Textkit Logo

Best Cicero to start with

Here's where you can discuss all things Latin. Use this board to ask questions about grammar, discuss learning strategies, get translation help and more!

Moderator: thesaurus

Best Cicero to start with

Postby dubmdell » Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:09 pm

Hi,
My strongest desire in regards to Latin is to be able to read Cicero with ease. I understand that he is incredibly difficult, but no pain, no gain, right? I presume that if I begin with his easier works, I can get his style down, and he will be that much easier on the harder works because I will know how he intends to say something.

With that in mind, what, in your opinion, is the best Cicero to begin with?

Thanks in advance.
dubmdell
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:44 pm

Re: Best Cicero to start with

Postby Perseus » Wed Jan 19, 2011 7:18 pm

How advanced are you in Latin? Have you ever read Lingua Latina of Orberg Pars II (Roma Aeterna) and his another work "Sermones Romani"?
These books contain some adapted texts of Cicero to start with.
User avatar
Perseus
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 94
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 7:33 am

Re: Best Cicero to start with

Postby thesaurus » Wed Jan 19, 2011 9:14 pm

I think that his philosophical/rhetorical writings are easier than his orations. When I was still fairly new to reading unadapted Latin, I worked on his "De Amicitia" and "De Senectute"--the two are often paired up. Not terribly long, not terribly complicated. Plus, you can comprehend most of what he's saying without needing outside historical context, unlike most of his speeches. If you look around, you should be able to find editions with lots of notes for people in your position. I'm rereading these works now, and I find them quite enjoyable.

The first oration against Catiline, "In Catilinam," is a common introduction to Latin prose, but I don't think it's necessarily easy. However, it may be a good pick if you prefer the excitement of his speeches.

Cicero uses a fairly small vocabulary, so the more of him you read, the easier his other works will become. This is true for any author, but I have found that Cicero has a pretty consistent style and register, and he tends to stick to fairly common vocabulary. You won't find many rare or strange words in his writings. The language/style of his philosophical writings does differ from his orations (which in turn differ depending on their audiences), but it's nothing drastic.
Horae quidem cedunt et dies et menses et anni, nec praeteritum tempus umquam revertitur nec quid sequatur sciri potest. Quod cuique temporis ad vivendum datur, eo debet esse contentus. --Cicero, De Senectute
thesaurus
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 989
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2006 9:44 pm

Re: Best Cicero to start with

Postby Hampie » Thu Jan 20, 2011 1:28 pm

thesaurus wrote:I think that his philosophical/rhetorical writings are easier than his orations. When I was still fairly new to reading unadapted Latin, I worked on his "De Amicitia" and "De Senectute"--the two are often paired up. Not terribly long, not terribly complicated. Plus, you can comprehend most of what he's saying without needing outside historical context, unlike most of his speeches. If you look around, you should be able to find editions with lots of notes for people in your position. I'm rereading these works now, and I find them quite enjoyable.

The first oration against Catiline, "In Catilinam," is a common introduction to Latin prose, but I don't think it's necessarily easy. However, it may be a good pick if you prefer the excitement of his speeches.

Cicero uses a fairly small vocabulary, so the more of him you read, the easier his other works will become. This is true for any author, but I have found that Cicero has a pretty consistent style and register, and he tends to stick to fairly common vocabulary. You won't find many rare or strange words in his writings. The language/style of his philosophical writings does differ from his orations (which in turn differ depending on their audiences), but it's nothing drastic.

And he LOVE deponents… We noted that in Latin class whilst reading In Catilinam, that like every third verb was a bloody depontent :/...
Här kan jag i alla fall skriva på svenska, eller hur?
User avatar
Hampie
Textkit Member
 
Posts: 176
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 10:51 pm
Location: Holmia, Suecia

Re: Best Cicero to start with

Postby furrykef » Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:15 pm

It's more that the Latin language loves deponents, really...
Founder of Learning Languages Through Video Games.
I also have a lang-8 journal where I practice Spanish and Japanese.
User avatar
furrykef
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 365
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:18 am

Re: Best Cicero to start with

Postby cantator » Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:35 am

If your Latinity is up to it I suggest De Amicitia and the Somnium Scipionis.

Best,

dp
Similis sum folio de quo ludunt venti.
User avatar
cantator
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 278
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2006 9:21 am
Location: NW Ohio USA

Re: Best Cicero to start with

Postby Interaxus » Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:12 am

I strongly recommend Steven M. Cerutti’s Cicero: Pro Archia Poeta Oratio – A Structural Analysis (1999 edition), which breaks down all the complex sentences of the reasonably short ‘Pro Archia’ speech into simple visual diagrams and has accompanying sentence-by-sentence translations + ‘notes & discussion’ on the facing page. You can find a copy via bookfinder.com.

Of course if you want to make life more difficult for yourself, get the 2006 edition, which has replaced that initial brilliantly lucid layout with a dense jungle of vocabulary-cum-commentary under the Latin text (I just checked out Amazon’s 'Look Inside' feature). I'm not saying the 2nd edition would be useless, but first ideas are nearly always the best! :D

Cheers,
Int
Interaxus
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 515
Joined: Tue Sep 28, 2004 1:04 am
Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Re: Best Cicero to start with

Postby thesaurus » Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:13 am

Yes, Pro Archia Poeta Oratio is definitely a nice one. I should look into it again. That diagrammed version looks very helpful. (Here is a preview of the first edition on Google Books.)
Horae quidem cedunt et dies et menses et anni, nec praeteritum tempus umquam revertitur nec quid sequatur sciri potest. Quod cuique temporis ad vivendum datur, eo debet esse contentus. --Cicero, De Senectute
thesaurus
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 989
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2006 9:44 pm

Re: Best Cicero to start with

Postby Interaxus » Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:24 am

Thanks for that, thesaure! That second edition is not a second edition but a different song.

Cheers,
Int
Interaxus
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 515
Joined: Tue Sep 28, 2004 1:04 am
Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Re: Best Cicero to start with

Postby Alatius » Wed Jan 26, 2011 5:13 pm

I've read far less of Cicero than I ought to, but I would propose the Tusculan Disputations. From what I remember, the philosophy of the first book is very accessible, and the argumentation easy to understand, which really help when struggling with the language: it is of course a pain to be held back by a difficult subject.
Alatius
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 268
Joined: Mon May 14, 2007 11:21 am
Location: Upsalia, Suecia


Return to Learning Latin

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Jandar and 53 guests