Help Me Add to an Intermediate Reading List

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Ἰάκωβος
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Help Me Add to an Intermediate Reading List

Post by Ἰάκωβος »

Salvete, Omnes Discipuli et Magistri Linguae Latinae!

So I recently decided to challenge myself to read Latin every day for the rest of this year. I've documented my progress in another thread on this board. Unsurprisingly, I've made a lot of progress in a short amount of time. I can attribute this success to 2 main factors:
1. Daily practice (obviously)
2. Picking texts more appropriate for my level

Everyone knows that daily practice is beneficial, but I think a lot of us Latin learners get impatient and try to force our way through a text that is beyond our current level through brute-force. I always feel into that pattern of behavior when I was younger.

Recently, I feel like I've been making a lot of progress with repeated rereadings of Familia Romana, reading a lot of the Vulgate, Ad Alpes, and the Gesta Romanorum. It can be so easy to tell yourself that you "know" the basics, without ever truly mastering them. In any case, I feel like repeated rereadings have been extremely helpful.

So, I have now fully embraced a policy of only picking texts that are appropriate for me, and I feel like a good barometer for "appropriateness" is when I can read a page of the text and get the gist of what it is saying, which probably indicates I know somewhere around 80-90% of the words. At the current moment, Ad Alpes pretty much stretches me to my limits (largely because of vocabulary), whereas if I read a page of Caesar, some paragraphs will be understandable, but most others will be very opaque to me.

With that being said, I decided to assemble a reading list for myself, and tried to rank it by difficulty, with the idea of creating a very smooth path for myself to read my way to the classical authors, rather than throwing myself at them and hitting a wall. I've read a lot of suggestions on this site and on the Latin subreddit about good intermediate texts, but I don't think I've seen anybody try to assemble a large reading list ranked by difficulty. I will give you my current list, and I hope that some of you will have some good suggestions for more texts to add, to make this list as big and comprehensive as possible.

Reading List
1. Familia Romana
2. Epitome Historiae Sacrae
3. A First Latin Reader
4. Vulgate
5. Gesta Romanorum
6. Gesta Hungarorum
7. Ad Alpes
8. De Viris Illustribus -Lhomond
9. Confessiones St. Augustine
10. Breviarium Eutropius
11. Colloquia Erasmus
12. Insula Thesauraria --- Treasure Island,Translated by Arcadius Avellanus
13. Roma Aeterna
14. De Bello Gallico
15. De Bello Civili
16. Satyricon
17. City of God
18. Seneca's Essays, Letters

[Dialogus inter philosophum, Iudaeum, et Christianum, Peter Abelard. (I'm not really sure where to rank this, but seemed interesting so I downloaded it onto my kindle)]

So this list isn't necesarily meant to be purely rank the texts based on difficulty, but also meant to provide a smooth "bridge" into reading the classical texts. You may notice that I significantly postpone Roma Aeterna. I've decided to do this because it seems more sensible to acquire a much larger vocabulary before tackling the likes of Livy et al.

I would love to hear feedback on whether there is a better order for this list, and if there is anything that should be added.

More than anything though, I feel like the difficulty level of Ad Alpes is really hitting a sweet spot for me at my current level, and I would love suggestions for many more texts at the same difficulty level or even slightly above.

Thanks!

Laurentius Mons
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Re: Help Me Add to an Intermediate Reading List

Post by Laurentius Mons »

Have you read Ørberg's Colloquia Personarum? It's a very useful addition to Familia Romana. There's also Luigi Miraglia's Fabulae Syrae, which contains retellings of Greek and Roman myths and is meant to accompany the later chapters of FR. Another possible addition to your list would be Ritchie's Fabulae Faciles.

Aurēliānus Agricola
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Re: Help Me Add to an Intermediate Reading List

Post by Aurēliānus Agricola »

Alicia in Terrā Mīrābilī is a good addition, especially since the adding of the macrons. As for the difficulty, I'd say it’s after Epitomē Historiae Sacrae, but before Ad Alpēs. The problem is that the text is not that long, so re-reading quickly becomes repetitive.

Fābulae facilēs fits just after Familia Rōmāna, and even before the end of the book. Ab Urbe Conditā, though, would be about the level of Ad Alpēs, I guess.

Rōma Aeterna is not that difficult. The main problem is the huge amount of vocabulary and synonyms, by brain doesn't seem to want to assimilate all of them.

Īnsula Thesaurāria too has a lot of vocabulary. But it lacks macrons, which is a no to me.

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Ἰάκωβος
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Re: Help Me Add to an Intermediate Reading List

Post by Ἰάκωβος »

The lack of macrons is definitely a negative for some of these texts. I've seen a lot of debates on here whether macrons are some kind of "crutch," but it just seems like the most efficient way to learn the vowel lengths, especially for beginner and intermediate texts.
Last edited by Ἰάκωβος on Wed Nov 16, 2022 6:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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persequor
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Re: Help Me Add to an Intermediate Reading List

Post by persequor »

Both Alice books are available in Latin now, and not too difficult if you are familiar with the stories already in your native language. Besides the English original, they've been translated into a number of modern languages. Some years ago I read the Latin version of Through the Looking Glass, the sequel to Alice in Wonderland, and enjoyed it. Last year I bought and read the Latin edition of Alice and enjoyed it also. One point to mention: both books have a Latin-English vocabulary included at the back of the book.

It is always a help to read a familiar work in the language you are learning. It is even more a help when it is something fun to read.
Dewayne Dulaney
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Aurēliānus Agricola
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Re: Help Me Add to an Intermediate Reading List

Post by Aurēliānus Agricola »

Ἰάκωβος wrote: Wed Nov 16, 2022 2:48 pm if just seems like most efficient way to learn the vowel lengths, especially for beginner and intermediate texts.
Exactly. Because we can learn new words just with context, and if there are no macrons, that possibility is destroyed by the necessity to look up in a dictionary anyway.

By the way, I find funny that the first book of Alice has been re-edited but not the second one, which isn't even available.

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persequor
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Re: Help Me Add to an Intermediate Reading List

Post by persequor »

Well, the second one is available used on Amazon, in the original hardcover 1966 edition, but is pricey-$49.99 USD. For anyone interested, the link is https://tinyurl.com/3xrysfj8.

The first one is much more inexpensive, a half to a third of the cost of the above, depending on binding. Amazon link:
https://tinyurl.com/3hh8zwkf

I hope at some point the publisher of the revised Alice will revise the second book and make it available at a lower price.

(When I bought the second book years ago, it was used, but about half the price Amazon is charging now. I bought it elsewhere, though.)
Dewayne Dulaney
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Carpe diem!-Poēta Rōmānus Horātius, Carmina (Odes), a.C. XXIII/DCCXXXI A.U.C.
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Aurēliānus Agricola
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Re: Help Me Add to an Intermediate Reading List

Post by Aurēliānus Agricola »

Well, obviously, you can have it second-hand, but that's not what I would personally call available because it's limited to the number of old book that are on sale.

And obviously it doesn't have macrons.

I sent an email to the editor about this problem, but I didn't get any answer. Maybe Ālātius, who did the revision of the first book, would be more eager to inform us.

Anyway, we're getting out of the initial subject.

There aren't many intermediate books I know about that have macrons. As for Arcādius Avellanus (who translated Īnsula Thesaurāria), I macronized his translation Perīcla Nāvarchī Māgōnis, with some spelling fixes in order to reduce the « New Latin » feel (as cœlum vs caelum and so forth), but it sleeps on my USB stick for now. The text is quite hard, because of the big (and sometimes niche) vocabulary.

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