annotated virgil

Sean gave me an old copy of Virgil’s Georgics. I love it. The inscription reads “17 Banbury Rd, Oxford” – which is right down the street from where I live. I’ve researched the previous owner, who made these annotations in 1916. I’m looking forward to writing to his son (or grandson?) and asking if he’d like to have the book.

I absolutely love the handwritten translations:



What must be guarded against…the black tempest…heights of heaven descend…swamp with great deluge the joyous crops…the sea boils with seething froths…wields thunderbolts with its flashing right hand.”
I love this little suture at the bottom middle. A little adhesive to keep the binding intact. So wonderful. “nec commode Baccho” – ‘not advantageous to Bacchus.’ And below, a map. The map is itself the treasure. “…a Tuscan tide is let in (through the Lucrine) into Aventine lake – mines of copper in its veins.”
I wish I could go back in time and watch this student meticulously take notes in class. How wonderful. It’s sad, I think, that Latin and Greek aren’t taught like they once were. I’m learning Latin along with my daughter Lvov. We’re homeschoolers, working our way through Cambridge Latin and loving it. Our text takes place in Pompeii, which I was delighted to visit in November – Latin graffiti on the walls! In 2011 my friend Louise read Virgil to me by candlelight at the Gardener’s Arms in Jericho. I didn’t understand half of it but I was mesmerized anyway.

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