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Roman Civil War

LAT 550

Roman Civil War

  • Course ID:LAT 550
  • Semesters:1
  • Department:Classics
  • Course Rank:Honors
  • Teachers:Lionel Yaceczko

Description and Objectives

The Civil Wars that ended the Roman Republic and yielded to the Principate nearly exterminated Rome’s senatorial aristocracy just when Rome had overcome her greatest rivals for dominance of the Mediterranean world.

From the turbulent days of the Gracchi (about 130 BC) to the domination of Octavian (about 30 BC), the people of the Empire watched as one dynast after another grasped for the highest place among his peers.

In the end there were not enough governors to administer all the new conquests, and the final undisputed victor of the century of civil wars, Octavian, created a new senate by creating hundreds of new senators.

In LAT 550 we will read selections from one or more of the various ancient authors that tell this story: Caesar, Cicero, Lucan, Nepos, and others.



Caesar. De Bello Civili III. Edited with notes and vocabulary by E.C. Kennedy. Bristol Classical Press, 1941 (: 2006) [provided]


Latin students at the advanced level are always strongly urged to acquire their own copy of a good Latin dictionary and reference grammar.

The school provides copies of the Elementary Latin Dictionary of C. T. Lewis for students to borrow for the semester. Students are urged, however, to acquire their own copy of this dictionary; it is the last dictionary they will ever need to purchase (even if going on to major in classics in college!).

Course Requirements

The course grade will be based on the following, although the rubric may be changed during the semester:

  • six (6) translation exams, 100 points each. ≥600 points.
  • at least ten (10) daily tranlsation checks, 10 points each. ≥100 points.
  • one (1) memorization and recitation of a passage of Latin. ≥100 points.
  • Students will be expected to follow the Assignment Folders on Schoology. Because unfortunately we will not be able to predict disruptions, the syllabus calendar can not be made available at the beginning of the year. As a general rule of thumb, Students should expect to translate at least 30 lines of Latin per class meeting.
  • Students will be expected to do the grunt work of looking up words in a dictionary to build vocabulary.
  • Students will be expected to come to class prepared to translate the day’s reading assignment.

Successful Students

  • spend at least “fifteen solid” every day. This is a bare minimum, and minimal work will yield minimal results.
  • ask their peers for help!
  • seek out the instructor during office hours.
  • re-read every day’s assignment out loud, slowly, and with attention. I repeat: 1.) out loud; 2.) slowly; 3.) with attention.