Three juniors receive Caplan Travel Fellowships

By: Linda Brown,  Department of Classics
November 27, 2017

Angaelica LaPasta '19, Francesca LaPasta ’19, and Griffin David Warren Smith-Nichols '19 have each been awarded a Harry Caplan Travel Fellowship worth $4,000 to study and conduct research in Greece, Italy and Jerusalem.

Angaelica LaPasta, an archaeology and classics major, will attend a course on “Love in Greek Antiquity and the Middle Ages” run by the organization Greek Studies on Site in Athens, Greece. This course will serve as preparation for a senior thesis on female sexuality and romantic relationships in ancient Greece. While in Greece, she also intends to visit sites and museums that contain material culture relevant to her thesis. She then hopes to travel to England to improve her proficiency in ancient Greek at the JACT Greek Summer School at Bryanston. This program will also provide preparation for her senior thesis, as much of her research for this project will involve the reading of ancient sources in the original Greek.

Francesca LaPasta, a classics major, will travel in Italy and Greece to conduct research for a senior thesis on the relationships between ancient literary representations of the underworld and actual geographic sites that Greeks and Romans understood as entrances to the netherworld. This project will enable her to explore the interactions of landscape, literature, travel and tourism in antiquity. She intends to visit Italian sites such as the Phlegraean Fields in Baia, the Cave of the Sibyl in Cumae, the Lacus Curtius in Rome, the underground city of Orvieto, and Grecian sites such as the Cape Matapan Caves and the so-called “Necromanteion” of Ephyra. She then plans to attend College Year in Athens’ summer program titled “Becoming a Traveler: Writing in Greece.” This course will provide her with additional background on ancient travel and its impact on literature.

Smith-Nichols, a college scholar and classics major, intends to study Biblical Hebrew at the Rothberg International School, which is based at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. This intensive program is intended to cover the same material that would typically comprise a year’s worth of college-level language instruction. Students will also visit sites of historical, religious or natural importance throughout Israel. By learning Biblical Hebrew and engaging with original sources, Griffin hopes to gain a deeper understanding of Biblical texts and Judeo-Christian history, culture and thought.

The fellowships honor Harry Caplan '1916, the late professor emeritus of classics, who was considered one of most beloved and inspiring teachers for nearly 50 years. After his death in 1980, his former students contributed to an endowment in his honor. Annual travel fellowships from that endowment are awarded to students who share his interests — including Greek and Latin classics, ancient Jewish culture and ancient and medieval Latin rhetoric. The fellowship grants can subsidize specific academic projects or intense and informed tourism.

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