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Subject:Author recommendations
Time:02:26 pm
I would be very grateful for input on a curriculum question I have.

I have taken 3 semesters of college Latin, but have been forced to take about 8 months off since (1 semester + summer). I was never very talented with it in the first place, so having taken the time off I feel I've lost much of what I knew.

I need one more semester for my major, which will be an independent study, and my professor wants me to suggest authors I would like to read. However, I have no idea what to suggest, since I have a hard time telling the difficulty level of different authors and am not knowledgeable enough in the language to be able to form a preference about authors' styles, either. Since many of you are widely read, I thought this would be a great place to ask for some direction. I want to avoid suggesting things that would be seen as too simple or easy, but I also don't want to get myself into something that is too advanced for my background.

So, what are some authors (or specific works) you think would be a manageable challenge for someone with 1.5 years of college Latin, with a significant break from the language since then?
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raw_stick
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Time:2010-08-11 07:39 pm (UTC)
Caesar's "De bello Gallico" should work fine for you, I guess (unless you have read it during your earlier studies).
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mummimamma
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Time:2010-08-11 08:00 pm (UTC)
What do you want to read *about*?

Also, do you wou want to read classics, or are you interested in mediaeval/neo-Latin as well? (There is a lot of fun and easy mediaeval Latin!)

Prose? Poetry? Didactic poems about bison-hunting?
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iiiskaaa
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Time:2010-08-11 08:06 pm (UTC)
If you want some easy Latin, try Historia Apollonii Regis Tyri.
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jamesenge
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Time:2010-08-11 08:08 pm (UTC)
Cicero's _Catilinarians_, Catullus's shorter poems, and Petronius' _Satyricon_ have all worked well for me on the intermediate level. Petronius' risky subject matter might make for some awkward moments in an independent study, though.

A book or two of Vergil's _Aeneid_ might work pretty well, too; the books are fairly self-contained and the epic itself is Latin's greatest hit (in the view of some, including me).
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gr_starikovsky
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Time:2010-08-11 08:27 pm (UTC)
Yeah, looks like a decent list. For a shorter read, I would pick Cicero's De Archia, a prolonged excerpt or two from his In Catilinam I, Catullus's shorer poems, Books II and/or IV of the Aeneid. If you forgot the grammar, you probably want to brush it up before tackling authentic texts. bona fortuna! gs
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gr_starikovsky
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-08-12 01:21 am (UTC)
Oops... I meant Pro Archia poeta...
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yaymyson
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Time:2010-08-11 08:30 pm (UTC)
A book or two of Vergil's _Aeneid_ might work pretty well, too;

Especially if you use Pharr's edition of the Aeneid, also known as the Best Book in he World Ever.
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ojingeo
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Time:2010-08-11 09:12 pm (UTC)
I found Petronius more difficult than Cicero or Catullus, more on par with Apuleis?

Ovid's Amores and Metamorphoses are great and can be read at all levels. I read a few books of Metamorphoses when I was a third year student and had fun. And I can't believe no one's mentioned Horace! His poetry is beautiful, if a little more challenging than Ovid or Catullus.
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cnoocy
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Time:2010-08-11 08:20 pm (UTC)
Can you say what your major is, or what specific sort of study you're doing? There may be something that would tie in and be both more interesting and more useful.
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ioanna_ioannina
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Time:2010-08-11 08:33 pm (UTC)
As everybody here has said:
Caesar. Bellum Gallicum or Bellum civile, it does not matter. Try to avoid Hercynia silva from Bellum Gallicum, if you do not want to search every second word.
Cicero. In Catilinam I, IV; De Archia; if you are patient enough, In Verrem (but the first three are easier). NOT his Epistulae (vulgar Latin, quite difficult) nor Tusculanae disputationes/De amicitia or anything philosophicum. You will have to get used to him. Reading aloud helps, the sentences have their rhythm.
Vergilius, Aeneis. It is beter than Bucolica and Georgica, because in Aeneis you can find some action. :-))
Ovidius, Metamorphoses. Even better, if you know something about mythology. Short pieces knit together. Be careful, he plays with words sometimes - strange order and metaphors.
Vulgata. Sometimes there are influences from Greek and Hebrew, but the stories are well known. If you cannot explain something grammatically, it is or vulgar Latin of an influence from G/H.
Gesta Romanorum. Exempla with a morality. Pretty easy.
Avoid Seneca, Plautus, late Roman authors. Too difficult, too many irregularities.
Catullus... well... his short pieces, yes, but... he is "poeta doctus", he just tries very well not to show it.
Carmina Burana... well... you will miss half the fun with citations.
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(Deleted comment)

beluosus
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-08-12 09:31 am (UTC)
I second Cornelius Nepos.

I also recommend getting an anthology to see what you like, and then pursuing that.
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blackletter
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Time:2010-08-11 11:12 pm (UTC)
For a lot of texts, the edition you read from can be a *huge* factor in difficulty. Pharr's Virgil is great for intermediate students, but if I slapped an Oxford Classical Text Virgil down in front of my second year students, they'd struggle.

In addition to Pharr's Virgil, Bryn Mawr texts are designed for intermediate students and usually come with a good commentary.

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sunspot67
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-08-20 01:31 am (UTC)
Martial's epigrams are also very accessible. And I definitely agree with the Catullus and Ovid's Metamorphoses. I took Latin many many years ago but can still dip into these relatively painlessly.
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(Anonymous)
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-01-02 10:19 pm (UTC)
a good way of looking at it is the way the variety of old high school and first year college texts have over the years. The first year is 'made up' latin ,or sometimes illustrius men of rome, the second year text is the battle for Gaul, and maybe some Ovid, the third year books are sallust or cicero (orations against cataline, in defnse of archias ) the fourth year is virgil.the first year of college , assuming high school training, is livy.
The batle for gaul is great, but youve probably already been through it.
in the orations against cataline, Cicero is obnoxious.
to me, all the poets are tougher to get than any of the hisotrians with the exception of tacitus , who is also tough. The poetry is diffuclt beause they really go out of thier way to vary word order, to come up with novel usages, and they seem to want to frustrate the student by separating the noun from the adjective and the verb from the adverb.stay away till later.
as to plays, the idiom , for example, of plautus , makes them inaccessible.
i say, read caesar and livy, and then train on the medievals: the scholastic philosophers employ a limited vocabulary,rich subject matter, and concern for the reader.
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vufuumbo
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-04-11 12:03 am (UTC)
Great site, very impressive.

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vufuumbo
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-04-12 02:28 pm (UTC)
found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later

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