Greek and Latin Literature

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Greek and Latin Literature

Post by Keesa » Tue Jul 06, 2004 12:09 pm

The other day, I had a friend ask me, in the course of conversation, "So, what books are you going to read once you learn Greek and Latin?"

The question was easy enough to answer for Greek; I may read easier books first, but once I've gotten really good at it, I want to read Homer. He is, after all, the reason I took up Greek. I'm fascinated to see whether the original Illiad is more interesting than the (admittedly bad) translation I have.

For Latin, though, the question was a little harder, since I learn Latin for three reasons; 1) Self-fullfillment; I've always thought of Latin as "the Educated Language" (although I actually find Greek much harder on account of the alphabet); studying it makes me feel good about myself; 2)Latin is close to French, which makes it easier to learn and makes French easier, too, and 3) because I just happen to like the way it looks on the page, with the last reason being the strongest. :D

Fortunately, however, I had an answer for my friend; "I'll ask the people at Textkit. I'm sure I can gets lots of good (and widely differing) advice from them."

So, what do you think? Of course it's still a little early for me to be thinking about actually reading a book in Latin, but when I do get there, which books should I start with? Naturally, something good for a beginner would be appreciated, but if the subject matter is interesting (and if Textkit has a good Latin-English dictionary?) it doesn't really matter, to a certain point, how hard it is. But which books do you reccommend?

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Post by Amy » Tue Jul 06, 2004 6:32 pm

I'm excited about books too but can't read them! Although I just said "oh whatever" and started reading Loebs (Latin on one side, translation on the other) anyway - who needs the subjunctive, just switch the vowels around like Spanish, you know...

I started with poetry instead of an actual book (poetry is more easily accessible and, well, i've heard of more) - reading Catullus now, hahaha. Ovid is of similar difficulty I think. Loebs and similar things are good because you can read the English and THEN try to puzzle out the Latin, if you don't get something with a verb or conjunction looking it up, etc. More interesting way to learn than practice sentences if slightly dubious. You can do this with books from your local library or comparing English and Latin versions online (google). Or if you're near a used bookstore, check that out too - you can get all sorts of out of print stuff cheap (I LOVE MY CARL SESAR TRANSLATIONS but that's another story) or you may wind up looking at like 6 copies of The Roman Way by Edith Hamilton :?

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Post by Emma_85 » Wed Jul 07, 2004 12:34 pm

I'm sure there are loads of really interesting text in Latin you can read.

Uh... I don't really know any though :wink: . I don't like poetry, but if you do, then you'll find loads of poems, which are worth reading. Ovid and Catullus for example. Eventhough I don't really like those poems, some of them are worth reading, especially Ovid's Ars Amatoria. But in order to really understand those poems it's best to read a lot of them (which is what we did at school :evil: ). I'm sort of glad I understand them, so it is worth taking the time to translate many, but on the other hand ... I don't like poetry, eventhough I can now appreciate the work and the thoughts that went into these poems.

The only use I can see in Latin (for myself) is maybe to read some philosophical texts by Cicero or others. Otherwise some Latin texts are interesting under a historical aspect, but interesting literature? Hmm... :?

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Post by epiclesis » Sun Jul 11, 2004 11:36 pm

Good texts to begin with are the poems of Catullus or even Ovid's Heroides, or the letters of Pliny.

But my favourite Latin literature is to be found in Ovid, Statius, Juvenal, Tacitus, Lucan, Horace, and Apuleius. Maybe Terence, too.

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