I’m just back from spending a week (a mon-fri week only, quod me paenitet), at the 2nd Australian Rusticatio. What’s a rusticatio? Well, it’s a live-in, immersion week of Latin in a rural setting, in which you only speak in Latin, and participate in various activities including structured learning sessions, reading sessions, activities, preparing meals, and general conviviality. They are put on by SALVI.
This was the second year we’ve had one in Australia, and I commend you to read my report of last year’s one (partly so I don’t need to repeat myself!)
This year I was greatly looking forward to it, because I had had such a great time last year. Also, I was anticipating seeing returnees from last year, and renewing those friendships in Latin. Thirdly, I was expecting to take up some leadership in some of the small group sessions this year (which was not a false expectation…)
This year’s was a smaller event, with less Americans out to take the lead, and less participants along (for various reasons, some unavoidably beyond our control). It was excellent in every way, nonetheless, and the size of the event in no way regulates that.
I took on the role of a repetitor this year, which is not merely someone back for another time (though that is true), but also managing one of our various greges (groups). This meant leading some pleasant discussions in Latin on various readings, which was indeed enjoyable! Though daunting – people in my group undoubtedly have considerable years’ experience in Latin, and I by no means think I am in any way a better Latinist than them, just perhaps someone with more speaking experience.
I also enjoyed the confusing pleasure of taking a couple of eligenda (elective) sessions on “Greek via Latin” in which we worked with some of my simple translations of the Oxford Latin Course into Greek. Since I have myself started teaching Greek via Greek, talking through some simple Greek but in Latin was… a mix-up in my head.
It was also very pleasing to not only have returnees, but a good number of first-timers among us. It takes a lot of courage to say, “sure, I will go away with a group of virtual strangers to a bushland retreat and only talk Latin for the first time”, especially several of our newcomers were not even so far along in their Latin learning via any mode at all. They all did admirably, and new friends were indeed made.
And, opportunities to play any kind of role-playing-game in Latin are virtually as rare as unicorns, so it was delightful to play D&D again in Latin (uel, Sepulcra et Serpentes as we call it).
My great thanks to all involved in organising and running this year’s Rusticatio. It is truly a special event, both incredibly enjoyable, and amazingly profitable for one’s Latin.