Instructor: S. Ross                                                                                           

Email:  or                                                                        

Phone: 804-354-6800 ex. 3301

Course Description: This course is designed for  fourth and fifth year students who have thoroughly mastered the forms and constructions of Latin prose and poetry and are ready to move onto an in-depth literary study of individual authors of prose and poetry.  Students are expected to move beyond the mechanics of translation to literary and stylistic analysis of Latin prose and poetry. Precise knowledge of vocabulary, translation (prepared and at sight) and critical analysis are emphasized as preparation for the Advanced Placement Examination.  Latin AP: Caesar &Vergil is a detailed course that focuses on Caesar’s Commentarii de Bello Gallico and Vergil’s Aeneid. The AP Syllabus (reading list) is precisely followed with additional passages from the corpus of Caesar and Virgil and related authors also read. Students are expected to learn the metrical patterns of hexametric poetry, to read and understand scholarly commentaries on Vergil’s Aeneid and Caesar’s Commentarii de Bello Gallico and to compose in English sensitive appraisals of the text on specified topics and themes.  In accordance with the AP Syllabus selections from both Caesar and Vergil are read in English translation and analyzed from literary, cultural and historical perspectives.  In conjunction with daily reading of Latin texts this course explores the social and political history of late Republican Rome and the early Principate.



Geoffrey Steadman, College Caesar. Geoffrey Steadman, 2011.

Caesar: The Gallic War: A New Translation by Carolyn Hammond. Oxford World's Classics, 2008.

R. Lafleur, &. G. McKay, A Song of War, Readings from Vergil’s Aeneid.  Prentice Hall, 2008.

The Aeneid of Vergil:  A Verse Translation by Allen Mandelbaum, Bantam Books, 1971.

Topics & Themes:

1)    Morphology and syntax of Caesar and Vergil

2)    Rhetorical Devices and Figures of Speech

3)    Organization of the Roman Military to the Time of Caesar

4)    Roman Conquest and the Ideology of Empire

5)    Cultural Concepts of Heroism

6)    Leadership and Roman Values

7)    Literature and Political Use of Mythology

8)    Genre and Hellenic and Hellenistic literary models for the De Bello Gallico and Aeneid

9)    Political and Social History of the late Republican Rome and the early Principate

10) Augustan Art and Architecture

11) Latin metrics and Scansion of Dactylic Hexameter

Required Materials: Notebook and pencil

Tests: There is one test each quarter that covers 200-300 lines of Latin and includes translation, grammatical questions, figures of speech, and essay questions.

Essays and Other Written Assignments:  Students write five essays (6-7 pages) on assigned topics, which follow and exceed the literary analysis that is part of the AP examination.  All papers are graded and students are required to revise and resubmit the paper. 

Quizzes:  Un-announced translation and grammar, Derivatives, Vocabulary, Scansion, Biographical, At-Sight, Grammar, Rhetorical Figures of Speech.  There are 4-5 derivative quizzes; there are 10-12 vocabulary quizzes throughout the year (see word banks on teacher’s webpage).  Two biographical quizzes at the beginning of each semester.  We practice At-sight reading by using previous AP multiple choice reading passages and by taking At-Sight-Vergil quizzes throughout the year.  There are approximately 6-8 Vergil at-sight quizzes. Quizzes on Grammar and Rhetorical Figures of Speech are given throughout the year, but are more frequent in the second semester.

Daily Work in Class:  In order to complete the AP Syllabus in a timely manner,  the majority of classes are devoted to reading and orally translating Latin into English at the rate of approximately 75 lines of Latin per week.  The goal is to read the text carefully, understand all grammatical constructions and the precise meaning of all vocabulary in context, provide a literal translation that is sensitive to the Latin syntax, be aware of a representative selection of figures of speech, and provide basic literary analysis in the form of oral discussion.  Preparation of the assigned Latin text for class and oral translation and discussion form a significant portion of a student’s grade.

Works in Translation: Aeneid  and Commentarii de Bello Gallico in Translation:  Apart from the Latin reading in the course, all students are required to read books 1, 6 and 7 of of Commentarii de Bello Gallico and Books 1, 2, 4, 6 and 12 of the Aeneid in translation (Mandelbaum text).  Each student, either in pairs or as an individual,  presents at least one book of the Aeneid before the class.  For presentations, each student must produce a handout for the class which minimally covers the following areas:  1) sequential events with line numbers, 2) major characters, 3) divine intervention, 4) role of gods, 5) geography, 6) mythic references, 7) historical and culture significance, 8) contemporary Roman references.  Students also submit five questions on the events and characters in the book to be used by the instructor in making a quiz for the class that is given prior to the presentation.  

Article Presentations: Each student reads and presents one scholarly article per quarter.  This presentation should summarize and discuss the significance of the author’s arguments in the context of individual episodes of Vergil’s Aeneid or Caesar’s Be Bello Gallico.   The presentation should not be longer than ten minutes.

Expectations:  Each student must come to class with reading assignments well-prepared in advance.  Each student is responsible to maintain a pace that permits the content of the course to be completed by the first week of May.   The course is taught as if all students will take the National AP Examination.   Students are expected to check the class web-site and/or the weekly calendar for scheduled reading and quizzes.  It is possible that not all of these assignments will occur in every quarter. 


Daily Reading, Translation and Discussion                                                200 Points (approx.) 

Daily or Weekly Assignments: Parsing, Comprehension, analysis               50 Points (approx.)                                   

Essays (minimum one each quarter)                                                          150-250 Points (approx.) 

Tests (at least one each quarter)                                                                 200 Points (approx.) 

Quizzes: Vocabulary, Figures of Speech, Sight, Books in Translation          50 Points (approx.)