What is the best way to learn Latin?



“MF: Eleanor, your new book is a revelation! It shows that ancient Greeks learned Latin the way we learn modern languages. They memorized made-up dialogues — dialogues that illustrate stereotypical Roman culture — and only then went back and analyzed each word for its grammatical function. By contrast, a reader opening Reginald’s book might be surprised that he insists on total philological mastery. It seems completely different, but it obviously works, too. Do you see Reginald’s method as a total break from “the ancient way” (as your title aptly puts it)? Or do you see continuities?”

So begins a conversation between Michael Fontaine, Associate Professor of Classics at Cornell University. Eleanor Dickey, authoress of  “Learning Latin the Ancient Way: Latin Textbooks from the Ancient World”  and Daniel Gallagher , Reginald Foster’s longtime student and successor in the Office of Latin Letters at the Vatican.

Read the whole conversation here…...

The objective of Reginald Foster’s book – “Ossa Latinitatis Sola “is to get people into immediate contact with and understanding of genuine Latin authors, and for these encounters to grow into a love and use of the entire language in all its literary types and periods of time and authors of the past 2,300 years.”

You can hear him putting this into practice:

Listen to him teaching in his own inimitable style here…..

Imperium from Julian Morgan

Julian Morgan is a good friend of ARLT and well known for his resources for Classics. Here is his announcement of a brand new course for teaching Latin:

Dear Friends and Colleagues

I have waited a long time to write this email. In fact, it’s been six years. That’s how long it has taken to write the all-new Imperium Latin course, which I launched on Midsummer’s Day, 2013.
Imperium has run its trials, is now proved and fully resourced, and it’s ready for use in your classroom. I am already receiving strong interest from some schools and it seems that there will soon be more of us teaching the course than has been the case until now.
I hope that you will take a little time to look at the website at www.graeculus.com and that this material may be of interest to you.
Every part of Imperium is based on downloadable resources and even the four books are being printed on demand. This means that the project will stay dynamic, with continuing input from new users in the future.
Ready for a change? Or unsure about what it would mean for you? Have a look at the document Why Imperium? – at this link:
Have a great summer – and maybe next year will bring some real changes to your Latin teaching…
Julian Morgan

Cicero in Verrem

Of particular and immediate interest to those of us teaching A Level Latin this year is this initiative from Open Book Publishers which, as their Marketing Manager, Gabriele Civiliene explains  is

 ” an innovative, non-profit , Open Access publisher run by academic scholars based at the University of Cambridge. For our website go to http://www.openbookpublishers.com/ 

 We are soon to publish the book that might be of interest to the members of the bloggers of ARLT – that is, Cicero, Against Verres, 2.1.53–86: Latin Text with Introduction, Study Questions, Commentary and English Translation by Prof Ingo Gildenhard from the Department of Classics and Ancient History, Durham University. (For a copy of the PDF flyer featuring this title go to the ARLT website.)  The book will be available in 3 formats – digital, hardback, and paperback. Its complete version will be also available for free access direct from our website on Google Books. Read more about it here:


Gabriele Civiliene
Marketing Manager
For our latest catalogue : https://www.openbookpublishers.com/shopimages/LatestCatalogue.pdf

The Romans are coming – to DEVA!

Having invaded Settle, North Yorkshire this weekend, the Legio VIII Augusta will be joining forces with Roman contingents from all over Europe for a concerted attack on Roman Chester during 4th & 5th June.

” This is a FREE event! Romans will dominate the city for the whole weekend….will you be one of them? After the success of 2010’s Roman weekend this event is returning but has tripled in size! 100’s of Romans from all over Europe will be descending on Chester for a full weekend of activity, including Gladiatorial Roman Games, a working Roman village, original Roman Kids Army, Military Displays and the Roman March through the city centre. Become part of the crowd in our brand new seating around the Amphitheatre and watch the displays and fights as they unfold in front of your very eyes. Largest Roman Military Parade in Britain Reconstructed Roman Village in Grosvenor Park Music, Dance and Death, at the gladiator games featuring the Bear Children’s army, Sign up at the command post Living history and period craft displays Exhibition of art and excavated artefacts by Chester City archaeologists….”

more from the Legio VIII Augusta website

Roman Coin information – or how to do just about everything

I have just come across the eHow Blog, my attention being drawn by a particular item on Roman coinage. The article itself is adequate as a general introduction (despite the erronious dating of the earliest Roman coinage). The real value lies in the “More Articles Like This” section where you can pursue your interest with links to “How to identify Roman Coins”,  “List of Roman Coins” and much more.

Roman Coin Information

Keeping Latin alive

From Kaitlyn Cole who works with with Onlineuniversities.com.

We recently published an article that you may be interested in entitled, 50 Fun and Educational Websites Keeping Latin Alive.

I thought perhaps you’d be interested in sharing this article with your readers? After having followed your blog for a while, I feel that this one article would align well with your blog’s subject matter. If interested, here’s the link for your convenience: http://www.onlineuniversities.com/blog/2010/06/50-fun-and-educational-websites-keeping-latin-alive/

Well worth a look!



Tellus provides a meeting ground for contemporary poetry which interacts with any aspect of ancient civilisations, revitalising those lost worlds for a 21st century audience. The first issue of this new magazine boasts some big names, such as Andrew Motion and Michael Longley, alongside some excellent up and coming writers. To give a brief taster of the variety Tellus offers, the first issue will take us from an ancient Sardinian warrior statue, to the great flood sent by the Babylonian god Enlil, to Catullus’ girlfriend, who finally gets a chance to give her opinion on their famously rocky relationship. Tellus is by no means a magazine purely for classical experts; no knowledge of ancient languages is required, and all poems are given a brief contextualisation, with links to classical texts and other resources to take interests further. For more information please visit www.tellusmagazine.co.uk or contact the editor at editor@tellusmagazine.co.uk. The first issue, to appear in March 2010, is entirely free. If you would like to order a copy for yourself, or for general access in a school (recommended for years 11-13), library or university department, please email your address to orders@tellusmagazine.co.uk.

in rebus

If you are not familiar with “in rebus“, you might profitably spend a while browsing this site. The motto generator is fun, if rather limited in scope. If you are “dating a Latinist” and need a Latin quote for your love letter, then look no further. There are mnemonic rhymes for gender and number, legal maxims alphabetically arranged, medical terms, derivations, translation assistants, links to dictionaries online and very much more.  Regrettably, Google ads abound and you will have to pick your way round the occasional ads for dating sites et cetera.

From the home page:

“The majority of texts and materials on this site have something to do with the Latin language, including its perception and use in popular culture (quotes, tattoos, mottos, engravings, inscriptions etc). Among the highlights are a free Latin Dictionary Assistant (a Windows interface for W. Whitaker’s “Latin Words”), Latin Word of the Day, a Latin Motto Generator, Latin quotes & phrases , Antique engraved rings, and Legal Latin phrases, quotes & writs. These resources are meant to be enjoyed by  people seriously interested in the Latin language as well as anyone simply dabbling for whatever reason in the idiom of Ancient Rome and Medieval Europe.”

‘Latinum’ and ‘Schola’ websites flourishing

Evan Millner has clearly found a winning formula with his podcast version of an existing Latin course. The figures he reports make you wonder how many commuters with their mp3 players are not listening to their favourite pop singers but are actually absorbing the ablative absolute on their way home from work.

Anyway, congratulations to Evan on what he has done and is continuing to do for Latin.

More cheering news:

Latinum ( a simple google search for ‘latinum’ or ‘latin podcast’ will find it at the top of the list ) is approaching its second anniversary. The entire Adler course is almost all online – all 97 lessons of it, offering several hundred hours of structured Latin tuition.

In addition, Latinum offers a growing selection of Latin readings, and a huge vocabulary learning resource, neo-Latin colloquia, and resources specifically targetted at GCSE.

Over 3 300 000 ( 3 million three hundred thousand) individual audio episodes have been downloaded from Latinum so far, rather a lot of Latin.

Schola on http://schola.ning.com has its first anniversary at the end of the month, with over 780 members. People join every day. Schola now has a real time chatroom, which gets busy every day, with people forming friendships with others who have only Latin as a shared language of communication.
Schola also offers blog posts, a forum, Latin videos, and a huge photolexicon with over 3 500 labelled images.

Evan Millner.

Varied news from Oxford.

Go here to download the Oxford Classics Outreach Newsletter.

Items include a brief account of the Oxford Greek Play, Agamemnon (which I reviewed on this blog); a Classics Summer School in Oxford; the re-introduction of Latin to a Buckinghamshire school; a Roman Apothecary Garden; Kaloi k’agathoi’s new adaptation, Oedipus Exposed; a day for G & T teachers; and two planned websites.

The first is a JACT site, ‘Classics Online Gateway’, which will contain links to “which enables members of the public to pinpoint the Outreach services available in their area and make contact with providers.” It sounds a much more ambitious project than http://www.latinandgreekforall.com but no doubt there will be links between the two.

The second is the Oxford Latin Course site, which I mentioned while reviewing Agamemnon because I had a few words with the site designer in the theatre. At that stage he was hoping for a December launch, but now the date is February. I look forward to seeing this site. I think everyone would agree that the Cambridge site sets a standard that will be very hard to match. We’ll see how the designer Chris Noon has squared up to the challenge. I do wish the Oxford Course well. Maurice Balme taught demonstration lessons at my invitation when it was first published (this was at an ArLT Summer School). So much about the course is good. The challenge for any course that comes after Cambridge is to write stories that are equally appealing.