Orbilius.org has been through many iterations, but all of them have had to do with helping students learn Latin. The name refers to one of the most famous teachers of ancient Rome, Lucius Orbilius Pupillus (114 BC – c. 14 BC), the schoolmaster of the poet Horace. I myself do not teach like Orbilius, whom Horace describes as a strict disciplinarian (to put it mildly), but the name also made me think of the orbis terrārum. In a sense, this site is a way to take what I do for a small number of students and put it in front of the whole world.
The site uses UserSpice as its backbone, but all other code was written by me.
There are undoubtedly errors on the site. If you see any, please send a gentle email to the magister. Since this is a non-for-profit venture, I appreciate any help!
-Clint Hagen, magister vetus et probus
Glossa is by far the oldest part of the site. It first launched in 2009 as a slight improvement on the online Latin dictionaries available at the time. It is based on Lewis and Short’s Latin dictionary. In early 2020, I moved it here and re-coded it to be mobile-friendly.
Ecce Ambulatōrēs! came about originally as supplemental readings for my Latin students and a loving parody of the various Latin textbooks I grew up reading and from which I have taught. Over time, it grew into a complete story in its own right. I began to add exercises, grammar explanations, vocabulary lists, and videos. The kids enjoyed the stories, and that encouraged me to continue.
For a couple of years, I kept it only as a PDF on my own laptop. Most texts of this magnitude have editors and committees made up of people with Ph. D. after their names. I continue to discover errors in my Latin. But in the end, I feel like the more Latin that’s out there, especially for beginning students, the better.
“Nihil ex nihilō fit,” as the wizard Simon says in chapter 19 (quoting Parmenides, of course). I am indebted as always to my teachers: Shirley Wood, my first Latin teacher; Laura Giles, my “mater altera” and my high school Latin teacher; and Dr. Randy Todd, who taught the vast majority of my university Latin courses. In addition, I have been privileged to work closely with a cadre of consummate colleagues who have taught me new ways of thinking and encouraged (or at least tolerated!) my creativity. But in the end, it is the students that teach us the most. Every teacher knows that.
Enjoy the stories!
Monstrum Rubrum ("Red Monster") became a favorite character of my students, and so I use him as the central character for lessons on Roman History, mythology, and culture. I continue to produce content for Monstrum Ruburm, but animation is a slow process!
Speaking of animation, the tools I use are mostly found in the Adobe Creative Cloud suite. I use Photoshop to create backfrounds and some characters, Audition for reconding and voice modification, Character Animator for animation, and After Effects to put everything together.
The 3D Red Monster puppet was created by David Arbor, based on an original by Dave Werner, aka OK Samurai.