All Courses

Survey of Classical Latin Poetry

LAT 553

Survey of Classical Latin Poetry

  • Course ID:LAT 553
  • Semesters:1
  • Department:Classics
  • Course Rank:Honors
  • Teachers:Lionel Yaceczko

Description and Objectives

Readings from a variety of the most celebrated Latin poets, including Vergil, Horace, Propertius, Lucretius, Ovid, Catullus, Martial, Juvenal, and others. We will focus on the period of the end of the Roman Republic and the early Principate (ca. 100 BC–AD 100).



• Two Centuries of Roman Poetry. Kennedy, E.C. and A.R. Davis. Bristol Classical Press: London, 1996. (Publisher’s website here)

A copy of this text will be provided to each student and used on a daily basis. Any other readings will come from handouts made by the instructor.


Latin dictionary

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!). (Publisher’s website here)

Other good Latin dictionaries:

Reference Grammar

Allen and Greenough’s New Latin Grammar is the recommended reference grammar. There are many publishers offering this text, including digital versions and PDFs on the web for free, but they are all the same version that has for about a century been one of the top two or three Latin reference grammars written in English.

Course Requirements

• On most days students will be asked to prepare a certain amount of Latin for translation in class (generally about 10 lines), and will be graded on these in-class translations.

• There will be about six translation exams over the course of the semester.

• There will be one memorization and recitation assignment. The student will be required to choose a brief passage from one of the authors read during this course. The grade will be based not only on accuracy of the recitation, but also on fidelity to the meter and on the ability to answer questions designed to test comprehension of the meaning of the text.

• Students will take the Morphology Exam, a 100-point multiple choice exam. Students will be given two opportunities to take this exam, and only the higher grade will count. Seniors in this course must score 90 or higher at any point during their high school career to receive a grade of A- or higher for the fourth quarter Latin grade.

Successful Students

Successful students in LAT 553 will:

• Read, write, speak, and hear. Learning a language requires using all four faculties: two active, two passive; two auditory, two visual. This can be accomplished by simply reading the text out loud and writing notes in one’s notebook.

• Study every day. You can take a day off on Sunday if you get a 6-day streak before that.

• Talk to classmates. Not only classmates, but even students in other advanced Latin classes will be happy to help you. Everyone enjoys sharing the new knowledge that comes from hard work. Knowledge, like love, is increased by sharing.

• Talk to instructors. If the previous point was true, then a fortiori this next one will be. Not only the instructor of this course, but other advanced Latin instructors consider talking to our students the most important thing we do.

Additional Resources

Course Syllabus:

2021-2022 Heights Latin Survey of Poetry Syllabus