Beginner-Intermediate Authors

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Beginner-Intermediate Authors

Post by markovka » Sun Oct 05, 2014 3:09 pm

Hi all!

Some background:

I am a high school senior looking to major in classics next year when I enter college. I have taken Latin since sixth grade, and I took the Advanced Placement (AP) course in tenth grade. That course is one semester of Vergil (sections of Aeneid I, II, IV, and VI) and one of Caesar (sections of Bellum Gallicum I, IV, V, VI). I took the nationwide exam for that course and got the highest possible score (5 on a 1-5 scale). I have always had a deep passion for the classics, and I am extremely excited to study Greek and Latin in college.

The problem is that I took that AP course in tenth grade, maxing out my school's Latin offerings, so I haven't read the language in two years (I am currently in twelfth grade)! I looked at a text recently, and was dismayed that, in spite of remembering the grammar and vocabulary relatively well, I had lost a good chunk of the reading fluency I had gained over the past five years.

So, I decided to take matters into my own hands, and I am deciding to do an independent study of one or several Latin authors before I enter college, lest I enroll in my first Latin class and realize that I've lost all my abilities!

What authors do you think would be beneficial to this end? Throughout my Latin career, I have read tidbits of Livy, Pliny, and Ovid, and, as I said before, extended selections of Vergil and Caesar. I found all of these interesting to various degrees, but I would be more than open to other authors. A glaring omission in that list seems to be Cicero, so maybe I should start with him? (Note: I am interested in all periods of Latin literature through the early Christian Latin authors; i.e., I am not too interested in Medieval authors.)

TL;DR: What author(s) would be appropriate for a beginner-intermediate, with experience in Vergil and Caesar, to help gain lost reading fluency and comprehension skills before a college major in the classics?

Gratias vobis ago!

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Re: Beginner-Intermediate Authors

Post by ed-lanty » Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:40 pm

Hi -- Well, since no one else has responded to your query, I'll take a stab at it. It seems to me you might profitably re-read the literary works you studied in school. Good literature can never be re-read too many times and the familiarity should help you re-gain lost ground. You could go on to read the parts of Caesar you missed before. As to other accessible texts that meet your criteria, these have been listed a number of times in earlier posts (Cicero, Ovid, etc.) Hope this is some help, and good luck in your college studies, Ed

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Re: Beginner-Intermediate Authors

Post by Qimmik » Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:59 pm

You should probably read some poetry and some prose. It might be worthwhile going back over things you've already read to build up your fluency, and then turn to new works. Cicero is an obvious choice in prose if you haven't read him. The Catilinarians make for dramatic reading. You can find used annotated editions on line at very reasonable prices, and there is also a newer edition in the Cambridge "Green & Yellow" series edited by Dyck, which will have a more modern view of the historical background. For poetry you haven't read, there's always more Vergil--the Bucolics are short, but again you should equip yourself with a commentary. Ovid would also be a good choice.

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Re: Beginner-Intermediate Authors

Post by paulusnb » Wed Oct 15, 2014 11:33 am

Well, it depends on your discipline level and goals. Going Through Lingua Latina Pars I and II is an easy and excellent way to gain reading fluency. That is my recommendation.

If you cannot stomach using a textbook (which, again, you should because this is the best option), then I can suggest The Beginning Latin Poetry Reader. ... tin+Poetry

Lastly, there is the Interlinear Cicero (put it in Amazon search). It is excellent.

There are many options for your goal. If you are religious, I would suggest the Vulgate. If you are Harry Potter freak, I would suggest the Harry Potter Latin works. The most important thing is that you pick something YOU will actually do on a regular basis. It is very tough for most people to get motivated in the morning to sit around with the Orations of Cicero.

I have not posted on here in quite some time, and you do not know me, but I have been teaching Latin for 10 years. So I have given this some thought, though time is no indicator of excellence. :)
When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him. ~Swift

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Re: Beginner-Intermediate Authors

Post by hlawson38 » Wed Oct 15, 2014 12:21 pm

Don't be discouraged. Keep trying.

Here's what I do. I buy a volume from Loeb Classical Library.

I start on the first Latin page. I try to read a sentence. If there are unknown words, I look them up and try again. If it's still hard, I write out the sentence and try again. If still stumped, I read the English on the facing page. After this I can usually see how the Latin sentence works.

Once I make out the Latin sentence, I try to identify what grammatical feature I missed and review it. I use Allen & Greenough as my main Latin grammar. If I still can't make out the sentence, I post a query here.

I try to advance about 30-50 lines per day.

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Re: Beginner-Intermediate Authors

Post by bedwere » Sat Oct 18, 2014 2:02 am

You may want to check the Scriptores Latini in usum delphini series, with notes in Latin.

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Re: Beginner-Intermediate Authors

Post by Phil- » Thu Oct 30, 2014 11:54 pm

bedwere wrote:You may want to check the Scriptores Latini in usum delphini series, with notes in Latin.
Funny, just today I discovered that very page, but the current version I think: ... monolingue.

markovka, check out the other pages under "Insegnanti" also. It's a phenomenal collection--even if like me you don't know Italian. :wink:

I second the suggestion of Lingua Latina... and of whatever keeps you interested.

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Re: Beginner-Intermediate Authors

Post by LateStarter » Sat Nov 01, 2014 6:13 pm

I self-studied and moved onto reading a couple of months ago. I'm trying to read as much as possible and have done it in something like this order:

The Dickinson College Commentaries. Fabulous resource for anyone finishing a grammar, or who would like free (!) and excellently curated selections right now. I believe some of these selections were for AP exams so you may have read some (hopefully not all) of them. Severus' Life of St. Martin is a great challenge for Ciceronian Latinity.

Hazzard's (or someone else's) Eutropius. Probably relatively easy for you since you have experience reading but a good way to build confidence and "accidentally" learn the whole outline of Roman history from the founding to pretty much the end of the Western Roman Empire. ... +eutropius

Nepos's Lives. Probably intermediate between Caesar and Cicero. Many more subordinate clauses than Caesar, although he write in haste and it shows; he also has a habit of biting off longer sentences than he can masticate manageably. The lives are short which might help some to maintain interest. ... epos+vitae

Sallust's brief history on the Catilinarian Conspiracy is next for me (after Bello Civili). This looks like a great entree to the Catilinarian orations. Download the .pdf, copy the file, and throw up the notes alongside the text. ... er&f=false

How many resources exist that wouldn't have existed even 5 let alone 10 years ago! On that note, one last "free Google eBooks" at, with "notes and vocabulary" + your target author.

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