'The Aeneid': Combat evolved?

I still don't buy it, but a UConn professor does.

Arma virumque cano? Bungie Studios

Forget 300. The real way to make ancient history and literature cool is...Halo?

We've already seen World of Warcraft used as a way to bring The Canterbury Tales into the digital age . But that was a student project--this interesting story, which we read on Joystiq, is the project of a professor at the University of Connecticut who's looking to better connect his students with the literature they're assigned in class. This would be Robert Travis, an associate professor of modern and classical languages, who has gone so far as to take an Xbox to class into the lecture hall to prove that Halo has its roots in ancient epic poetry like Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, and Virgil's Aeneid.

"Both Halo and the Aeneid tell a story about a more-than-human hero defeating enemies who would be too much for ordinary people like us; enemies who nevertheless bear an important resemblance to the ones we and the Romans face in our respective presents," Travis is quoted as saying in the UConn Advance article. The idea of interactivity, he said, is also something that the two have in common--Homer's tales were told orally, and the audience wouldn't know what to expect. "Like today's gamers, the bards' audiences didn?t know what was going to happen next, so they were immersed in the story and were interactive with it in a very real way," Travis explained.

Um, okay. I think it's a bit of a stretch, but hey, if it makes the UConn kids do their homework...

About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.


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