Siege Diaries 4/7/2021


Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt: Where are my opinions part of the problem?

Well, usually they’re not.  You don’t go to grad school for nine years and come out the other end with an inability to change your mind in the face of good evidence.  

Sometimes, though, I can take this too far.  Sometimes you really do need to be able to stand and defend a well-researched opinion.  Knowing when, and being confident enough to do so, is more of a challenge to me than being that person who is overconfident in my own opinions.

What I talk about below is part of this.  I learned something close to 35 years ago at university that I assumed was correct.  It wasn’t.  But now I know, and I’m just itching to do it the right way.  That’s the way my mind works.

Back many years ago, as a classics student, I took classes in Vergil and Horace where I learned about Latin meter.  I also memorized the first few lines of the AEneid as part of my class as an exercise in understanding the oral nature of the work, and learned what I thought was an accurate method of reading this poetry aloud.  I’ve subsequently always been fascinated with how Latin poetry differs from English poetry because of the way meter works in Latin, which is all based on long and short vowels rather than stress as we would know it in English poetry. 

Turns out I learned it wrong.  Not the fact that short and long vowels dictate the meter, but the way that actually sounds when recited.  I’m starting to prep a reading of something Latin (haven’t picked out what yet) and wanted to reacquaint myself with the techniques, and so I ran across Luke Ranieri’s video on not only how to mark out the meter, but on how to make it sound right.  He’s the guy who did an excellent video on the Latin spoken in the TV series Barbarians (which I still haven’t seen, alas) on his Polymathy YouTube channel.  Anyway, the video is sort of blowing my mind by pointing out what should have been obvious:  Latin meter is musical.  The feet are “measures”, with the long and short syllables like half notes and quarter notes, respectively, in a dactylic metre (like dactylic hexameter, which the AEneid uses.)  He starts out with more or less singing each line in a monotone with the notes of the appropriate length, then moves on to singing the stressed syllables in each word on a different pitch, and….well, I haven’t gotten there yet, but this makes so much sense to anyone who’s studied music at all.  I’m getting pretty excited about picking something, breaking down the metre, and taking this technique to its conclusion to get a really good performance–because that’s where I’m going with it.  I’ve committed to reading something next month for the SCA’s Bardic War, and I really want to put some effort into it besides just picking a poem and reading the words.  

In other news, I finished up the revision of the article/letter I’m writing for publication, along with some analysis of Russian transliteration methods, and shipped them off. And it was finally confirmed today that we’re going back to a stay-at-home order tomorrow–something that I think anyone should have been able to predict would be necessary, but our provincial government believed it could bargain its way into lifting restrictions and have it be OK, even though we’ve been there before–and had transmission down much lower–and it was not OK. .

But the daffodils are in full bloom.