Exelauno Day Brings the Classics to Enchanting Life Each Year

On March 4, Roxbury Latin students and masters celebrated a tradition that is distinctly RL: Exelauno Day dates back more than 130 years, when Classics master Clarence Willard Gleason inaugurated a celebration of the Classics, in which Greek students would be exempted from homework. Today, the event allows for the singular annual pleasure of hearing from boys of every age and level of exposure to Latin and Greek. (It is worth noting that the day continues to be one in which Greek and Latin students are exempted from homework!) Gleason chose March 4th as a punny reference to Xenophon’s Anabasis and its use of the verb “exelauno,” meaning “to march forth.”

Throughout the morning, boys in Class VI through Class I competed in this year’s David Taggart Clark Competition in Greek and Latin Declamation—reciting the stirring words of Homer and Cicero, performing the slapstick comedy of Plautus, and bringing to life the words of Xenophon himself. This year’s winners were Daniel Stepanyan of Class VI (Lower School Latin), John Wilkinson of Class II (Upper School Latin), and David LaFond of Class I (Greek).

Classics Department Chair Jamie Morris-Kliment served as master of ceremonies, and the judges, to whom RL extends its heartfelt gratitude, were Professor Kendra Eshleman, Chair of Classics at Boston College; Sally Morris, teacher of Classics at Phillips Exeter Academy; and Scott Giampetruzzi, teacher of Classics at the Groton School.

Watch a video wrap-up of the morning’s celebration and competition, or view images from the day.