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Data publikacji w serwisie: 22 listopada 2021 r.

Latin – Institute of Classical Philology, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan.

Hello, my name is Marlena Puk, I live in Poland, a country in Central Europe, known for its diverse geography, stately castles and beautiful cities, such as Poznan. This extraordinary city – open and dynamic, filled with unique places -  stands out with well-known, highly ranked Universities, as Adam Mickiewicz University where I have an honor to teach Latin at the Institute of Classical Philology. I really enjoy working with students who come here not only from different parts of Poland, but also from all over the world. Because Latin is a classical language, we usually do not teach how to communicate in it, but we let the students discover how the language lives today: for example in Latin proverbs, which are also used today, in inscriptions, that can be found in many churches and on various buildings in our city, and in modern languages in which really many words come from Latin. We show the cultural heritage of the ancient Romans, which is a foundation of European culture. Our students learn to read and understand the great works of ancient literature, written by authors such as: Cicero, Horace, Virgil. My favorite Latin poet is Publius Ovidius Naso, and among the myths I am most interested in the story of Europe, a Phoenician princess, whose name has become the name of our continent, and who was raped by Jupiter in the form of a bull and transported by the sea to the island of Crete. This myth had many versions in ancient literature, and has also gained a wide reception in modern literature and art. Now I am going to present you a fragment of this story placed by Ovid in his Metamorphoses, which became a canonical version of this myth and inspired so many later artists around the world. For example here in Poznań, at the National Museum, we can admire a painting entitled Abduction of Europe, by the Italian Baroque painter – Bernardo Strozzi. What I’m going to present now, is a piece of poetry, so I will read it in meter in which it was originally written – I mean the dactylic hexameter: (…) took on the shape of a bull, lowed among the other cattle, and, beautiful to look at, wandered in the tender grass. In colour he was white as the snow that rough feet have not trampled and the rain-filled south wind has not melted. The muscles rounded out his neck, the dewlaps hung down in front, the horns were twisted, but one might argue they were made by hand, purer and brighter than pearl. His forehead was not fearful, his eyes were not formidable, and his expression was peaceful. Agenor’s daughter marvelled at how beautiful he was and how unthreatening. But though he seemed so gentle she was afraid at first to touch him. Soon she drew close and held flowers out to his glistening mouth. The lover was joyful and while he waited for his hoped-for pleasure he kissed her hands. He could scarcely separate then from now. At one moment he frolics and runs riot in the grass, at another he lies down, white as snow on the yellow sands. When her fear has gradually lessened he offers his chest now for virgin hands to pat and now his horns to twine with fresh wreaths of flowers. The royal virgin even dares to sit on the bull’s back, not realising whom she presses on, while the god, first from dry land and then from the shoreline, gradually slips his deceitful hooves into the waves. Then he goes further out and carries his prize over the mid-surface of the sea. She is terrified and looks back at the abandoned shore she has been stolen from and her right hand grips a horn, the other his back, her clothes fluttering, winding, behind her in the breeze. (Ovid, Metamorphoses II 850-875, translated by A.S.Kline)