Latin 350

LATN 350: Latin Literature

Prerequisite: LATN 201 or permission of the instructor

Credit Hours: (3)

Study of a major Latin author or genre. Topic will vary. Credit may be received each time topic is different. This course has been approved for credit in the Foreign Languages Area of the Core Curriculum.

International and Intercultural Studies.


Detailed Description of Course

Topics may include one of the following: Vergil’s Aeneid; lyric and elegiac poetry, particularly Catullus and Horace; Ovids Metamorphoses and/or love poetry; Latin prose writers such as Cicero, Livy, or Pliny. Annotated texts will be used. Students will also study background and literary techniques appropriate to the author(s) and genre.


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

For a course on Vergil’s Aeneid students will read in Latin selections from Books I, II, IV, and VI; practice scanning and reading aloud the poetic meter (dactylic hexameter); discuss literary techniques in the passages translated; read and discuss the entire Aeneid in translation; and consider literary criticism dealing with the epic tradition.

A course on lyric and elegiac poetry will focus on Catullus and Horace. Class discussion will focus on poetic techniques, recurring motifs, and reflections of Roman social and political life in the poems translated. Metrical scansion will include the meters used most often by these poets.

A course on Ovid’s poetry should include selections from both the Metamorphoses and the love poetry in addition to selections from Ovid’s autobiography (in the Tristia) Study of the Metamorphoses will concentrate on Ovid’s use of the epic form, his attention to details of transformation, and his humor in portrayal of the gods. Study of the love poetry will concentrate on Ovidian parody of the elegiac and c traditions. Students will scan poems and read aloud metrically.

A course on a Latin prose writer would be organized around the history of a particular era-livy on the legends of early Rome or the Second Punic War; the letters of Pliny dealing with the society and politics of the late first century and early second century A.D. along with the only extant eye-witness account of the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D.; or the writings of Cicero letters, philosophical essays, or orations with study of rhetorical techniques and the relevant social, legal, and political issues. There are, in addition, other historical writers that could be studied.

With any of these topics, daily class will include translation of Latin texts and discussion of relevant literary techniques and background information. In addition, the instructor will show slides to illustrate artistic or architectural background for specific periods or show artistic representations of major legendary and historical persons prominent in particular texts. Influence on later art and literature will also be noted.

Because this course will include students at differing levels of competence (those taking it for the first time and those repeating the course to get instruction in a different topic), allowance will be made for the needs of students at both levels of instruction in terms of expected levels of performance, testing, and grading. Students at the higher level will also be required to complete a research assignment, present the results to the class orally, and hand in a paper for grading.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

This will be the first course in which some students will deal with the unadapted Latin prose or poetry of ancient writers. Students should build on their previous knowledge of the Latin language and be able to make significant progress in the following: the ability to read unadapted Latin prose or poetry with the aid of notes and vocabulary; the study of literary techniques appropriate to the material read in Latin; an increase in reading vocabulary in Latin and knowledge of Latin-derived words in English; the study of aspects of Roman civilization relevant to the Latin readings; and recognition of similarities to and differences with contemporary literature or oratory.

Students will achieve a degree of competence in a foreign language and culture. 


Students will be able to:

a. emonstrate language skills appropriate to the level of study

b. analyze similarities and differences between their own and the target cultures

c. explain contemporary international issues from the perspectives of their own and the target cultures


Assessment Measures

There will be hour-exams (probably three) and a final exam - passages (chosen from those studied in class) to translate and comment upon (literary techniques, grammatical points, content with relevance to historical or political issues and the larger work from which passage is excerpted); scansion, if poetry; short sight translation (with notes and vocabulary) on later exams. A take-home sight translation may be employed in place of a sight translation on the final exam itself if so, this translation would be due at the time of the final exam and would not substitute for the exam on material studied since the previous exam. In addition, students who are not enrolled for the first time will complete a research assignment, present the results to the class orally, and hand in a paper for grading.


Other Course Information

A student who earns a minimum GPA of 2.4 in Latin 201 and 350 may request and be granted credit for six hours of Latin at the 100-level. Completion of this course and Latin 201 (7 hours total) will satisfy the B.A. language requirement for students able to begin college study of Latin at the intermediate level. Students taking this course will likely use it to satisfy the B.A. language requirement or fulfill requirements for the Latin minor.

Students completing the Latin minor may need to take this course several times to earn the eighteen hours needed for the minor.


Other Course Information



Approvals and Subsequent Reviews
September 2005 Reviewed Philip Sweet