By Rebecca Perry
Sex. Blood. Violence. This sounds like the plot trifecta to a Saturday night Showtime lineup.
In fact, these are the subjects of discussion at meetings of Fitchburg State’s new Classics Society. “We want to bring light to the darker side of Rome,” explains Sean Doherty, the club president who is also known to his comrades as Augustus Constantinus.
“We are a group dedicated to promoting the education and interest in classical studies at our college,” he says, “with discussion and exploration of classical Greece and Rome.”
Doherty says the club, which was founded in February, is already rapidly gaining membership. “We have 10 active members, with 14 people signed up,” says Doherty. “That’s good attendance!”
Though the club targets the history department, Doherty says, “we’re trying to get new members that aren’t history majors.”
In fact, he says, society members gain unique and interesting knowledge that general history doesn’t cover. For instance, explains Doherty, in ancient Rome, “there were basically no [zoning] laws … There would be a whorehouse placed right next to the markets and residences.” Doherty continues, “One of the emperors, Caligula, tried to get his horse, Incitatus, to be a part of the consul.”
The club’s faculty advisor, Daniel Sarefield of the history department, says, “I love that I get to talk about this topic outside of class. It’s an extra session to talk about what interests us in class, only more in depth.”
The society, which meets Mondays at 3:30 p.m. on the third floor of Miller Hall, also plans to bring unusual events to campus, such as a Roman banquet called Saturnalia as well as a Roman field day complete with gladiator battles.
Plans also call for a discussion of the book “Justinian’s Flea” by William Rosen, a narrative history of the plague that killed 25 million people of the Roman Empire during the sixth century; and weekly screenings of the HBO original series “Rome” in the Ellis White Lecture Hall.