Latin 201-02

Introduction to Latin Prose

Spring, 1999



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Contents of this syllabus:

--Instructor Information

--Meeting Place and Time

--Important Electronic Addresses

--Course Description

--Required Textbooks

--Assignments and Grading

--Important Course Policies

--Tentative Course Schedule

Instructor: William Hutton

Office: Morton 326

Phone: 221-2993


Office hours: MWF 11-12 a.m. and by appointment.

Time and place of Class: MWF 2-2:50, Morton 343

Important Electronic Addresses:

Class web page:

Class e-mail list:

Electronic reserves:

Dale Grote's Study Guide to Wheelock's Latin:

Instructor's e-mail address:

Course Description:

After a thorough review of all the basic Latin you’ve forgotten over the summer, we will begin reading unadulterated selections of Latin prose. We will focus on two related genres of literature in which the Romans made positive advances over their Greek predecessors: Biography and the (autobiographical) Literary Epistle. The major texts read will be Cornelius Nepos’ biography of the Greek statesman and playboy Alcibiades, Suetonius’ biography of the ever-popular emperor Caligula, and selected Letters by Pliny the Younger. We will build your vocabulary, exercise your grasp of grammar and increase the speed and confidence with which you read Latin. At the same time we will also encounter elements of Roman history and culture of both the Republic and the Empire and discuss issues that are of importance in understanding biographical literature from any time and place.

Required Textbooks:

F.M. Wheelock, Wheelock's Latin, Revised by R.A. LaFleur, ed. FIFTH EDITION, HarperCollins, 1995..

B. Roebuck, ed., Cornelius Nepos, Three Lives. Bolchazy-Carducci, 1958.

B. Vine, ed. Suetonius: The Life of Caligula. CANE, 1991.

Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars. Robert Graves, tr. Penguin, 1957.

A. Sherwin-White, ed. Fifty Letters of Pliny. Oxford UP, 1969.

Assignments and Grading:

Your grade will be calculated as follows:

Class participation: 15%

Short report 5%

Quizzes 10%

Review exam: 15%

Midterm exam: 25%

Final exam: 35%

NOTE: Your grade will be calculated on a strictly numerical basis and converted to letter grades on the following scale: 93-100 = A; 89-92 = A-; 85-88=B+; 81-84 = B; 77-80 = B-; 74-76 = C+; 71-73 = C; 68-70 = C-; 64-67 = D+; 60-63 = D; 55-59= D-; Below 55 = F.

Explanation of Grade Components:

Class participation: Includes attendance, preparation, promptness, minor assignments and in-class exercises. Your grade for class participation will be adversely affected by the following (this is not an exhaustive list): Missing class without a very good reason (see important note on attendance below), frequent tardiness, obvious lack of preparation not participating in discussions, sleeping in class (particularly if you snore), eating noisy food in class, being inconsiderate or disrespectful to other members..

Attendance: Since language is a communal activity, everyone has something to add to this class. For this reason, attendance is required One percentage point will be subtracted from your grade for each unexcused absence (reasons for your absence must be discussed with me no later than 48 hours after your absence for it to be considered excused). If you miss more than FIVE unexcused absences, YOU WILL FAIL THE COURSE. Arriving more than 10 minutes late for any class will be considered an absence.

Short Report: Ideally this will be a brief (absolutely no more than 5 minutes!!) oral report on a topic pertinent to the class, and agreed upon with me in advance. A list of suggested topics will be distributed early in the semster. Since time is limited, the times in which talks will be scheduled will be strictly controlled. If it is impossible to schedule your oral report at an appropriate time, the assignment will transform into an brief research paper (with footnotes, sources and all that nasty stuff), so get your talk scheduled early!!

Quizzes: Five quizzes, ten to fifteen minutes duration, are scheduled in the course of the semester. Any unscheduled (aka "pop") quizzes given will be figured into you "class participation" grade, rather than into your quiz grade.

Review Exam: An exam testing grammar, vocabulary and reading ability, scheduled after the review of Wheelock.

Midterm Exam and Final Exam: May include grammar and vocabulary exercises and questions about the content of the Latin texts you have read, but they will mainly focus on translation from the texts covered in class and from unseen texts by the same author or by another author whose style or subject matter is similar.

Important Course Policies:

No late assignments will be accepted. No make-ups will be given for the quizzes under any circumstances (note that you can drop two of the quiz scores). Make-ups for the review and midterm exams will be granted only under dire and verifiable circumstances. Special arrangements for the final exam, if necessary, will have to be arranged through the College. I have no authority to make such arrangements.

TENTATIVE CLASS SCHEDULE: There is some wiggle room here, but the following things will remain constant: 1) Quizzes WILL occur as scheduled below; 2) The REVIEW EXAM and MIDTERM EXAM will occur as scheduled below; 3) The FINAL EXAM will occur as scheduled by the College.

Week 1:

Aug 25 Introduction, pronunciation, etc.

Aug 27 Wheelock 1-10 Vocab. Noun forms

Week 2:

Aug 30 Wheelock 11-14 Vocab: Active Verb Forms

Sept 1 Wheelock 15-17: Pronouns

Sept 3 Wheelock 18-22: Passive Verb Forms

Week 3:

Sept 6 Wheelock 23-27: Participles

Sept 8 Wheelock 28-30: Subjunctives

Sept 10 Wheelock 31-32: QUIZ 1

Week 4:

Sept 13 Wheelock 33-35 Conditionals

Sept 15 Wheelock 36-38 Irregular Verbs

Sept 17 Wheelock 39-40 Gerunds and Gerundives

Week 5:


Sept 22 NEPOS: Alcibiades, Chapter I

Sept 24 Alcibiades II-III

Week 6:

Sept 27 Alcibiades IV

Sept 29 Alcibiades V

Oct 1 Alcibiades V; QUIZ 2

Week 7:

Oct 4 Alcibiades VI

Oct 6 Alcibiades IX (yes, we’re skipping VII and VIII)

Oct 8 Alcibiades X

Week 8:

Oct 11 FALL BREAK; no class

Oct 13 Alcibiades X

Oct 15. QUIZ 3; Suetonius intro

Week 9:

Oct 18 Caligula, Ch. 11 & 22; 1-22 in English

Oct 20 Caligula 25-26; 23-26 in English

Oct 22 Caligula 27, 30 and 32; 27-32 in English

Week 10:

Oct 25 Caligula 33, 42, 49; 33-49 in English

Oct 27 Caligula 50-52; 50-53 in English

Oct 29 Caligula 54-55, 58 and 60; 54-60 in English

Week 11:


Nov 3 I, Claudius day. Introduction to Pliny

Nov 5 Pliny’s Letters (TBA)

Week 12:

Nov 8 Pliny

Nov 10 Pliny

Nov 12 Pliny; QUIZ 4

Week 13:

Nov 15 Pliny

Nov 17 Pliny

Nov 19 Pliny

Week 14:

Nov 22 Pliny


Week 15:

Nov 29 Pliny; QUIZ 5

Dec 1 Selections from Cicero’s Letters

Dec 3 Autobiography in poetry; Mopping up.

FINAL EXAM: Thursday, December 14; 2:00 p.m.

Just a few possible Short Report topics. I’ve got a million of

‘em if these don’t appeal.


Romulus and Remus

Plebeians and Patricians

The Paterfamilias

Patronage and Clientela

Roman names

Roman Calendar

The Fall of the Republic

Cicero, or Cicero’s autobiographical writings


Catullus (& Nepos)

One of Suetonius’ biographies aside from Caligula

Comparison of Nepos’ Alcibiades with Plutarch’s

Roman religion

Gladiatorial Games


Tacitus’ Agricola

Stoic philosophy

Epicurean philosophy

The Biographies of Sallust (Catilina or Jugurtha)

Roman weddings and/or marriages

Roman slavery and/or Freedmen

The Roman legion

The Punic Wars

The Death of Lucretia

Roman republican Government

Optimates and Populares

Roman Equestrian Class (Equites)