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  • Course ID:LATIN 439
  • Semesters:1
  • Department:Classics
  • Course Rank:Honors
  • Teachers:Lionel Yaceczko

Description and Objectives

Sallust lived through the tumultuous hundred years of civil war that ended the Roman Republic (Tiberius Gracchus died in 133 BC, Octavian was made Augustus in 27 BC). As a retired, former partisan of the conflicts, he wrote two histories: one about the Roman conquest of North Africa in the early 100s, and another about a conspiracy to overthrow the state, foiled by Cicero in 63 BC.

In Late Antiquity, when the liberal arts were being shaped, Sallust lay at the heart of the curriculum as one of the four authors of the “Quadriga” (“four-horse chariot”): Vergil, Terence, Sallust, and Cicero. Sallust’s prose style combines the simple, brilliant clarity of Caesar’s commentaries with the monumental grandeur of Cicero’s speeches. In fact, the speeches made by Caesar, Cato, and many others in Sallust’s historical works were thought sufficient by themselves for years of memory work yielding a polished public speaker.

In this course we will read substantial portions of the Conspiracy of Catiline and/or the War of Jugurtha in Latin, as well as both works in their entirety in translation.

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


Required textbooks:

  • Steadman, Geoffrey. Sallust’s Bellum Catilinae. A personal copy will be provided to each student. Replacement copies would cost approximately $15.
  • Rolfe, John C. (1920) Loeb Translation of the Bellum Catilinae. A personal copy will be provided. A PDF may be downloaded here: Sallust Catiline Rolfe English.

Strongly recommended for all advanced Latin students:

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. Additionally, active recall of learned information is greatly strengthened by associations with old learned information. The use of a static, physical medium (a “codex” or book, as opposed to a screen) greatly assist this process; digital reference works bypass it.

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
  • Follow the 2019 Heights LAT 439 Sallust Syllabus that was handed out on day one.

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

• The Rolfe translation of the War of Catiline that was handed out in class may be found here: 2019 Heights LAT 439 Sallust Catiline Rolfe English.


For the oral recitation project, audio recordings of the instructor reading the text aloud may be found below. You may play the recording by clicking play, or download the mp3 file (right-click—select Download Linked File As…) to play it on your own media player.

Caesar’s speech in favor of jail:









Cato’s speech in favor of the death penalty: