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What now?

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What now?

Postby Rhapsody » Thu Mar 18, 2004 10:32 pm

I've finished reading De Bello Gallico with quite a good understanding of it
(though some parts still trick me a little) and I've read two or three poems of catullus too. What should I try now? If someone could give me some advice - both on poetry and prose - I would be glad.
Thanks
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Postby Ulpianus » Thu Mar 18, 2004 10:56 pm

What interests you most?

I'd be tempted to say, try some Virgil, and probably start with Aeneid 2, 4 or 6. It's a good contrast to Catullus. You will either love it or hate it.

In prose, I think it depends what interests you. Some Cicero might be a good plan. I don't know it well enough to know what best to recommend (though I remember enjoying In Verrem). Pro Caelio is interesting (and dovetails with Catullus), but reckoned quite hard, as I think it is. If you are keen on history, then I'd go for Tacitus. Perhaps book 1 of the histories, which tells a fascinating story of the "Year of the 4 emperors". You'll find the Latin much more artful than Caesar, but brilliant.
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Postby Rhapsody » Thu Mar 18, 2004 11:01 pm

yeah, Tacitus and Cicero interest me most...what about De Germania?
And in verse I think often on Ovid, Tristia or the metamorphoses...
Is Ovid harder than Vergil?(I think both are interesting but when I think on the Aeneid I think in something haaard)
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Postby Ulpianus » Thu Mar 18, 2004 11:22 pm

I have never read Germania ... it's on my list. It's apparently fascinating. Give it a go, and tell us what you think.

There's no doubt that Virgil is harder than Ovid. But it's really not as hard as you might think, and there are lots of commentaries, translations and so forth you can use to help you if you get stuck.

The reason I recommend it is that it is such enormously rewarding poetry, and it is so wonderfully a reminder of why you bothered to learn Latin in the first place. Virgil is completely lost in translation. He becomes wooden, pompous, stilted. In Latin he is subtle, and just unquestionably and indefinably great. Ovid, while a fine poet, is not (in my judgement anyway) on the same level, and not so much lowered in translation.

If you want to try just a little bit of Virgil, have a go at Aeneid II 13-56 (the beginning of the wooden horse story), and then at the death of Laocoon (II 199-249). Skip Sinon's story, or read it in translation. It's classic poetry and a central legend on Western civilisation, well worth reading in the original. It will be slow at first, but it's well worth sticking with. If that whets your appetite for more, you can go back and read the rest of Book II.
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What to read next

Postby mbdittmar » Fri Mar 19, 2004 3:16 pm

I really liked reading Quintus Curtius' History of Alexander...the latin is pretty straightforward and has many similarities in vocabulary to Caesar (lots of war-related stuff ). It reads almost like a novel. Not particularly accurate history though!
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Postby Episcopus » Fri Mar 19, 2004 10:02 pm

I hate Catullus. I have absolutely lost desire for Latin after him. Well I still have to read him. Not much thankfully but still. Urgh. It's just not quality. Virgil's Georgics on the other hand include the funny story Orpheus et Eurydice which is rather awesome (although the last 15 lines are not on par with the rest). The funniest part is when Eurydice is taken away. And the five year old "impositique rogis iuvenes...ante ora parentum" is supposed to be disturbing but it's so clearly untrue that it is rather amusing. And Ixion who tried to rape Juno queen goddess, his wheel stops in the wind. Spooky. Great Latin.
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Postby Ulpianus » Sat Mar 20, 2004 12:32 am

I'm sorry you don't like Catullus, Episcope. Have you been reading the soppy stuff (sparrows and all that) which I rather like but probably only due to my advancing years? It's not all like that, by any means; some of it is strong in every sense.
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Postby Rhapsody » Sat Mar 20, 2004 3:59 am

I like catullus, and the sparrows too, especially"qui nunc it per iter tenebricosum Orci"... I would that I have known this bold sparrow...
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