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The Academy Vivarium Novum (or Accademia in Italian) in Rome is the only college in the world where male students can spend one or more years immersed in Latin and Ancient Greek. These languages are spoken both in and outside of the classroom. The academy is directed by Luigi Miraglia, who according to the New Yorker magazine "speaks Latin more fluently than almost anyone else alive".
The Academy Vivarium Novum was founded in order to restore the great tradition of the Renaissance schools, their teaching methods, and the free and critical vision of the world that such an education fosters. The Academy is founded on the firm conviction that dignity (dignitas hominis) may be attained only by continuous self-examination. The male students of the Academy Vivarium Novum are dedicated to the pursuit of a comprehensive grasp of the Latin and Ancient Greek languages.
The name Vivarium Novum recalls the proto-humanistic community of Cassiodorus, Theodoric's magister officiorum. Vivarium was a place where liberal arts and lofty aspiration coincided; at the same time it evokes the isle of Vivara located in the Bay of Naples, where the idea of a school prepared to offer an advanced education to future generations was first conceived.
The main programme offered by the Academy, which is held from the beginning of October up to the end of June, mainly aims to provide male students with a strong experience in the domain of the Humanities. The subjects of the courses are principally Ancient Greek philosophy, Latin literature, Renaissance literature, Ancient Greek language and literature and Roman History. The course of History of poetry and ancient prosody deserves a special mention, as it combines ancient verses with music, in order to explain their metrical structure in a more efficient way. The choir of the Academy, Tyrtarion (from the names of Tyrtaeus and Arion), has already become well known in the domain of Latin and Greek poetry. Despite its unusual lingua franca, the programme's aim is not the mastery of the Latin and ancient Greek languages for their own sake. Rather these languages are thought of as instrumental in understanding the most significant aspects of the western world's literary, philosophical, and historical legacy, and how it has been shaped by them. Pupils from sixteen to twenty-five years of age are admitted to the Academy; every year, an application process is organised in order to receive scholarships and be admitted to the Academy for one year. Room, board, classes and didactic materials are all provided free to recipients.
In order to fund these scholarships and to foster effective methods of teaching Latin and Greek, the Academy and the Mnemosyne Foundation organise each year an intensive Summer Course of Latin. This course lasts exactly eight weeks, from the end of June to the middle of August, and aims to bring students to the easy reading of the classics without any previous knowledge. The course is divided into two modules of four weeks, and is open to everyone.
In order to achieve the best and fastest results in teaching Latin and Greek, the Academy has developed a new methodology which is today considered among the most effective in the world. The Academy is considered one of the main promoters of the so-called direct method for the teaching of ancient languages, which is based on the textbook Lingua Latina per se illustrata, of the Danish author Hans Ørberg, and on an adaptation and extension, for Ancient Greek, of the English book Athenaze. Both are published and distributed in Italy by the Academy, and have been adopted in many schools all around the world. Notably, the publishing and distribution of these books is entirely non-profit, with all profits providing scholarships to worthy male students.