Listen and learn with Latin audio proverbs.

Non nova sed nove

Original post date: Saturday, March 31, 2007

In English: Not new things, but in a new way.

I thought this would be a good follow-up to yesterday's proverb, since they share a similar (and very interesting!) grammatical structure. In yesterday's proverb, the adverbial multum, "much," was praised instead of the neuter plural, multa, "many things." So too with today's proverb, where the adverbial nove, "in a new way," is preferred to the neuter plural, nova, "new things."

This is a saying you can find in a variety of different forms, such as si non nova, saltem nove, "if not new things, at least in a new way," or antiqua nove, "old things in a new way."

As you can guess, this is a saying that is near and dear to my heart, since I am great believer in studying the old traditions - proverbs and fables, traditional myths and legends, ancient languages - but doing so in new ways, with new technology, taking what is old and giving it a new lease on life.

In my Mythology and Folklore online course, the students do semester-long projects, taking traditional myths and legends and telling them in new ways - and the results are fantastic. There is no problem with writer's block, since the story materials are old and ready to go. So, with all the raw materials already assembled, the students can let their creativity run wild as they tell the old stories in new ways. That means both new styles of storytelling but also using a new technology to share the stories, publishing them as online websites.

So, since the projects are online, I can share some of them with you here! At this point in the semester, the projects are about half-way done; between now and the end of the semester, the students will be adding two more stories to the ones they have already published. They work on mythology traditions from all over the world, and not surprisingly many of them choose Greek and Roman topics. So, for example, you can see what happens when Athena's owl pays a visit to a psychiatrist! Another student is telling stories from the perspective of Heracles's trusty sword! I'm actually a big fan of these stories told with surprising narrators, which gives a really modern twist to traditional stories. One student, for example, is telling stories about sewing and spinning where the stories are told by pin cushions, spinning wheels and so on.

I've been teaching online courses for five years now, and the newness and creativity of the students' projects makes every semester a delightful adventure. I never get bored - in fact, I get more and more excited, because the growing gallery of previous projects actually inspires the students to more and more creative experiments with each passing semester. It's a wonderful example of non nova sed nove, where the old stories comes alive with new infusions of creativity and digital technology!

So, thanks to that same digital technology, here is today's proverb read out loud:

62. Non nova sed nove.

The number here is the number for this proverb in Latin Via Proverbs: 4000 Proverbs, Mottoes and Sayings for Students of Latin.

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