image of Grammatica (by Abbess Herrad)

Week 14: Hrotsvitha.

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. Hrotsvitha's Christian drama. Although there are some wonderful comic elements in this play, Hrotsvitha has some very serious points that she is trying to make. What are the main Christian messages that she is trying to convey with the events of this play? What aspects of Christianity are emphasized by the action of the plot? What Christian themes are most prominent in the words that the young women speak to their male adversaries? What are the virtues of these female heroines that are most highly praised in the text?

2. Hrotsvitha's rhymed prose. Find four or five passages where you can see Hrotsvitha making good use of rhymed prose. What do you think of Hrotsvitha's style overall? There is a considerable debate about whether her plays were meant to be performed or simply read: do you think this play would make for an enjoyable live performance? What are some of the verbal techniques that Hrotsvitha uses which would contribute to a successful dramatic performance of the text.

3. Jovinianus and Dulcitius. In what ways are the situations of Jovinianus and Dulcitius similar? (be specific! cite details from the text). In particular, what are the comic elements that these stories have in common? In what ways are the situations of Jovinianus and Dulcitius fundamentally different? Are there any similarities between the role of the guardian angel in the Jovinianus story and the role of the angels in this story?

4. Christians and pagans. According to the spokesmen for paganism in this drama, why is paganism the right choice? Why should the three sisters agree to worship the pagan gods? What would be their reward for becoming pagans? In general, what opinion do the pagans have of the Christians? According to the spokeswomen for Christianity in this drama, why is Christianity the right choice? Why must the three sisters refuse to worship the pagan gods? What will be their reward for being Christians? In general, what opinion do the Christian sisters have of the pagans?

5. Martyrdom stories. How does this story compare to other martyrdom stories that you might be aware of? Looking at this story, what do you think the purpose of telling such stories would be in general within the Christian tradition? In particular, what could a story like this mean to a community of nuns living in Germany in the 10th century? How does the plot of the story contribute to this meaning? How do the dialogues and speeche of the plot contribute to this meaning?

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