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  • Course ID:LATIN 546
  • Semesters:1
  • Department:Classics
  • Course Rank:Honors
  • Teachers:Lionel Yaceczko

Description and Objectives

One of the Four Latin Doctors of the Church, Augustine was not always the great bishop whose sermons, letters, and philosophical treatises could fill a library: he began his career as a grammaticus and a rhetor, and was renowned in the Roman Empire as one of its finest writers and teachers.

As a saintly bishop in the 5th century, he composed the world’s first great autobiography, The Confessions.

In this course we will read a substantial amount of one of Augustine’s major works (e.g., The Confessions) in Latin, but also some of his lesser-known works in translation. We will attempt to see in outline one of the most prolific authors of all time, about whom his friend and biographer Possidius said, “If anyone claims to have read all your works, he is lying; what reader is even able to possess them?”

One semester. Offered on occasion. Prerequisite: Intermediate Latin.



These are reference works to be used for a lifetime, and the student is strongly urged to consider that digital versions of reference works lack the essential characteristic of delay, the interval between the time when the question arises in the mind and the time when the question is answered. This is the time period in which the space in the memory where new information will dwell is created. If one definition of learning is the expansion of the capacity for memory and the actual exercise of memory, then digital reference workds skip this essential step  of the learning process.


Augustine: Confessions Books I–IV. Latin text with English commentary by Gillian Clark. Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Course Requirements

Students will be expected to prepare about ten lines of prose per day to translate in class.

In addition to in-class translation, every two or three weeks we will have seminar days, on which we will discuss a text that we have all read. For seminar days students will be expected to read about 20–30 pages of an ancient text in translation.

Students will take six translation exams over the course of the semester. If the student is consistently preparing his daily translations, he should not need to study for these exams.

Twice per semester, students in LAT 221 (Intermediate Latin) or above will take the Morphology Exam. This exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions. The student will be expected to parse any noun, adjective, pronoun, or verb form by analogy with other forms. A student’s score on the Morphology Exam, if higher than his quarter average, will replace his quarter grade. Seniors in advanced Latin must score at least a 90 on the Morphology Exam at some point during their Heights career to be eligible to receive a grade of A- or better for their fourth quarter grade.

Successful Students

  • study Latin at least fifteen solid minutes every day of the week, (that means tunnel vision from 0–15, no distractions, no touching or looking at a phone, not even a bathroom break
  • re-translate, as soon as possible, on the same day, what we have translated together in class, to consolidate and firmly establish new knowledge,
  • seek extra help outside of class, not only from the instructor, who is available before/after school every day, but also from classmates.
  • do synopses and DANS

Additional Resources

Latin DAN

Latin Verb Synopsis

Dickinson College Latin Vocabulary List

• Allen and Greenough’s New Latin Grammar

° a PDF of this and many other useful Latin and Greek language learning texts can be found at

° Digitized version hosted by Tufts University’s Perseus website here

Logeion online Latin and Greek dictionaries