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A Budding Latinist

At only 15 years old, he won the XVII Certamen Ovidianum: the genius Josiah

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It was the fifteen-year-old Josiah Meadows, student of the Legal home school of Georgia in the city of Athens, to triumph, last Saturday, at the seventeenth edition of the Certamen Ovidianum sulmonense, winning the first prize of a thousand euros. It's the first time that the Certamen sees among its participants a student coming from a place so far way, but especially someone so young and so prepared, so much that he interpreted the translation in Latin instead of English and to gave thanks on the stage of the Pacifico speaking in the "dead language".

How is that you decided to participate in the Certamen Ovidianum here in Sulmona? And how did you know about Ovid?
I decided to participate in the Certamen Ovidianum after having spoken with a friend who had participated in the Certamen Ciceronianum of Arpino. I was immediately fascinated by his experience and, driven by curiosity, I searched the Internet, discovering Sulmona and the Certamen Ovidianum. From that moment my interest in Ovid was born.

Which works of Ovid have you read, and which did you like the most?
I've read some of Heroides, Ars Amatoria, and Amores, but the work that struck me the most was definitely Metamorphoses, because it moved me. The myth that I loved the most was that of Pyramus and Thisbe; the story of the two youths really touched me. And furthermore the ability with which the verses had been written made me feel involved in the sadness of their incident.

Do you think that Ovid's message could have some universal value despite that fact that it was written so long ago?
Certainly, many truths are present in the works of Ovid. Love, for example, is a theme that is always present.

Is Ovid well-known in your country?
Well, he isn't well-known in the streets, but almost everyone in the universities knows who Ovid is.

What was the translation talking about?
The translation consisted of a discourse of Pythagoras written by Ovid, taken from book fifteen of Metamorphoses in which he was encouraging people not to consume meat. Here is another example, if we want, of Ovid's contemporaneity. Who would have thought that two thousand years later it would have become a trend?

So, were you satisfied?
Honestly, I would have preferred other topics, for example a myth, maybe that of Polyphemus because it's my second favorite myth, after that of Pyramus and Thisbe.

You were the last person to come out of the classroom, although being the winner. Did you find difficulties in the translation?
The translation wasn't easy, even though the most complicated part was the commentary. Because it also required a work of interpreting philosophy. However, it seems like it went well.

So the preparation for a Certamen requires a lot of time
I've studied intensely for six months, with the help of a professor. I also took Italian lessons once a week, so that I could be as prepared as possible.

How was it to participate in the Certamen?
It was a really interesting experience, that I will definitely recommend to my friends. What I liked the most was putting all of my study and knowledge into practice. I feel really satisfied.

And what do you think about Sulmona, where Ovid was born?
Sulmona is a very beautiful city, both for it's antiquity and for the nature that surrounds it. The mountains in the background are breath-taking! The place that I liked the most is the square with the statue of Ovid.

Next year we're going to celebrate the two thousandth anniversary of Ovid's death. Despite the distance does it seem like there are going to be many reservations from the United States? Are you going to come back?
Is really enjoyed Sulmona so much, as well as the hospitality of its inhabitants. The competition is very serious and qualitatively challenging. I hope with all of my heart to come back and I'm almost sure that I will.

Elena Antonelli

postato il 22/4/2016

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