Secunda #2: Fabula Afrae is now available in print. Head over HERE to get your copy today!
It is late in the day here at Sequential Latin Studios, but, as promised, Secunda #2 has gone live and now available on Kindle with access via 23 different devices and the cloud! Print versions should be available next week. Click HERE to get your digital copy right now!
Stay tuned next week for the release of Secunda #2 in print and English versions!!
Hey everyone! The English edition of Secunda #1 is now available in print! Now you can chose the English (red cover) or Latin (purple cover) edition depending on your language preferences! Head over to: http://www.indyplanet.us/product/131195/
We are very pleased to announce that Secunda #1 (Latin version) is currently available for purchase in print format! Head over to our storefront to get your copy today: http://ionicempire.com/secunda/ (You can always reach our store from this blog or our homepage sequentiallatin.org)
If you purchase more than 5 copies at a time, you receive a 25% discount (great for teachers!)
In the coming days, digital format for the Latin version will be made available, as will the print and digital formats for the English version. To be notified when further formats and the English versions become available, you can subscribe to this blog or download our FREE and lightweight blog app to receive push notifications right to your phone.
If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns we would love to hear from you! You can always get in touch with us HERE, or post in the comments section below, tweet at us or visit us on Facebook.
Enjoy Secunda #1, and let us know what you think!
Only two days to go until release of Secunda #1…
We are very happy to have special guest Wesley Wood of Ionic Empire here on our blog today to tell us all about the unique features of Secunda that make it such a powerful and versatile Latin learning tool! Without further ado, let’s hear what Wesley has to share in Exploring Secunda, Part III: A Latin Reader with a Modern Twist.
Exploring Secunda, Part III: A Latin Reader with a Modern Twist
Guest blog by Wesley Wood, MAT
There is just something special about Secunda. She is a spunky girl, with traditional Roman values of course, but her imagination is what sets her apart from her peers. Too often Latin students are subjected to the same old types of stories and exercises – as I have lamented: “The raeda can only be stuck in the fossā for so many chapters before it gets old.” Students may be reading things that were designed to assist in their proficiency, but sometimes the drive isn’t there.
I remember coming home from the American Classical League Institute this year, and I was reading an early draft of Secunda #1 for editing. But the first step whenever editing, no matter first or final draft, is to read the manuscript in its entirety. So here I am in the Hartford International Airport, laughing out loud to myself because of this silly Roman girl named Secunda. “This,” I remember saying, “is someone Latin students will love.”
In theories of language acquisition and discussions of language pedagogies, the notion that material should be compelling to the student has often been overlooked. Granted, even as a native speaker you will not always read things you want to read (e.g. any high school or college course), but it certainly helps to drive you on when it does. In my experience as a student and magister, Latin seems to fall flat when it comes to compelling readings for students, especially beginning and intermediate ones. Of course, there are some students who love to read about the tactics of Julius Caesar in Gaul or the epic foundations of Roman legend in the Aeneid, but they have to first trudge through waves of synthetic Latin to reach “the good stuff.”
This is where Sequential Latin’s Secunda shines, by setting itself apart from other readers. Its visually-striking art in full color keeps readers’ attention and makes you want to turn the page. For me, the storylines are superb, quirky, and just hilarious, without the typical corny dialogue you would find elsewhere. Here, you will find angst and attitude that are perfect for preteen and teen readers alike, looking to make a connection. From a teacher’s perspective, I wanted to ensure that this would be an excellent introduction to Roman culture and history, and Secunda’s methodology does just that. The major premise for the series is that Secunda’s imagination will retell the myths and histories that we all (i.e. teachers) know and love, from Cloelia and Lars Porsenna to Theseus and the Minotaur and more. Most importantly, Secunda puts herself in the stories and is an active participant, not just a passive observer.
Comprehensible and Contextualized Vocabulary
Vocabulary is the hardest part of learning any foreign language, for most students. In language acquisition, this holds true as well, for you will eventually pick up the culturally accepted grammar – one day you will presumably no longer say: “I do-ded it”…“I did it.” It just takes time. For Latin learners, vocabulary is very often an onerous part of the whole experience, resulting in only short-term retention because no meaningful connections were made. Many teachers now present vocabulary with images or realia to create associations, myself included, and this should be extended into students’ readings. Phillip Ray’s marvelous illustrations were designed with the Latin in mind in order to foster this idea of “negotiation of meaning.”
I always say in class to use context clues in the sentence; in Secunda, there are additional significant clues that highly contextualize the vocabulary. One of the best examples in Issue #1 is when Secunda overhears a shopkeeper yelling out her goods: HABEO LUDICRA, MONILIA, ARMILLAS, ANULOS…. a list of words – the student’s nightmare. But fantastically, each one of these words is represented in the panel where that word is first introduced to the reader. Instead of seeing an English definition (those are available in the INDEX VERBORUM), the reader sees an image and can infer meaning. This is a major tool for secondary language acquisition.
Spoken Latin in Written Form
One last thing that I will address is the fact that this entire Latin reader is entirely colloquial. This is wonderful for a number of reasons. First, many Latin classrooms do not incorporate spoken Latin into the curricula, unfortunately. It is my professional opinion that we should learn as the Romans did OR as close to it as we can; if they were unable to read the language silently, my students and I should not either. For those types of classrooms, I believe this is a happy compromise to introduce conversational Latin. (N.B. This is technically not interpersonal communication; it is interpretive communication.)
However, for those of you teachers who do employ some level of spoken Latin, I can assure you it is a joy to use with students. Reading it together really gets you into the story (the onomatopoeia and interjections truly do it justice), but it is fantastic as an individual reading. With both the Secunda series and its advanced counterpart, the Cosmos Incendens series, students will soon be able to have extensive compelling readings at their fingertips – a true need in our field.
I can go on and on here, and I will at another time. But in short, I think it would be best to close out with a quotation I overheard at ACL this year, from a seventh-grade girl who watched a demo of Secunda #1: “Secunda is my homegirl!”
For more from Wesley Wood, check out the Ionic Empire official Blog!
Also, check out this mini-comic made just for the holiday Fontinālia, which is today by the way. It was a holiday in honor of the god Fons, whose name literally means fountain. The site of Rome had many springs to provide running water, but the Roman system of aqueducts and the many fountains it supplied took it to the next level. On this day, according to Varro, the Romans would toss garlands into fountains and wrap them around wells. In the mini-comic below, Secunda does her part to honor this revered god.
Exploring Secunda, Part II: The Story
Secunda the series is not so much one story, as many different stories. To be sure, we will always be following Secunda or Secunda Altera around, but every issue will have its own, self-contained story, and there is no over-arching plot connecting the issues. The only exception would be two-part stories which span two consecutive issues.
In each issue, you can expect a complete story with ups and downs and a satisfying resolution. Sometimes we will spend a whole issue with Secunda in the real world, sometimes an entire issue will be one of Secunda Altera’s many exploits. Other times we will bounce back and forth between reality and Secunda’s imagination. Still other times we will be told a story by one of the character and see it play out visually. Amid all the variety of tales told in the Secunda comics, one thing is certain: every issue will bring new and exciting stories told in fresh and compelling ways.
So we know how the stories are told, but what sort of material will be covered? Well, put simply, Secunda’s material focuses on the Myth and History of Rome, Greece, the Mediterranean at large, and plenty of other ancient lands and peoples. Think of Secunda as a romp through the ancient world with a focus on Classical antiquity and in particular Rome. As you read on to the issue summaries below, you will get a good sense of the breadth of the Secunda series.
It is important to note that, while much of Secunda is about our heroine’s imagination, it is very firmly rooted in historical 2nd century CE Rome. Often times, the historical details float around in the background, not having much effect on the story. Other times, the story itself is all about the historical details. The great thing is, each issue has a commentary which illuminates the historical and cultural content!
The Issue Summaries:
The first five issues of Secunda give a good taste of the range of themes and content you can expect from the series as a whole. Let’s take a look at each issue.
Issue I: Secunda’s Day Off
The first issue of Secunda really sets the tone
of the series as well as the “mechanics” of the series. By mechanics, I mean primarily the role imagination plays within the issues. In the latter half of this issue, Secunda’s imagination really comes to life, and we alternate between Secunda in the real world and Secunda Altera in the imaginary world. Every-day inconveniences become treacherous obstacles as our heroine pursues her goal.
Issue I starts out with Secunda fast asleep only to be awoken by her nanny Afra. It’s time for school. Reluctantly she rises and, gathering her homework, she heads off to class. Things get complicated, however, when a pesky dog takes an interest in her homework. Will she be able to rescue her homework from all manner of absurd circumstances?
Eventually she makes her way to class, where she struggles to stay awake while her teacher goes over some history lessons. A merchant selling toys just down the street catches Secunda’s attention. She enviously eyes a doll that is for sale, but, alas, she is stuck in class. After a quick nap and a rude awakening by teacher, Secunda finds the courage to go after the doll. Will she be able to escape class? Will she safely traverse the many obstacles of a busy Roman street? Will she acquire the doll she wants so dearly? Check out issue I to find out!
Issue II: Afra’s Tale
In issue II, Secunda is playing with her doll when she learns that Afra once had a very special doll of her own. Secunda’s curiosity is peaked and she demands Afra tell her about this mysterious doll of hers. Turns out the doll Afra is referring to is a very ancient figurine that has been passed down from generation to generation. Afra tells Secunda the story of this doll and its journey from one generation to the next, simultaneously telling the story of her ancestors and their travels north through Africa.
Beginning in the murky mythical past and slowly moving to historical times, Secunda and readers join Afra’s ancestors for many trials and tribulations as they seek a home and are ultimately enslaved by the Romans. Along the way, we observe how objects can take on a living history of their own, how cultures change and mix over time and space, and we get a thoughtful glimpse into Roman slavery.
Issue III: The Kids’ Table
Normally, we are told, wealthy Roman children would sit on chairs while their parents reclined on triclinia (dining couches for three); not so at the dinner party in issue III: these hosts have had special mini-triclinia made just for the kids! How cute! But it is the children’s conversation that interests us, not the couches. Quite bafflingly, one of the children—a girl named Olisipoea from Lusitania—does not know who Theseus is! The children begin telling the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, but there’s a bit of confusion regarding some of the details, especially the conclusion to the tale that Secunda proposes…
In this issue, we explore not only the variations that can exist within a myth, but the variety of interpretations that exist for the myth. What’s more, thanks to Secunda’s wild imagination, we learn the living and personal nature of myths within a given culture. Like issue II, much of this issue is spent seeing the story unfold as the children tell it, periodically interrupted by debate or slaves delivering further courses.
Issues IV & V: Of Fire and Stone, Parts I & II
Issues IV and V comprise a two-part story. In a Scooby-Doo-like mystery adventure, we join Secunda Altera as she attempts to uncover the truth behind a series of child abductions on a lonely island in the middle of the Aegean. Perpetrated by what witnesses call a “creature of fire and stone” (Secunda Altera recons its a nymph or daemon of some sort…), the abductions began after a violent volcanic eruption at the center of the island. Secunda Altera, tossed to sea by a group of pirates, happens to wash up on the shore of this troubled island. Mistaken at first for a heroine sent by Athens to save them, Secunda Altera takes it upon herself to save the islanders and bring back their children.
Based not on any myth or historical event, the story told in issues IV & V represents the farthest astray from the historical that the Secunda comics series goes. Being the imaginings of Secunda, the tale is still couched in Classical lore and fits comfortably into that world. The greatest lesson these last two issues teach us is that we can have fun with the myths and histories of the Classical world. Ultimately, that is what the Secunda comics are all about: fun! Fun with Classics! Fun with bringing the ancient world to life! And most importantly: Fun with Latin!
What’s to Come:
Come back tomorrow for Exploring Secunda, Part III: A Latin Reader with a Modern Twist, where we will explore the many features of Secunda that make it a Latin learning tool like no other! Also, we will have another full page up, as well as more art, and perhaps even a video too!
As promised, today we have made available over 20 full pages of Secunda for your viewing pleasure over in the Free Previews section of sequentiallatin.org. For those who have been following the preview material, there’s a new page up, so head on over to check it out and see what comes next for our heroine Secunda!
In the days leading up to the release of Secunda #1 on Friday, on top of plenty of artwork, videos and other materials, we will also be taking a closer look at the Secunda comics with the four part series Exploring Secunda.
Starting today, we will take a closer look at some of the characters of Secunda in Part I: The Characters. Tomorrow, in Part II: The Story, we will explore the narrative structure of the series, as well as the various stories you can look forward to in the first five issues of Secunda. On Wednesday, in Part III: A Latin Reader with a Modern Twist, we will illuminate the many features of the Secunda comics that make them unique and powerful language learning tools. Then, finally, on Thursday, in Part IV: Behind the Scenes, we will take a peek behind the curtain at the creation process of the Secunda comics!
Those will all be found here on the blog, so remember to check in or, better yet, why not subscribe to our blog to receive email notification? Or download our FREE and lightweight blog app to receive push notifications right to your phone!
Exploring Secunda, Part I: The Characters
The main character of the Secunda comics is a sharp, rambunctious 2nd century CE Roman girl named Secunda. Born to a Patrician, the youngest of three siblings, she lives an exceptionally care-free life, more often than not fleeing the watchful eyes of her nanny Āfra to go get into various sorts of trouble.
Her parents pay good money to get her an education, but she doesn’t see the use in that boring old Litterator (teacher). She is especially NOT fond of the daily pēnsum (homework) he assigns, but Āfra always manages to make her do it, no matter where she hides. It’s for the best that she gets it done anyways, the Litterator always has a fit when she doesn’t, and then her parents find out and Dad goes on and on about how lucky she is to get an education and how letters are a mark of virtue and blah, blah, blah… That oft heard rant is by far worse than just doing her pēnsum.
She may not always be able to get out of doing her homework, but Secunda is a no-nonsense girl who prefers to get her way and will employ all manner of clever trickery and charms to get it. There was even one time where she managed to not eat her dinner by slipping it to the dog! Her parents were none the wiser—and she would have gotten away with it too!—if only the dog hadn’t blown her cover by vomiting up goose liver on dad’s prize Persian rug.
Besides being wily, Secunda also has a big heart, and cares deeply for her friends and family. Whether it is comforting her troubled brother Lūcius or caring for a wounded pigeon, Secunda’s heart is filled with kindness despite her being at times careless about others’ feelings. Sometimes she is just too caught up in her imagination to see that she might be hurting someone’s feelings.
Which brings us to Secunda’s most notable characteristic: her imagination. At any moment, it is highly likely that she is off in her own world. Taking a bath? No, if only you knew the manner of sea creatures she was slaying! On her way to class? What manner of class lies at the canter of a deep, dark Labyrinth!? To be sure, Secunda has spent much more time exploring the Mediterranean, meeting ancient heroes and heroines, telling old philosophers what’s what, and defeating vile beasts than doing chores, practicing letters or listening to adults jabber on.
On such adventures, Secunda finds the courage to face anything by channeling her alter-ego Secunda Altera: Greatest of all heroes and heroines! Bravest of all warriors! Most beloved and adored celebrity of the Mediterranean! No matter what the adventure, no matter how monstrous the foe, no matter how tall the mountain, Secunda Altera is up to the challenge. Secunda uses this alter ego to make her world come to life, turning dull old histories into heroic tales that end the way she sees fit. However, Secunda Altera is more than just a fun diversion for Secunda, she is also an inspiration for her to overcome the real life struggles she faces.
Who else will we meet in the Secunda comics? Well, there’s Secunda’s nanny, Āfra, the poor soul charged with keeping track of Secunda. Āfra is a family slave who genuinely loves Secunda and tries her best to keep her out of trouble. Spending more time with Secunda than anybody else (or more time chasing after Secunda?), Āfra can sense when Secunda is planning some tom-foolery, or maybe she has just learned to expect it? Her job is unenviable, to be sure, but someone’s got to do it…
As you will see tomorrow, when we look at the story of the Secunda comics, every issue of Secunda will bring new and diverse characters, from mythical heroes to historical figures. Secunda will visit all sorts of people and places: some are real, some are fictitious, and some are a bit of both, but they are all firmly rooted in Classical lore (and in special cases the lore of other cultures of the ancient world!). In the first five issues alone we will meet Theseus and Ariadne, ancient African anthropomorphic gods, a powerful volcano nymph, the legendary Roman heroine Cloelia, and so much more!
What’s to Come?
Well that’s it for Part I of Exploring Secunda! I hope you enjoyed getting to know our heroine and taking a look at some of the other characters you can look forward to meeting in the Secunda comics. Tomorrow, in Part II, we will take a sneak peek at the stories of the first five issues of Secunda. Also you can expect more art and the next full page of Secunda #1 in the Free Preview section! Stay tuned!
P.S. – Hey guys, sorry today’s post is coming so late in the day! Hopefully it will be a pleasant surprise tomorrow morning for those of us who have already turned in. Tomorrow’s post will not come so late, I promise!
A new preview page is up at sequentiallatin.org and today it is a fully colored version! Head over to the “Previews” section of the Sequential Latin homepage to see what happens next in Secunda’s quest for the coveted doll.
Lately at SL Studios: Coloring Cosmos Incendens
As we approach release of Secunda #1, applying final edits and making little adjustments, the first issue of Cosmos Incendens has entered its final phase of illustration: adding color. Floating around the Sequential Latin website and social media sites, you can find little peeks at colored versions of Cosmos Incendens artwork. If you’ve seen these pics, such as the one found HERE, you might notice that the coloring style is drastically different from that of the Secunda series. There are several reasons for this, the first being that a different colorist is responsible for each series, the second being the different artistic style overall, and the third being the more mature and serious tone of the Cosmos Incendens series.
Anyhow, the coloring of Cosmos Incendens #1 is fully underway, and I thought I might share a bit of the coloring process with you, via images, from the plain inked page all the way to the complete colored page.
The next page of Secunda is now up at sequentallatin.org in the “Previews” section. Be sure to head over and check it out!
This past week I have been hard at work coloring the first pages of Cosmos Incendens and I am eager to show them to you and to hear what you think. This is some of my first work as a colorist, so some honest feedback would be much appreciated! Behold:
Preview page 20 of Secunda issue #1 is now available in the “Preview” section over at http://sequentiallatin.org; Head on over to check it out!
With the release of preview page 20 ends the current run of preview releases for Secunda issue #1. This means there will be no page 21 released next Thursday. Instead, we will be releasing a neat little surprise, as well as announcing the next run of preview pages for your viewing pleasure! So stay tuned for that!
What’s to Come
Last week I gave you a little glimpse into how Sequential Latin has been growing over the last few months. This week, I’d like to delve a little bit into what sort of content you can expect from Sequential Latin moving forward.
Throughout the month of April, and into the beginning of May, Sequential Latin was hard at work fleshing out scripts for both Secunda and Cosmos Incendens. The first several issues of both comics series are fully written and in the process of being edited. What should you expect from these first issues? Where do I start!?
How about the Secunda series? In short, expect action, adventure, and the world of classical myth & history that you love! The first issue continues from where we leave it today with the birth of Secunda’s imaginary alter ego, setting the stage for the exciting meld of the real world, the imaginary world, and the dream world that is the Secunda series! The issues that follow will include a Roman dinner at the children’s table, explorations of the classic Theseus and the Minotaur myth, a journey into ancient Africa following the wanderings of Afra’s ancestors (Afra is Secunda’s unenviable nanny), and the heroic adventures of Secunda’s alter ego, including her quest to solve the mystery of an island being plagued by a monstrous Lava Nymph! So much fun! We cannot wait to share it all with you!
Now what about Cosmos Incendens? If I had to pick three words to describe the first bunch of Cosmos Incendens issues they would be: action, drama and mystery. Expect to meet Gods, do battle in Britannia, explore a luxurious Roman bath-house, brave dark, mysterious forests, and experience a nightmarish trial in a preternatural court! You will meet Lucius, our stubborn protagonist, as well as a slew of other characters from all over the Empire. Nature, the gods, and humankind all have their plans, but the Cosmos propels them all towards a future of its own making; In Cosmos Incendens, the name of the game is Destiny… or is it? This story is truly epic in scope and we cannot wait to begin telling it to you!
Right this Moment @ Sequential Latin
Right now I’m writing a blog post 😛 but immediately after it is to the office to continue penciling Cosmos Incendens issue #2. I just got finished with a big battle scene, check out some of the sketches:
See you next week!