Tag Archives: revised

6 Patrician Families of Rome

“6 Patrician Families of Rome

 Manlii (gens Manlia) * Fabii (gens Fabia) * Aemilii (gens Aemilia) * Claudii (gens Claudia) * Valerii Cornelli (gens Cornelia)

The six major Patrician families of Rome—the gentes maiores—claimed descent from the priesthoods held by their ancestors at the time of the city’s foundation by Romulus and the first seven kings, when the senate was just a gathering of priests checking that the royal decrees were consistent with the will of the gods. The Manlii remembered their origins from the Etruscan Tusculum. Fabians claimed descent from Hercules through Sabine highlanders and kept control of the ancient Lupercalia festival—though their detractors argued that their name derived either from ‘peasant,’ ‘bean,’ or ‘ditch [cleaner].’ The Aemilians traced their origin to Sabine highland chieftains invited to Rome by the second king, Numa Pompilius, and their bloodline to Aemylos son of Ascanius—though others argued that they were descended from Romulus and Remus’s sinful uncle, Amulius.

The Claudians were yet another Sabine family ‘distinguished by a spirit of haughty defiance, disdain for the laws and an iron hardness of heart,’ who were divided into either the very good or the very bad-and contributed the Claudian line of emperors (Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero) along with twenty-eight consuls, five dictators, and seven censors. The Valerians had their own throne on the Circus Maximus and tended to ally with the Fabians to form a power block second in influence to the Cornelli.

The Cornelli were the most powerful of all the families, and it was said that one in every three of all the consuls of the Republic owed them some allegiance in blood. Their subsidiary clans included such powerful factions as the Scipio, Sulla, Lentulus, Dolabellae, and Cinna families.”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.

Black History Month Begins Today

Today is the first day of Black History Month. In my classroom, every month is Black History Month, simply because Black History is American History. Mark’s Text Terminal always observes Black History Month, mainly because the history of the African Diaspora in general, and its salubrious effect on the United States in particular, has always been of keen interest to me.

This year’s Black History Month arrives amidst a social and cultural atmosphere that has become especially ugly. Thanks to nativist loudmouths like Stephen Miller (who, incredibly, holds the position of “senior policy advisor” in the White House) and Steve Bannon, as well as the egotistical, foul-mouthed, and self-pitying “president” of the United States, our nation’s ugly bigotry is right out in the open once more. I suppose that’s a good thing–at least we know our adversaries. But it is unpleasant at best to live with.

Words are words, but the fact is that some police forces around our country appear to have declared open season on citizens of African descent. Personally, I remain bereft of the loss to our country of Trayvon Martin, a victim of the brazenly murderous instincts of a disastrous human being named George Zimmerman, who continues to have scrapes with the law.

For almost 15 years, I have lived in diverse neighborhoods in New York City. For the first seven years I was here, I lived on two different blocks in Harlem–once known as the capital of Black America. Across those seven years, I was treated only with respect by my neighbors. I ask you, rhetorically, this: if a Black man moved into a homogeneously white neighborhood, could he expect similar treatment? I rather doubt it, and that says nothing good about our country.

I continue to live in a diverse neighborhood, and I worry that the Eurocentric rhetoric emanating from the highest reaches of government, as well as the murders committed by police officers around the country, have the potential to poison relations between my neighbors, fellow subway riders, and other people with whom I passively associate here in my adopted city.

So, for Black History Month 2018, every post on Mark’s Text Terminal will be related to the history of citizens of the United States of African descent (which I say understanding that everyone on this planet, in the final analysis, is of African descent; Black History Month refers to more recent arrivals from the continent, mostly, if we are to be honest with ourselves about this, the descendants of people abducted in Africa subjugated into chattel slavery in the Americas). Let’s begin with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Black Power Movement. I’m old enough to remember it well, and feel encouraged that we may now be seeing its return, a development I welcome.

For the record, I do understand that my efforts here are mostly inconsequential. The White House has a 24-hour cable news propaganda machine (i.e. Fox News) with global reach, while I have my blog with fifteen views a day.

If you find typos in the Word document on Black Power above, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

What Office Indeed? Harriet Martineau on Teaching

“What office is there which involves more responsibility, which requires more qualifications, and which ought, therefore, to be more honourable, than that of teaching?”

Harriet Martineau (1802-1876)

Excerpted from: Howe, Randy, ed. The Quotable Teacher. Guilford, CT: The Lyons Press, 2003.

Cultural Literacy: Schism

On a bright, cool morning in Springfield, Vermont, I offer you this Cultural Literacy worksheet on schism. The definition and this worksheet limits the noun to its meaning as a breach within a religion. Merriam-Webster defines it more broadly, so there is some room here for the kind of rich discussion on usage that educational research suggests benefits students.

In any case, by their senior year at the very least, this is a word and concept high school students really ought to know.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Emerson on the Importance of a Free Press

“Democracy becomes a government of bullies, tempered by editors.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Portable Curmudgeon. New York: Plume, 1992.

The Weekly Text, July 28, 2017: Two Context Clues Worksheets on Prolix (adj) and Prolixity (n)

At the moment, I’m busily developing a unit on argumentation for the fall semester at my school. Ergo, This week’s Text is a quick one, namely these two context clues worksheets on the adjective prolix and the noun prolixity. I can tell you from my experience working in a couple of different college writing centers that students are regularly dispatched to those old-fashioned help desks for prolixity. Students ought to know what these words mean, in any case, especially students planning to major in subjects in the humanities in college–which require a lot of (good) writing.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Rotten Reviews: The Human Comedy

“Alas! Interested though one is in the attempt, it remains to say that the result is not very happy…there is scarcely a trace of Saroyan’s characteristic charm of manner, and indeed his art of inspired artlessness now falls extremely flat. This, in short, is an excessively simple and very, very sentimental little concoction.”

Times Literary Supplement

Excerpted from: Barnard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.

A Midsummer Text: Five Worksheets on Differentiating the Homophones Who’s and Whose

I’ve been working on a series of new homophone worksheets, including these five on the who’s and whose and this learning support to accompany them.

I assume you see these words confused regularly, as they are two of the most commonly confused homophones in the English language. Writing these worksheets, I’m afraid I let the material get away from me. Endeavoring to create materials that helped students form their own, comprehensive, understanding of these two words, I wrote a lot of text that I realized, after it was down on paper, was too much information for worksheet instructions. I turned quite a bit of the text into the learning support post in this Text. However, the worksheets themselves still may be prolix by virtue of the still-lengthy definitions of these two words and their definitions,

In any case, these are Word documents, so you may manipulate them for your use.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Joseph Addison on Education as Sculptor

“What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to a human soul.”

Joseph Addison (1672-1719), as quoted in The Spectator (1711)

Excerpted from: Howe, Randy, ed. The Quotable Teacher. Guilford, CT: The Lyons Press, 2003.

Strategies for Creating Cognitive Apprenticeships

During the month of July, I generally try to work on planning and professional development, so I’ve had my nose in both for the past three weeks. The summer’s reading is The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences, which, 205 pages in, I have not found as useful to my own practice as I did The Cambridge Handbook of Literacy. Still, there are plenty of important ideas articulated in the book (Cambridge University Press has thoughtfully posted as a giveaway this PDF of the introduction to the book, by its editor, R. Keith Sawyer; if you search The Cambridge Handbook of Literacy, you’ll find a couple of different PDFs from its pages for free download as well.)

One of the first articles in this volume is by Allan M. Collins, who, as you can see from his Wikipedia page, is an important figure in the learning sciences. I like his ideas about cognitive apprenticeship. Here is an outline describing cognitive apprenticeship strategies that I took from his article and typed into a Word document.

I hope you find it useful.