Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Can Read That, uh, I Think...

Until a few days ago, I had never been to the Getty Villa. With a combination of it being far away and requiring an appointment, even when I was in the same city, I never got around to it. Until this time. It was incredible.

Getty Villa picture from Wikimedia Commons [1]

The floor plan is based on the Villa dei Papyri in Herculaneum, which got its name for the well over 1,500 papyrus scrolls found there. The Getty Villa is stunningly beautiful. The Roman architecture is paired with wonderful landscaping, pools of water, and replica bronze statues and murals.

Inside, I found an incredible collection of Greek pottery and statues, as well as Roman and Etruscan artifacts. The first room that I went into was an incredible time-line of pottery in these three civilizations. I was with my parents, and I was able to point out and describe the different pots, especially since I have been studying this recently (see my blogpost). We then moved into another room that displayed a mixture of Attic pottery and Roman pottery. Some of the attic red figure vases were incredible.

A few of the vases had names scratched above the characters depicted upon them. I went over and said "I can read this" and then I froze for a second. The words were in capitals with no accents. My mind went blank even looking at words that I clearly recognized. Fear just was struck into my heart. The same thing happened when I looked at the Latin inscription on a young girl's sarcophagus. Although the Latin turned out to be really easy, I froze. I think this comes from a combination of pushing myself into a Greek class I was not entirely ready for when I started college and a sense of extreme pride that hates passionately being wrong. My first class, on the Bacchae, I would not have given up for the world. It was amazing. However, it taught me a combination of bad habits: always assuming I was behind the curve (which often prevented me from moving out of this position), spending a lot of time on the Perseus Project instead of with a paper dictionary and a grammar (which I began work toward fixing in my junior and senior year), and getting bothered and antsy when translating took too long instead of enjoying the process of reading.

I have promised myself that I will fix all of these before I go to graduate school. I hope I am going to make it! The applications are a nightmare.

  1. Wikimedia Commons

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