CL210: Intermediate Latin (Ovid's Art of Love): SYLLABUS

Home TextsInstructorCalendar/AssignmentsLinks

Click to see a particular section of the course syllabus:

Course Objectives
Program of Study
Grading and Requirements

Getting the Most out of this Course: Advice and Strategies for Learning Latin
Admonitions and Clarifications


CL210 aims to consolidate and complete the program of study begun in CL110 while introducing students, via Book I of Ovid’s Ars Amatoria, to Latin literature and its cultural context in ancient Rome.

Specifically, this course will enable the student to:

• assimilate the remaining fundamentals of Latin grammar
• further expand his or her basic Latin vocabulary
• develop his or her ability to read continuous passages of Latin, especially Latin poetry
• understand the basic metrical and syntactical principles of Latin poetry and some of its literary techniques
• become acquainted with the life and works of Ovid (P. Ovidius Naso)
• gain familiarity with the culture and civilization of Rome during the Golden Age of Latin literature

Program of Study

During the first 4-5 weeks of the semester, we will concentrate on the acquisition of major new grammatical and syntactical concepts and new vocabulary through the chapters in Wheelock’s Latin. Thereafter, remaining concepts and paradigms (especially those of certain irregular Latin verbs) will be introduced primarily through our reading of Ovid.

We will attempt to read as much as possible of Ovid’s Ars Amatoria I, treating it not only as a Latin text but as a work of literature and a cultural document that reveals the society of Rome in its greatest age, at the transition between Republic and Empire.

Grading and Requirements

• Class Participation: 30%
• Homework: 20% (lowest homework grade dropped)
• Quizzes: 20% (lowest quiz grade dropped)
• Midterm Exam (March 6th): 10%
• Final Exam (May 7th at 6:00pm in Tisch 204): 20%

Class Participation involves not only attendance but also coming to class prepared and demonstrating commitment to an environment in which learning can take place. Students are expected to make an effort when called upon, to work together effectively in pairs or groups, and to engage as actively and constructively as possible in all aspects of the class. Students’ class participation will not be evaluated based on whether or not they always get the right answer or produce a correct translation. Rather, the class participation grade will be based on apparent effort, enthusiasm, and willingness to learn and to assist others in learning.

Homework will consist of different kinds of written work over the course of the semester. Unless otherwise stated, homework must be typed and handed in during the class period for which it was assigned. Late or untyped homework will not receive credit. Homework submitted by email will only receive credit if it is sent at least one hour before the start of class.

When we go over homework together in class, students are strongly encouraged to correct any mistakes they have made in such a way as to show that they understand the nature of the mistake. Students’ identification and correction of their own mistakes will be a significant element in the evaluation of homework in these cases.

Quizzes will be given every 1-2 weeks and will cover Latin grammar and vocabulary. Vocabulary sections on the quizzes will include words and short phrases and will require the student to go from English to Latin as well as from Latin to English. Details on the material covered by each quiz will be provided in advance.

Exams will cover not only grammar and vocabulary but will also test students’ reading skills through translation of extended passages of Latin. Some translation passages on exams will be those which we have read together or prepared for class, while others will be new, not having been previously seen by the student. Exams will also include some cultural and historical questions related to our readings.

Getting the Most out of this Course:
Advice and Strategies for Learning latin

1. Keep up with the material.

The greatest of Roman poets, Virgil, once wrote that all human striving is like that of a man rowing upstream in a small boat: bracchia forte remisit, atque illum in praeceps prono rapit alveus amni (“perchance he relaxes his arms, and the river with its downward current seizes him”).

This current in CL210 is swift: every new concept builds on what has come before. Once you fall behind, catching up becomes ever more difficult. Don’t neglect any aspect of an assignment. Don’t put off learning vocabulary or paradigms until the night before a quiz or exam. Start assignments early whenever possible.

2. Keep practicing.

Another Roman poet, Lucretius, remarked that the continual drip of water can hollow out a stone: gutta cavat lapidem. Consistent effort will produce equally dramatic results in Latin. Spend some time on Latin every day. Practice, practice, practice. Review vocabulary and paradigms as often as possible, whenever and wherever and however you can.

No matter how daunting any aspect of Latin seems, it can be mastered if you don’t give up. By contrast, unfortunately, human beings have a tendency to forget things unless they keep practicing them – so you shouldn’t forget to review the things you’ve already learned.

3. Be patient.

Here the crucial quotation comes from the Emperor Augustus: festina lente – hasten slowly! (He became emperor, in fact, by following his own advice.) Don’t rush through your Latin work. Take it slowly, don’t get frustrated, and give yourself time to really think about problems you encounter. If you run into a word you don’t know that you’re expected to know, make a note of it. If you realize you’ve forgotten a conjugation, stop working and run through it a few times to re-implant it in your memory. If your brain simply can’t handle thinking about a particular sentence anymore, take a break or move onto the next one; return to the problem later, with a calm mind and fresh eyes. Remember: the goal is not to complete this assignment or that as quickly as possible. The goal is to learn Latin.

4. Try to enjoy it.

Learning a dead language (or any language, for that matter) can be frustrating. The need for constant repetition can make it seem dull. One of your most important challenges will be to keep up your level of enthusiasm. Try to find ways to enjoy Latin. Get together with other people in the class to practice vocabulary. Check out some of the “fun links” on the web site or explore on your own the vast collection of weird and interesting Latin material on the internet. Listen to the Latin lyrics of Enya or Carmina Pirhana. Borrow Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis from Scribner Library. Do whatever it takes. In class, try to have fun with the geeky Latin games and activities – even if only in an ironic way.

5. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Errare est humanum. You will make mistakes, even silly mistakes. So will everyone else. Fortunately, making mistakes and remembering them is one of the most effective ways to learn. What happens in Latin class stays in Latin class, and two weeks later no one but you will remember that you confused vomere “to vomit” with vômere “by means of a plow.” Besides, half of people who weren’t called on made exactly the same mistake. If you’re not sure you’ve got the answer right, say it twice as loud.

6. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

This is also a great way to learn. Again, don’t be shy. Odds are, if you’re confused about something, then so is someone else.

7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

I’m happy to meet with students to go over difficulties. If you find yourself bogged down or confused, make an appointment to see me or stop by during office hours. In addition, free peer tutors in Latin are available through the Office of Academic Services.

Admonitions and Clarifications

1. Collaboration

Students are encouraged to work together in studying Latin grammar and vocabulary, and they should not hesitate to consult one another (or the instructor) about problems they have encountered in their written translations or Latin readings. However, all written work must clearly reflect the individual student’s own efforts and each student is responsible for thoroughly understanding the readings him- or herself. When homework assignments reflect excessive dependence of one student’s work upon another’s, the students involved with not receive credit.

2. In-Class Translations

As the semester progresses, students will increasingly be expected to offer oral, in-class translations of passages of Latin poetry and prose. Students should prepare for these translations by carefully reading the assigned passages, seeking to understand the grammar and syntax of the Latin to the best of their ability.

Students should not write out a complete translation of the passage in advance or extensively annotate the Latin text as, for example, by writing the definition of each word above a line. Occasional written notes to remind oneself of some important point are, however, acceptable and sometimes valuable.

Performance on in-class translations are part of the student’s class participation grade but the perfection of a student’s translation is much less important than the demonstration of earnest effort to understand the Latin text. Obvious reliance on translations written out in advance, however, will adversely affect a student’s class participation grade.

3. Use of Written Translations

Online translations of the sentences in Wheelock’s Latin exist. They should not be used under any circumstances. Written work which obviously depends upon a translation of the sentences in Wheelock which is available online will not receive credit. In serious cases, the student will be reported to the Dean of Studies (see pp. 132ff. in the Student Academic Handbook).

Published translations of the Ars Amatoria also exist. These may be used – but sparingly. A student should not consult such a translation except as a last resort, in an effort to resolve some special difficulty in understanding Ovid’s Latin. A student should never memorize or read from someone else’s version of the Ars for the purpose of in-class translation. Ultimately, a student’s in-class translation must reflect his or her own understanding of the readings, and students will be expected to answer specific questions about the passages we read and discuss.