CX 101/201/301 – Latin Language and Literature 2015/16 Module tutor: Clive Letchford

The University of Warwick
Department of Classics and Ancient History
CX 101/201/301 – Latin Language and Literature
Module tutor: Clive Letchford
Humanities Building 2.21
[email protected]
Office Hours
Tuesdays and Wednesdays 11-12
during term time
This module builds upon the Latin Language CX108 module. Those who have not done this module would
normally need to have achieved a grade A or above in GCSE or equivalent, but should in any event discuss
their circumstances with the Module tutor at the start of the year.
As a continuation to the Latin Language module, this module aims to improve the student's knowledge of
accidence and syntax. This will be the focus of the classes for the first few weeks of the Autumn term.
Students have been notified at the end of August that they need to revise what they have learned so far.
After this, focus will shift towards reading Latin through three set texts. It is hoped that those students
pursuing the course will develop appreciation of the value of reading Roman literature in the original
language, as well as a sound understanding of the language.
Illness: it is important that you turn up unless you are seriously affected by illness. If your illness lasts
more than a week, we require a medical certificate from your GP. More importantly, you should be in
email contact with the module tutor and your personal tutor since it is easy to fall behind in such a
situation and catching up becomes progressively harder.
Aims and objectives
The aims of the course are to:
complete an introduction to the syntax of the language;
build up a good working vocabulary;
introduce the student to unadapted Latin by major authors; and
start to develop an awareness of different literary styles.
Course materials
We will study:
selection from Caesar’s De Bello Gallico
selection from Cicero’s pro Caelio, W Englert, Bryn Mawr
Virgil Selections from Aeneid 5, J. Farell, Focus Publishing
The text for the Caesar in the first term will be provided but you will need to get your own copy of the
Cicero (sart of Spring term) and Aeneid (halfway through spring term)
In addition, you will need to buy three books to help develop your language:
Latin Beyond GCSE – John Taylor (Bristol Classical Press).
Oxford Grammar of Latin – James Morwood (OUP)
A dictionary. Most will be suitable at this level but recommended are The Bantam New College
Latin and English Dictionary by John Traupman; or Pocket Oxford. A very small dictionary will not be
sufficient at this level. Use of on-line dictionaries, such as Logeion or Perseus or Glossa or apps such as SPQR is
encouraged but they are an adjunct, not a substitute for one of the above in physical form.
There is are two groups for this module. Each comprises three classes per week throughout the 22 weeks of
teaching with the exception of Week 6 in the Autumn and Spring terms. Classes start at 5 minutes past the
hour. Full-class teaching will generally finish a few minutes early to encourage students to clarify any points
on an individual basis before leaving the room.
Attendance is mandatory. Not only is it a requirement of the University but experience has shown that this is
important for success in the language. If you know in advance that a good reason will prevent you from
attending, please let me know by email before the class. If you fall ill on the day, please email me as soon as
possible after you have missed the class. If you need to make up missed material or are struggling with the
work for any reason, please arrange to see me. You are reminded that persistent failure to attend class may
result in you being required to submit additional assessed work, in accordance with University regulations.
Study required
Students are expected to do significant work outside classes, and are advised that they should reckon on
spending in the region of 2 hours in private study between each class, and will also need to spend some
time during vacations to consolidate the new material.
Study will typically be divided between:
working on vocabulary
revising and refining accidence (endings) and syntax (sentence construction)
preparing text for the next class
post-paring text of previous class
We employ two methods of reading the set texts. At first, we go through the text carefully in class together
and the student’s task is to go over and ensure that you have a good understanding of the meaning and
content and learn the vocabulary in context. When students have had some experience of the style of their
author, they prepare by annotating a copy of the text but not write out translations in full. The class will
consist of checking students’ understanding of the Latin and discussion of grammatical content and style.
Students will need to go over the text again immediately after each class to consolidate their work.
Students are expected to be familiar with the grammar and syntax set out in the Oxford Grammar of Latin.
The set texts are as set out above (in Course materials): the actual passages set will be specified on the
departmental web-pages. The unseen will be set from a passage of Ovid.
We would normally expect to make progress as follows:
Autumn Term
Weeks 1-4:
diagnostic test. Complete work on main elements of Latin syntax.
AS Vocabulary list known.
Weeks 4-10:
(excluding 6) Read extracts from Caesar de bello Gallico
Spring Term
Week 1:
Week 7:
I hour exam on Caesar
Start learning verse vocabulary list.
Work on Ovid (unseen author)
Read Cicero pro Caelio
Start Virgil Aeneid 5
Summer Term
Weeks 1-2
Finish Aeneid 5
A more detailed programme will be published on the department’s web pages, and will be kept up to date as
required. Formal teaching finishes at the end of Week 2.
This module is assessed through two examinations, as follows:
1. Start of Spring Term – 60 minutes (20%)
This exam will comprise translation from Latin (Caesar) and grammar questions (equally weighted).
2. At the end of the academic year, there is a two hour examination worth 80%. It comprises three questions:
 one on the Cicero set text
 one on the Virgil set text
 a passage for unseen translation (Ovid).
Questions may encompass translation, and questions on grammatical and stylistic matters.
Passing the module
Non-first years carry the mark that they gain. The two passages for translation in the summer examination
will be marked according to the University’s 17 point scale.
For first year students, this is a core module and both exams need to be passed (i.e. 40% gained in each). If
you fail an element, then you will be required to resit that element in the first week of September. If you do
not gain 40%, you will be required to withdraw from the University.
Advice on studying for this module
At the start of the year, identify gaps in your knowledge and sort them out, quickly. Some loss is to
be expected. An important part of learning a language is how you manage your consolidation.
Make a habit of looking at vocabulary every day – both new vocabulary and revision of vocabulary
previously learned. Have a vocabulary book or list and carry it around for odd moments (bus?) that
you can usefully fill.
Get comfortable with the terminology for the various constructions – purpose, clause, result clause
etc. Be able to explain how they work at any time.
Use published translations with circumspection.
Team up on a regular basis with someone else: both for language and set text work. You both learn
from each other, and it’s double the fun.
The purpose of set books is to enable the student to get to grips with idiomatic Latin. While translations cane
be helpful in getting to understand trickier phrases, lifting sentences wholesale is not acceptable, whether in
class or in exams.
Finally: your course tutor is an important resource. Do not hesitate to contact me.
The language
Major types of constructions:
Indirect Speech
Indirect Statement
Indirect Command
Indirect Question
accusative plus infinitive
ut/ne + subjunctive verb
question word + subjunctive verb
2 main uts
i Purpose clause
ii Result clause
ut/ne + subjunctive
signpost word + ut + subjunctive
plus either 2 indicatives
2 subjunctives
Less frequent types:
Verbs of Fearing
NE + subjunctive
Time clauses
cum + subjunctive
dum + present indicative
qui + subjunctive
noun + participle in the ablative
verbal nouns
obligation (needing to be done)
jussive subjunctives
Purpose clause (2)
Ablative absolute
Gerunds and gerundives
Independent subjunctive
17 point scale descriptors
Grade Point Descriptor
Exceptional work of the highest quality, demonstrating total fluency and
Excellent 1st accuracy in translating; stylish and accurate English. Work may achieve or
be close to publishable standard. Flawless.
High 1st
Very high quality work demonstrating excellent knowledge and
understanding; very high level of accuracy. No major syntactical errors; no
Mid 1st
major omissions from translation. Some minor slips in vocabulary; not
Low 1st
entirely capturing nuances of the original.
High 2.1
High quality work demonstrating good knowledge and understanding; high
Mid 2.1
level of accuracy.
Low 2.1
High 2.2
Competent work, demonstrating reasonable knowledge and understanding;
Mid 2.2
some errors in understanding syntax and in recalling vocabulary.
Low 2.2
High 3rd
Work of limited quality, demonstrating some relevant knowledge and
Mid 3rd
understanding. Limited grasp of syntax; significant gaps in knowledge of
Low 3rd
High Fail
Work does not meet standards required for the appropriate stage of an
Honours degree. Most of the passage misunderstood or untranslated. Poor
use of English.
Poor quality work well below the standards required for the appropriate
stage of an Honours degree. Only isolated phrases understood.
Low Fail
Work of no merit OR Absent, work not submitted, penalty in some
misconduct cases
Illustration on front cover:
Woodcut illustration from the “Strasbourg Vergil,” edited by Sebastian Brant: Publii Virgilii Maronis Opera cum quinque vulgatis
commentariis expolitissimisque figuris atque imaginibus nuper per Sebastianum Brant superadditis (Strasbourg: Johannis
Grieninger, 1502), fol. 234r, executed by an anonymous engraver under the direction of Brant.