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Eta Phi at Union College

This year has been a good one for our
chapter, and one filled with exciting
activities, including the initiation of 21
new members. Members of our chapter
presented their Classics scholarship at two
undergraduate research symposia; some to
a group of four local colleges at our yearly
Parilia festival, others at Union College’s
own Steinmetz. Topics show our members’
wide range of interests: the influence of
athletics on inter-polis relations, pudor in
the Metamorphoses, and vomit as discussed
in the medical authors.
In the fall, we coordinated “Myth
Trivia” and “Myth Taboo” nights which
were not only fun in their own right, but
helped those of us in Professor Gazzarri’s
mythology course. Professors also were our
guests at two movie nights, as we watched
and discussed the films 300 and Troy.
We celebrated a Bacchanalia — tame, by
ancient standards, though it did feature a
re-enactment of the finale of Euripides’s
Bacchae, complete with sparagmos of an
innocent piñata (standing in for Pentheus).
In February, we observed the Lupercalia
with a presentation about the festival, why
it was significant, and what traces of it
remain in modern society. We performed
some of the traditions in an attempt
to recreate this festival accurately (but
not too accurately!). Later, we explored
ancient sculpture at our “Play-doh with
Plato” event; in addition to learning about
famous sculptors and ideas on art from the
ancient world, we had the chance to try to
make our own — sometimes with hilarious
results. We ended the year with a toga
workshop, where we learned about the significance
of togas in ancient Rome both as
a way of life and as a marker of social status
through a demonstration of how to make a
real toga. Students made their own togas,
and those who wished to exhibit their work
had a chance to model their togas at our
“Judgement of Paris” fashion show.

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