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Latin Salutatory

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    Latin Salutatory

    I thought some of you would enjoy listening to this year's Harvard Latin Salutatory. Although the subject matter of these annual addresses is usually predictable, this one is exceptional. It's a light-hearted but moving tribute to someone who probably never dreamed of being praised in the Harvard Latin oration. There are English sub-titles, and it is only about 7 minutes.

    Incidentally, the student was a homeschooler before attending Harvard.


    That was AWESOME!!! The content was incredibly original and the delivery — I felt like we were watching a speech from the Roman Forum!
    Blog: [url][/url]

    DS18: Graduated and living his dream in the automotive trades
    DS17: MP, MPOA, headed to his favorite liberal arts college this fall
    DS15: MP, MPOA
    DS13: Mix of SC 5/6 & SC 7/8
    DD11: Mix of 5M and SC7/8
    DD10: SC3
    DD7: MPK


      Bonnie What a treat! Thanks for sharing. I found this bio about the speaker from It turns out Latin is only one of his super-powers.

      Benjamin Porteous ’22

      Latin Salutatory

      UNLIKE MANY BOYS who dream of becoming a football or basketball star, Benjamin Porteous ’22 dreamed of becoming a history scholar. “That was the only career I could envision myself being good at,” he says, “and the only career I could ever envision really wanting to do.” Raised on old Victorian children’s books that his mother, Rebecca Porteous ’87, collected when the family lived in South Africa, he built a strong connection to the past. “I was never in the present fully,” he jokes. “I was one of those weird kids who reads a lot and spends most of my time in these other worlds.”

      For such a student, homeschooling was a great option. It allowed him to focus less on math and science and more on the many languages he wanted to learn (and did): Latin, Greek, classical and modern Chinese, biblical Hebrew, Old English. He found conversing especially fun and accessible with Chinese. He spent hours weekly visiting elderly Mandarin speakers and hearing stories about the Cultural Revolution and other historical events.

      By the time he arrived at the College, from nearby Arlington, Massachusetts, where he spent most of his childhood, he had decided to concentrate in East Asian studies. He was particularly interested in pre-modern China—and ecstatic to have access to the Harvard-Yenching Library. “So I spent the past four years, when it was open, in the Yenching, reading old Chinese books,” he says, “which is really such a treat.” Aside from his studies of Chinese language and literature, the Leverett House resident continued studying Latin, began learning Japanese, and got started on Manchu—one of the official languages of the Qing dynasty—before taking a (possibly permanent) break. “It has a very intricate and complex script,” he explains, “and it was just above my pay grade.”

      Porteous did not consider auditioning to deliver the Latin oration until a couple of his Chinese professors urged the enthusiastic senior to do so. Having won the competition, he’s excited for the unique opportunity to give a speech in a language about which he’s long been passionate. “Because it’s in Latin, it can be kind of goofy to start with—because nobody understands it,” he says, adding that the speech is known for grand physical gestures. “So that allows for considerable freedom to, I think, combine humor and poignancy.”

      After graduation, Porteous will pursue a master’s degree in East Asian studies at Harvard and then a Ph.D. in comparative Latin, Greek, and classical Chinese. “So we’ll see where it goes,” he says, smiling. “And we’ll see whether I can get a job, which is the key question these days.”
      Festina lentē,
      Jessica P

      '22-'23 • 13th year HSing • 11th year MP
      DS Hillsdale College freshman
      DD 11th • HLN & Latin online
      DD 8th • HLN & Home
      DS 5th • HLN & Home
      Me • Memoria College, MPOA Fourth Form for Adults

      Teaching Third Form Latin and co-directing @
      Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School, est. 2016


        That was fun and uplifting to watch! Thank you for sharing!

        For 2021-22
        dd- 6th
        ds- 3rd
        dd- 1st
        ds- adding smiles and distractions