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Classics majors, class of 2020

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Published Date

June 17, 2020

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Princeton’s seniors were honored last month at a virtual commencement ceremony that marked the end of their time as undergraduates. As the Class of 2020 prepare for the next stages of their lives and careers, we asked some of those who chose to major in Classics about their work and plans for the future.

Jaylin Lugardo 

Newark, New Jersey

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Major: Classics

Certificate: Humanistic Studies

What have you been working on in the Classics?

My senior thesis attempts to rehabilitate current scholarship on Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great. Extant textual sources are enough to reconstruct his general portrait; however, Philip’s commitment to the political image and optics of his leadership in the fourth century, as well as the extremist opinions of his contemporaries inevitably distort scholars' perception of him. I use spatial analysis techniques to look at the political-religious relationships that materialize in and around the spaces of the Theatre of Aigai in Vergina and the Philippeion in Olympia, to offer insight into the role that architectural networks played in cultivating Philip’s optics for his Panhellenic audience. 

Can you share something unusual you learned about the Classics during your time at Princeton?

My sophomore fall, in Professor Haynes' class on Latin invective and slander, we compared the impacts of Catullus' poetry to Eminem's BET HipHop Awards Freestyle Cypher against Trump, and Taylor Swift's break-up songs. 

What are your plans for the future?

I will be doing a post-baccalaureate program at Yale in Classics before, god-willing, continuing onto graduate school. 


Christopher Howard

Kinderhook, New York

Christopher Howard image

 

Major: Classics

Certificate: Medieval Studies

What have you been working on in the Classics?

I’ve largely focused on the development of doctrine in the early Church, particularly in Roman North Africa, and my thesis addressed the Donatist doctrinal controversy by providing a new perspective on Saints Cyprian and Augustine. The Donatist controversy was a dispute over the nature of the Church and whether sacraments could be invalidated by personal immorality. 

Can you share something unusual you learned about the Classics during your time at Princeton?

It’s incredible to think that Cleopatra lived closer in time to us than she did to the building of the Pyramids. 

What are your plans for the future?

I’ll be pursuing a Master’s in Theological Studies at the University of Notre Dame to continue learning more about early Christianity’s pivotal events, figures, and doctrines. 


André Mendoza

Los Angeles, California

André Mendoza

Major: Classics

Certificate: Medieval Studies

What have you been working on in the Classics?

I focus on ancient and medieval philosophy, theology, literature, and languages–– especially Latin and Greek. My first Junior paper was an exposition of Aristotle’s doctrine of the Four Causes in the Physics; the second offered a comparison of Aristotle’s philosophy of friendship in the Nicomachean Ethics to that of the Roman Stoic Seneca. My senior thesis, entitled Viva Latinitas: An Essay on Language and Learning in the Classics, is a compendium of philosophy of language, linguistics, educational theory and history of language teaching which argues that the best way to learn Latin is through active speech.

Can you share something unusual you learned about the Classics during your time at Princeton?

The most interesting thing I’ve learned in the Classics is how both Greek and Hebrew culture combined to become Christianity. The early fathers of the church read both Plato and Moses, though they were careful to make a distinction between theology and philosophy. So as long as Christianity is around, the classics will be too! Very cool.

What are your plans for the future?

Next year I will be teaching Latin at a private boys school in Chicago. In the future I hope to teach Greek as well, and to continue studying ancient philosophy, languages, and literature.


Kirsten Traudt

Morristown, New Jersey

Kirsten Traudt

Major: Classics

Certificate: Humanistic Studies

What have you been working on in the Classics?

I recently completed a senior thesis under the supervision of Professor Dan-el Padilla Peralta entitled Slavery, Childrearing, and Education in the Roman Empire. In it, I combined my interests in slavery and education during the Roman empire in order to provide a more detailed picture of how the experience of Roman childhood was affected by the institution of Roman slavery. The thesis represented an extension of my junior independent work, which focused on the role of slave labor in the composition of Horace's Satires and the construction of his poetic persona in the same set of works, and on the role of pedagogical works like the Hermeneumata Pseudodositheana in the formation and replication of Roman male identity.

Can you share something unusual you learned about the Classics during your time at Princeton?

I am continually surprised by the ancient world; even though we know (or think we know) quite a bit about the Greeks and Romans, there is still so much left to discover. One very small detail that I found very odd in my thesis research is that when getting out of bed, Romans put on their sandals first, before any other clothes. Even stranger, they often did not do this themselves, as attested in a letter by Pliny; high-ranking Romans world instead have an enslaved attendant put on their shoes for them, which I think is a good illustration of Roman society's total dependence on slave labor.

What are your plans for the future?

Next year, I will be attending Oxford University on a scholarship from the Keasbey Memorial Foundation, where I will pursue an MPhil degree in Greek and Latin Languages and Literatures. There, I hope to continue studying ancient slavery, childhood, and education while simultaneously expanding my knowledge of ancient history and literature.