As the sun rose on Monday morning, Greater Boston stood under more than a foot of snow. But it was March fourth, after all, and so Roxbury Latin did (…march forth, that is). As the snow fell outside, Rousmaniere Hall was filled with exclamations of “Triumphales O sodales” in celebration of Exelauno Day, a uniquely Roxbury Latin event.
Exelauno Day dates back 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.”
Seventeen boys in Classes VI through I competed in this year’s David Taggart Clark Competition in Greek and Latin Declamation. Throughout the morning, they questioned the motives of Agamemnon, prosecuted Verres, slayed Turnus, competed in discus, and even tried to win a girl—unwittingly played by Classics master Mr. Reid—at the races. This year’s winners were Rami Hayes-Messinger of Class IV (Lower School Latin), Daniel Sun-Friedman of Class III (Upper School Latin), and Austin Manning of Class II (Greek).
Classics Department Chair Jameson Morris-Kliment served as master of ceremonies, and the judges, to whom RL extends its heartfelt gratitude, were Emily Greenwood, Chair and Professor of Classics at Yale University; Kenneth Burke, RL Class of 1989 and Foreign Language and English Teacher at Thayer Academy; and Ned Ligon, Roxbury Latin’s own Arthur Vining Davis Professor Emeritus of Greek and Latin.