Advanced Latin classes

Latin courses numbered 20-35 are open to any Dartmouth student who has some experience reading Latin texts in the original language. These classes differ from each other in subject matter but not necessarily in difficulty; consequently they may be taken in any order. The list below gives some idea which topics we expect to offer during the next three years. These plans are subject to change, however. For definitive information, you should always check the ORC listings for Latin and the Registrar's Timetable.

Upper-level Latin classes, Spring 2019 to Summer 2021

LAT 20             Epic Poetry        Vergil’s epic masterpiece, the Aeneid, was an instant success and quickly became Rome’s national epic. This class will read portions of Vergil’s poem and may also study other works from the earlier and later epic tradition, such as Ennius’ Annals, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Lucan’s Civil War, or Statius’ Thebaid. LIT  Next offered in Spring 2021

LAT 21             Love Poetry     An exploration of the rich tradition of amatory verse at Rome. Readings may come from the love-elegists Tibullus, Propertius, and Ovid, and/or other poets, including Catullus and Horace. Topics to be considered include the art of persuasion in erotic literature; Roman attitudes towards gender, sexuality, and desire; and the emergence and development of Augustan culture. LIT  Next offered in Fall 2019

LAT 23             Roman Drama    Reading ancient drama allows us to consider the function of artistic production to engage with challenging political and social questions. The class will read from the comedies of Plautus and Terence and/or the tragedies of Seneca, and will explore features of the comic and/or tragic genre. Latin readings may be combined with one or more Greek plays read in translation. LIT  Next offered in Summer 2020

LAT 25             Roman Historical Writing    Readings drawn from the rich tradition of Roman historical writing. Selected readings from the works of Caesar, Sallust, Livy, and/or Tacitus will enable the class to think about the character of Latin prose writing in different periods and about the strategies of historians for offering critique and/or affirmation of those in power. SOC  Next offered in Winter 2020

LAT 27             Mortality and Immortality in Roman Philosophy   An ancient biography reports that during the long night before his suicide, with Caesar’s men outside his bedroom door, the defeated general Cato read twice through the Phaedo, Plato’s famous dialogue on the immortality of the soul. The scene is iconic for a persistent concern of Roman philosophy: does any part of a person live on after death? In this course we trace arguments of Rome’s most important philosophical thinkers both for and against the post-mortem survival of the psyche, and we consider, as well, the reasoning by which Romans managed to find consolation in both answers.  Relatedly, we assess both Greek and Roman positions on the permissibility of suicide. TMV Next offered in Winter 2022

LAT 28            Medieval Latin    Samples the immense riches of medieval Latin literature in a variety of genres, from prose narrative (e.g. Augustine’s influential Confessions or the autobiographical experiments of Hildegard, Rather of Verona, Abelard and Heloise) to epics and mock-epics (such as Waltharius and Ecbasis Captivi), to Latin interventions in the new vernacular genre of courtly romance, to lyric poetry and song-lyrics. Considers both the reception of classical genres and innovations by medieval writers. Students will have opportunities to study manuscript materials in the Special Collections Library. LIT Next offered in Spring 2022

LAT 29            Courtroom Speech     An oration of Cicero, combined with readings in English to illustrate the political circumstances, the methods of legal argumentation, and/or the techniques of public speaking as practiced in Rome. SOC Next offered in Winter 2021

LAT 31             The Italian Countryside        The environmental concerns of our own time find a counterpart in the Roman fascination with the beauty and fragility of the rural landscape and natural world. Readings may come from pastoral poetry, represented especially by Vergil’s Eclogues; the literature of farming and agriculture, including Vergil’s Georgics; and related themes in works by Varro, Horace, Tibullus, and others. LIT   Next offered in Fall 2020

LAT 32             The Poetry Book           Studies the development of the carefully crafted and deliberately arranged book of poetry at Rome, including one complete libellus in Latin with the possibility of additional examples in translation. Authors that may be read include Vergil, Horace, Propertius, Ovid, Statius, and Martial. As time allows, the class will also explore later examples of book design and artistry, drawing on Dartmouth’s collection of rare books. ART   Next offered in Fall 2021

LAT 33             The Literature of Science        The ancient Greeks and Romans studied natural phenomena passionately and considered the pursuit of scientific knowledge a mind-transforming experience that was sublime and potentially even sacred. This class will study one or more key texts in the Roman scientific tradition. Readings will be drawn from poets, such as Lucretius and Manilius, and/or prose authors, like Seneca and the Elder Pliny. Potential topics include ancient physics, astronomy, meteorology, and natural history. TMV  Next offered in Spring 2020

LAT 34             Letter-writing in the Roman World      The Romans considered letter-writing an important skill and adapted the letter form to many purposes: maintaining friendship, promoting political ends, consolation, education, artistry, and sheer entertainment. Readings will come from the prose letters of Cicero, Seneca, or Pliny; personal notes and letters recovered from archaeological sites; and/or the verse epistles of Ovid or Horace. LIT Next offered in Summer 2021

LAT 35             Satire and Humor         Basically a humorous monologue on contemporary topics, verse satire is the one kind of writing the Romans claimed as entirely their own. The class will read some of the best-known examples by Horace and Juvenal and may also explore other examples of Roman humor: epigrams by Catullus or Martial, Seneca’s Pumpkinification, Petronius’s Satyricon. LIT  Next offered in Spring 2019