image of from the Bayeux tapestry

Week 11: Aesopus.

Background | Background Quiz | Starting Assumptions | Resources | Extras
Vocabulary | Etymology | Grammar | Perseus Dictionary | Perseus Tool

Reading Overview | Reading Quiz: English
| Reading Quiz: Latin
Discussion Questions | Latin Composition | Weekly Checklist

Discussion Questions

Please choose 3 of the following questions to answer and send your response in an email to the instructor ( Each answer should be a solid paragraph (150-250 words for each English discussion question, 500-750 words for the overall assignment).

You should then post your answers to the class Discussion Board. You need to have sent the email and posted your answers by Friday midnight. At some point you will also be posting at least two replies to comments posted by the other students; you may do that at any time during the week, until Monday midnight.

1. And the moral of the story is... Pick one of the stories that we read this week where you really liked the moral, and explain how the story does a good job of demonstrating the moral. Then pick another one of the stories where somehow the moral did not quite seem right to you, where the moral did not quite seem to fit: what went wrong with the moral, according to you? In general, what did you think of the morals of the stories? Do you think that these little fables with their morals could have been used to good effect by medieval preachers?

2. Negative examples. Usually the Aesopic fable teaches by negative examples: the foolish crow who loses the cheese, the foolish birds who trust in the "Dux" and so on. What exactly is it that leads the fools to behave in such a foolish way? What kinds of mistakes do they make? What are the character flaws and faults that end up getting them into so much trouble? Make sure you talk about at least three of this week's fables in your answer.

3. Innocent victims. Think about the two fables in which there seems to be an innocent victim: the sheep who has to sell her wool and the lamb who gets eaten by the wolf. What is the point of telling stories in which you see some innocent creature victimized by creatures who are stronger and more powerful? What do the morals of these stories say? What kind of people do you think told stories like these? What do you think their motivation was in telling these stories?

4. Early printing. Take a close look at the printing style of the early printed Aesop from 1501: you can see the frog story and the wolf story in the traditional printed version and in our modern printed version (ultra modern digital version!) right next to it. What are the things that you notice most of all about this old-fashioned printing? What are the elements that make this look handwritten to us, even though it really is printed? Can you find any abbreviations that are being used, following the old manuscript traditions? How does punctuation work in the old printing? What kind of punctuation is there -- and what kind of punctuation is missing? What makes the old printing hard to read? What makes the old printing pretty to look at?

5. Favorite image for the week. Was there one of the images for this week which made a big impression on you? Provide a link to the webpage where that image is found, and give a detailed description of the image. What attracted your attention to this image? What are the details that stick in your mind? Do you think that image fits in well with the words of the text? What makes this image stand out from the other images that we looked at this week?

6. Reflecting on the week. Take a look back at what you wrote as your "starting assumptions" for this week, and look at the starting assumptions of the other students in the class. Did anything you read or studied this week make a big change in your starting assumptions? Did the assignment turn out to be pretty much what you expected? More interesting? Less interesting? What surprised you the most? If you were going to continue with this topic, what kind of research and reading would you want to do? What questions are still left unanswered?

7. Grammar revelations. Did you have a Latin grammar crisis this week? Did you get through it? What did you learn? Is there something you grasped this week that was never really clear to you before? A grammar epiphany? Is there something you are still really struggling with? What do you do when you are having trouble understanding a passage in Latin? Where do you look for help? In general, was the reading this week easier or harder than expected? What are you going to concentrate on in your Latin work in the coming week?

8. Website critique. Pick one of the websites that you visited this week as part of your work for this class (it could be a website about this week's topic, or a website for learning Latin). Provide a link to the site, and a brief desription of its contents. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this website? Who would find this website useful? What did you use this website for? What did you find there? Do you think you will visit this website again?

Modern Languages 4970 / MRS 4903: Medieval Latin. Spring 2003 Online Course at the University of Oklahoma. Visit for more info.
Laura Gibbs, University of Oklahoma - Information Technology © 2003. Last updated: December 29, 2002 7:12 PM