History in Latin

Here you can discuss all things Latin. Use this board to ask questions about grammar, discuss learning strategies, get help with a difficult passage of Latin, and more.
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History in Latin

Post by Jacobus » Thu Sep 24, 2009 4:55 pm

Salvete, omnes.

Please be patient with this post, it does get to Latin after some "setting the scene".

After a long break from reading Latin in any particularly structured way at all, I have decided to recommence. Over the summer holidays I have been cramming in as much studying of Russian and Slovenian grammar as possible in order to prepare myself sufficiently for this academic year. I have been reading Russian fiction from Tolstoi and Dostoevskii and various fairy-tales in Slovenian. Over the summer I have found that throwing myself in at the deep end with both Russian and Slovenian has stopped my usual habit of procrastination and, although it is very hard going to begin with, I am now able to read short stories in Slovenian and am working my way, slowly, through Герой нашего времени (A Hero of Our Time) in Russian. I wish to take this exact approach with Latin, too. I began learning Latin because I believed that it would help me to expand my knowledge of French, Spanish and Italian, however now I have realised that's not a great reason to learn Latin, it should be learned because the learner has developed a love for Latin for Latin itself, and not because of a love of the languages which derive from Latin. I want to read Roman history, and I don't care how hard it is - now, I have no idea what still survives in terms of written Latin, however I am very interested specifically in miltary history - the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage, Hannibal and the military conflicts involving Germania. I don't know who wrote about the Punic Wars, however does Tacitus' "De Origine et situ Germanorum" still survive?

Any other recommendations of writers to follow or books, papers, articles or speeches to read would be very much appreciated - again, I don't care how hard they are, I will soon get used to it after struggling through a little bit.

Gratias maximas.


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Re: History in Latin

Post by rustymason » Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:12 pm

Julius Caesar is a common author to follow for a "beginner's" first real text, but there is so much out there I have trouble sticking with one author or work for too long. I even read Winnie the Pooh and Cattus Petasasus once in a while for a break.

A very full Latin library (no English):

Latin Easy Readers, free online:

Latin History Reader
Compiled by John Piazza (PDF)

Latin Mythology Reader
Compiled by John Piazza (PDF)

Amazon.com has all the Loeb's books in dual English-Latin. Of course, many Latin works are now free online via Google Books or Project Gutenberg.

Bonam Fortunam.

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Re: History in Latin

Post by Einhard » Thu Sep 24, 2009 7:52 pm

I found this site whilst wandering about the web looking for Latin resources:


I haven't given it much attention yet, but it does seem to have a good collection, including historical works.

The Latin library linked to by rustymason is excellent.


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Re: History in Latin

Post by pheriwinkle » Tue Sep 29, 2009 7:05 pm

Sounds like you would probably enjoy:

Vegetius' Epitoma rei militaris

A review here:
http://www.amazon.com/Epitoma-militaris ... 864&sr=8-5

Cheaper to buy here:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASI ... ROKL5A1OLE

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Re: History in Latin

Post by ptolemyauletes » Fri Oct 09, 2009 11:57 am

Livy is the author who writes about Hannibal and the Wars with Carthage in the greatest detail. Livy can be a very tricky author and is not recommended for beginners, but there is a Penguin translation available. However, if you want to give it a try, the Latin Library website (as mentioned) has all of Livy, and much else besides.
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Re: History in Latin

Post by Rindu » Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:16 pm

Be careful with Latin library, though. I've been reading Caesar and I frequently encounter passages which make no sense. When I check the text against the Teubner I find that there had been an error. TLL texts aren't always the best recensions.

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Re: History in Latin

Post by vir litterarum » Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:14 pm

I would not attempt reading Tacitus' Germania until you feel completely confident in your knowledge of the Latin language; he is widely considered the most difficult Latin author to translate. He is also one of the more rewarding, but you should make sure you can translate Caesar and Livy first.

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