
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