A Classic Gig

This summer internship: Taking ancient words of praise, making them modern, and digging into the people behind them.

A Classic Gig
Ruins of the Palace of the Emperor Diocletian at Spalat(r)o, 1764. Wien, 1910, Verlag von Franz Malota / Image courtesy Wikimedia

A job in the Classics? Oh yes, you can try that out. Through the REAL program, which aims to provide every student in the College of Arts and Sciences a paid internship or research opportunity, Classics major Max Gavenman ’22 got a feel for what his future work may be like. Gavenman spent the summer of 2020 transcribing religious artifacts from ancient Mediterranean regions into English.

Given the pandemic, Gavenman worked remotely for Biola University, where researchers will use his work as part of a larger project.

More than a thousand years ago, someone etched onto chalices, goblets, pillars, and tombstones the words Gavenman translated. He also researched the dedicators’ identities.

His summer work gave him experience uncovering lessons from the ancients.

“Sure, it was grueling,” he says, “but when you’re doing something you like, it’s worthwhile, and you enjoy it.”

Each week, he met with lead researchers and would learn something about ancient Roman society to aid with his translations and research. The internship was both an opportunity to practice skills he had already learned in school and gain knowledge about the subject, he says.

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