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An Introduction to Wool-Working for Readers of Greek and Latin

Weaving on a warp-weighted loom. Drawing after Attic black-figure lekythos
(ca 550-530 BCE) now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York.
Immediately, they both set up their looms in different places
and they stretch twin webs with slender warp: the web has been bound to the beam, a shed rod separates the warp,
the weft is inserted in the middle with sharp shuttles,
the weft which their fingers draw out,
and which, led between the warp, the notched teeth strike
as the comb is tapped. They both hurry and,
with their clothes gathered at their chests,
they move skilled arms, their eagerness belying the labor.
Ovid, Metamorphoses 6.53-60

The vase painting and passage above detail the process of weaving on a warp-weighted loom. It is difficult to visualize these activities if one is not familiar with the textile arts or with the ancient technology of cloth production. The DVD Text & Textile: An Introduction to Wool-Working for Readers of Greek and Latindemonstrates the process of turning wool into cloth using ancient tools and techniques. It is, if you will, a backward journey through metaphor: the many terms that describe the textile arts also apply to the work of the storyteller. The textile metaphors we find in literary contexts come to life when we understand the world in which they originate. In fact, textiles were not only a source of metaphor for the poet's art, but also a means of storytelling through visual narratives.

This DVD with Susan Edmunds, Prudence Jones, and Gregory Nagy shows:
- How wool is spun into thread with a spindle
- How cloth was woven in ancient Greece and Rome
- Images of textile work from vase paintings and other sources
- Economic and cultural significance of women’s textile work
- Importance of textile metaphors in Greek and Latin literature


Expert spinners and weavers demonstrate the steps involved in making cloth from wool using tools and technology appropriate to the time period.

In addition, special guest Gregory Nagy of Harvard University and the Center for Hellenic Studies discusses the relationship between text and textile.


This instructional DVD is not just for readers of Greek and Latin. Students of classical literature and civilization at any level will gain a deeper appreciation of connections between language, thought, and material culture in Greek and Roman antiquity. Today’s weavers and spinners will learn about the history and cultural significance of their craft.

Running time: 30 minutes. The DVD contains supplementary material for classroom and general educational use, including information for those wanting to learn to spin or weave using ancient techniques.
ISBN: 0-9759617-0-5 


Youtube Link


Supplementary material:
pdf How to Get Started Spinning and Weaving
pdf A Teacher's Guide
pdf Some Latin Textile Terms
pdf Some Greek Textile Terms
pdf Passages from Greek and Latin Literature cited in Text and Textile
pdf Select Bibliography
pdf Text and Textile DVD Flyer

Text & Textile: An Introduction to Wool-Working for Readers of Greek and Latin was made possible by a generous grant from the Center for Hellenic Studies, Washington, D.C.

Latin Placement Exam


The Latin placement exam is designed to determine your skill level in Latin, and the best course level for you to start with at Rutgers.  Once you take the exam, your score determines your placement level:  elementary (100-level), intermediate (200-level), or advanced (300- or 400-level).  Please note:  If you took Latin in high school, you must take the placement exam in order to get credit for any college-level Latin course.

Can I use a dictionary?

When taking the placement exam, do not use any dictionaries, textbooks, or other study aides.  This is important, because if you were to artificially inflate your score on this exam, you would likely place at a level that is too advanced for you, for example, a 300- or 400-level course.  You do not want this to happen because if it did, you would not be able to take a lower-level course, for example, a 100- or 200-level course, and receive college credit at Rutgers.  Also, you would not be able to re-take the exam.  You would be placed at a higher level for which you are not prepared, and unable to change your score.

What if I fail the exam?

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It usually takes 1 or 2 hours to complete the exam.  You must complete it in one sitting.  There are 100 total questions:  50 vocabulary questions and 50 questions based on various passages.  All questions are multiple choice.  When finished, click the button:  submit for grading.

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At the end of the exam, you will see your score and placement level.  You may want to print out that page for future reference.  Your placement level will also be available in enrollment pathway and degree navigator approximately three to four weeks after taking the exam. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please e-mail us at: classics at rci.rutgers.edu
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Latin placement exam

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