Kirtland Society

The Kirtland Society is Exeter’s Classics Club, whose origin is shrouded in the mists of time. Named for John C. Kirtland, Instructor in Latin from 1897-1939, it fosters the extracurricular study of the classical world by sponsoring a variety of activities:

Certamen is a game of knowledge and speed — a sort of Latin quiz bowl — in which teams of up to four students compete to answer questions about Latin grammar and literature, classical culture, history, and mythology. The club meets every Friday at 6:45 p.m. in the Latin Study to play Certamen just for fun.

Students who wish to play Certamen at a competitive level also meet on other days for more intensive training and practice. Every year the Exeter Certamen team competes at the following local tournaments:

  • SPS-Exeter-Andover Certamen
  • Granite State Certamen at Dover High School
  • Yale Certamen
  • Boston Latin School Certamen
  • Princeton Certamen
  • Harvard Certamen
  • New Hampshire Junior Classical League Forum

Concilium Conloquentium Latine (LCC) singulis hebdomadibus hora sexta postmeridiana die Veneris in triclinio Wetherell convenit ut sodales cenam sumentes de rebus variis – e.g. ludo, athleticis, cibo, tempestate – Latine comiter loquantur. Adventus omnium discipulorum et discipularum – et tironum et veteranorumgratissmus est.

The Kirtland Society is a chapter of the New Hampshire Junior Classical League. Every April Exeter hosts the NHJCL Forum, which draws Latin high school students from all over the Granite State to compete not only in Certamen but also in academic, artistic, and athletic contests, including chariot racing and gladiatorial combat. State officers elected at the Forum lead the New Hampshire delegation at the National Junior Classical League Convention in July.

Other Kirtland events include the Annual Latin Carol Celebration, field trips to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Harvard Museums, and the quinquennial performance of the Roman comedy Miles Gloriosus by Plautus. The year ends with a Roman Banquet, in which students and faculty wear Roman attire, cook authentic Roman cuisine inspired by Apicius (minus the garum sauce), and dine al fresco while listening to music and recitations of Latin poetry. Gaudeamus igitur!



Faculty adviser: Mr. Unger

Kirtland Society Heads: Cyrus Braden, Ben Ehrman, Kiesse Nanor, Dellara Sheibani