Carolyn Engargiola, Noah Giles, and Elizabeth Hasapis: Bringing Antiquity to Life


The Latin Club leaders explain the various features of their club.

From across the United States, the co-consuls of the Latin Club, Carolyn Engargiola, ’21, Noah Giles, ’21, and Elizabeth Hasapis, ’21, smile hospitably. 

When asked to describe their club, Carolyn ponders the question for a moment and says, “It’s a great opportunity to explore the classics and antiquity … in this, geeky, ancient, Latin way.” The Latin Club studies almost everything related to Ancient Rome—from mythology to the Aeneid, and from Roman culture to Latin. “We try to have variety in the kinds of things that we’re doing, and also the topics themselves,” Elizabeth explains. “There’s a lot of different reasons why you might come to Latin Club, and I feel like the classical world has a lot of very different things to talk about. It’s a very rich world.” Contrary to the name, knowledge of the Latin language is not required to join this club, though all three co-consuls have been taking Latin for several years now. “It’s an added bonus if you do [know it], but it’s not a barrier if you don’t,” Noah says.

More than just a club, it is a community. As Carolyn describes it, “One of my favorite things is, since the first meeting I ever attended, the camaraderie you would feel from the members, as well as our sponsors. They’re so wonderful, they engage with us in a casual way. They don’t just hang back and lurk, they really get in there and have a good time, and often teach us something, and it makes it really fun, and something you can really look forward to.”

At some point, one of them mentions something called Catilinarian Conspiracy. When asked what that is, they laugh good-naturedly among themselves and eventually begin to explain it. Noah tells me that it’s a game very similar to Mafia, where Catiline and the conspirators act as the mafia, Cicero plays the part of the detective, and the senate is the equivalent of the townspeople whose vote decides who is guilty. More important than the details of the game are what it brings to the club: Carolyn says, “It’s based on interaction and being playful.”

The Catilinarian Conspiracy is not the only activity in the Latin Club based on those values. Elizabeth, Noah, and Carolyn approach every meeting, topic, and slide deck the same way they do Roman Mafia. Their enthusiasm is infectious. Eyes alight, Elizabeth told me that “I really love Latin, especially the language side of it—being able to take a chunk of Latin text and piece together the translation through the grammar and the ending, and I just find that process fun and interesting.” Though they both have different interests, Noah and Carolyn both shared her fervor. “I really like military history, strategy and tactics, and some parts of architecture, when they align with that,” Noah said. Carolyn also added, “It is so great to get this exposure to a language other than English and to really get this rundown of what rhetorical devices are, what grammatical structures are. I’ve seen it help my English writing tremendously, now that I know what a passive periphrastic is, now that I know that I can trace back these ancient rhetorical devices and use it in my English writing and know how I’m mapping out my words on the page, it gives me a much better perspective of how I use language in classes that aren’t even Latin.”

These co-consuls believe it takes motivation, initiative, “a decent amount of knowledge about the subject you’re trying to build a club around, or at least a willingness to learn as you go,” and enthusiasm, to lead a thriving club.