Many things came together for this project. First at the end of spring semester 1995, a student, when signing up for a major in Classics, expressed an interest in women’s history. I had never had the opportunity to teach a course in Women in Antiquity and offered to work with her on a directed study. The new Oxford history of Women in the Classical World had just come out and we decided to read that together. At the same time new explorations of the role of courses taught in English in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures were under way. One thought was to offer sections in the various languages in conjunction with the wider discussions, so that students would read some of the material in the language they were studying. It seemed an ideal opportunity to try out this approach. We agreed that we would read about Roman women in Latin (for one credit) along with the more general readings (also for one credit). 

During the summer I collected readings in Latin, starting with the obvious foundation stories. Jane Snyder’s book, The Woman and the Lyre provided many helpful leads, as did the new Fantham, Foley, Kampen, Pomeroy, and Shapiro history and my friends Rick and Burma Williams at Washington State University and Pullman, WA who called my attention to the Vindolanda letters (an ideal project for a second year Latin student). When fall came around two more students enrolled in each of the courses. The Latin students met once a week to translate the texts. Each student was assigned to find a text about women, provide some general notes and glosses, and lead the class for one hourly session. Their contributions would then be added to the reader. (These student-led sessions, as it turned out, were among the best!)

Early in the fall, I began using the internet, where I learned about Diotima and began to follow discussions on the Classics list about e-publication . I contacted several people about the desirability of a Latin reader on Women and received encouragement, especially from Ross Scaife. Towards the end of the fall semester I submitted a draft of the reader to Diotima. The students spent the last sessions editing the reader and making helpful suggestions for the notes. The result is a collaborative project that we hope can be used in other intermediate Latin classes. We invite contributions from faculty, students, and other interested Latinists. Best of all–with the rising costs of textbooks–DFR is, but for the copying cost, free. 

C. A. E. Luschnig (
Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures
University of Idaho
Moscow, ID 83843