Kate Allen's interest in Martial's Latin poems didn't end when she finished her senior project. Now she will present her paper What's that smell? Odor in Martial's Epigrammata at the 88th annual conference for the southern section of the Classical Association of the Middle West and South, also known as CAMWS.
According to Allen, in addition to undergraduate students, professors and graduate students can submit their papers for recognition with CAMWS as well. The purpose of CAMWS is to promote and recognize Classical Studies. Anyone who enters their writings must be a member of CAMWS. The paper must be on a subject in Classics and be presented within a fifteen-minute block of time. The conference will take place November 13-15, 2008 in Asheville, North Carolina at the University of North Carolina.
“The conference is basically three days of people reading papers on their current research. My paper deals with the smells and odors discussed in Martial's poems. For Martial and the Romans, a person's ability to perceive and evaluate smells was a sign of his cultural sophistication. Ideally, having a good smell should mean that you are sophisticated, but in Martial's poems the people who smelled good were often those who were trying to cover something up,” she said.
Allen began studying Martial's poems for her senior project this past spring. All of the poems are written in Latin, and she transcribed many of Martial's pieces from a Renaissance edition of the poems housed in the Seidman Rare Books Collection.
“Martial was a poet who lived in the second half of the first century A.D.,” she said. “I translated his poems and looked at a lot of the themes throughout them, and Dr. Peter Anderson encouraged me to look at the theme of smell further.”
Allen is in the Honors College and a Classical Languages major. She is proficient in both Greek and Latin.
“I love Latin, I think it's fun and fascinating and you don't have to speak it,” she said. “Non-spoken languages are definitely my forte; if you don't have to speak it, then sign me up!”
Allen is continuing her studies in the Classics department for one last semester. She hopes to graduate December 2008 and go onto graduate school to receive her Ph.D. in Classical Languages.