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Advice on a basic Latin novel/poem?

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Advice on a basic Latin novel/poem?

Postby MisterP » Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:16 pm

Hello all. I'm looking to take up Latin again, after briefly learning the very basics in school. I'm currently reading over the two small "Ecce Romani" books that I still have to help me get a rough grasp of the grammar and some vocab, before moving onto a different, more comprehensive beginners Latin book.

I'm now no where near the point of comfortably reading the language at the moment (anything past the point of a girl climbing a tree is a struggle), but I was wondering if anyone could suggest any material or authors which I could aspire towards reading (as being able to read a novel in Latin is the level I'd like to eventually achieve). I'm presuming there's something out there easier than what I imagine Virgil's work to be like - suggestions?

Thanks in advance, Andrew
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Re: Advice on a basic Latin novel/poem?

Postby bedwere » Mon Aug 29, 2011 9:42 pm

I'd read the Vulgate of St. Jerome.
You can buy a cheap copy from Lulu.
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Re: Advice on a basic Latin novel/poem?

Postby lauragibbs » Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:01 pm

I have collected some stories from the 19th-century Latin readers here:
http://anecdotalatina.blogspot.com/

Plus Mille Fabulae et Una: 1001 Aesop's fables in Latin (a whole big book, but each story is small) -
http://millefabulae.blogspot.com/
(free PDF of the book here: http://pdf.bestlatin.net)
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Re: Advice on a basic Latin novel/poem?

Postby Sinister Petrus » Mon Aug 29, 2011 11:28 pm

If history is your thing, Eutropius's Breviarum could be good too. I'd point you at a link, but I can't think of one off hand. Sorry for not being more helpful.
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Re: Advice on a basic Latin novel/poem?

Postby MisterP » Tue Aug 30, 2011 12:06 am

Thanks everyone for the quick replies, they're all very much appreciated. As a follow up question of sorts, how important is it for me to spend a lot of time learning the grammar? I'm only really interested in Latin to English translations, so at the moment I'm basically just looking at the verb in the context and from that deciding what exactly it means, rather than using the verb's ending. Is this lazy approach going to become an issue later on? Any replies are appreciated :D
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Re: Advice on a basic Latin novel/poem?

Postby lauragibbs » Tue Aug 30, 2011 4:42 am

The endings are essential - in Latin the word order is free, often exactly the opposite of what you would expect in English. In English, word order conveys a lot of the meaning, while Latin uses the different forms of the words to do that. If you don't know how Latin does that, you will make assumptions based on the word order which will quickly lead you down a wrong path. You can learn the endings by reading, absolutely, you don't just have to memorize paradigms - but as you are reading, paying attention to the whole word, including the ending, is ESSENTIAL. Word order is important in English; word endings are important in Latin.

Some Latin textbooks present Latin with English word order, which can lull you into a false sense of security. I'm not familiar with Ecce Romani so I don't know if it is a textbook that falls into that dangerous trap or not!

As someone recommended, Eutropius is a great text to read - you can find various editions listed here:
http://ilovegooglebooks.blogspot.com/search?q=eutropius
Some of them have dictionaries built into the book; vocabulary is a huge challenge when you start really reading Latin, so using a reader that has a complete glossary can be a really good choice.
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