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  • Course ID:LATIN 544
  • Semesters:1
  • Department:Classics
  • Course Rank:Honors
  • Teachers:Lionel Yaceczko

Description and Objectives

A survey of the literary genre of the Lives of the Saints from late antiquity (ca. AD 150–800) through the medieval (ca. 800–1500) and modern (ca. 1500–) periods.

We will begin with Pliny the Younger, a non-Christian ancient source describing his own persecution of Christians, then the Acts of the Scillitan Martyrs, then the Vitae of various saints: e.g., Martin of Tours, Benedict of Nursia, the Desert Fathers, Augustine of Hippo, Cuthbert of Northumbria, Radegund the Merovingian Queen, Columban of Ireland, Boniface of Germany, Francis of Assisi, and others.

Readings in Latin and English.

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


Required (provided)

• Beeson, Charles H. A Primer of Medieval Latin. CUA Press: Washington, DC, 1953.


• Lewis, C.T. An Elementary Latin Dictionary. Oxford, 1963. Copies of this dictionary will be provided for in-class use, but every man of letters ought to own a personal copy of this book, the sooner the better.

• Allen and Greenough’s New Latin Grammar. Focus, 2001. ISBN-10: 1-58510-027-7 (but many editions exist)

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