Latin 490

Spring 2017


Lingua Latina de Provincia Britanniae


Professor: Professor Irby
Office: Morton 329
Office phone: 221-2162
Office Hours:
Tuesdays 10:00 - 10:50, Thursdays 12:30-1:30, and by appointment


web pages:


Grading scale:
100-93% = A; 92-90% = A-; 89-87% = B+; 86-83% = B; 80-82% = B-; 79-77% = C+; 76-73% = C; 72-73% = C-; 69-67% = D+; 66-63% = D; 92-60% = D-; 59%-0% = F


Exams and Course Grade:

Attendance and Participation

25 points

Weekly Summaries

25 points

Weekly Paradigms/Quizzes

40 points

Oral Presentation (27 April or earlier)

75 points

Textual Commentary

75 points

1 page responses on each of three articles


  • 23 February
  • 23 March
  • 20 April

60 points

Midterm (2 March)

100 points

Final Exam (8 May, 2:00-5:00)

100 points


500 points



Course Objectives: This course,  arranged more or less chronologically, will delve into the rich tradition of writings about Roman Britain and by British authors (in Latin). Readings will come from a variety of sources: prose, poetry, and epigraphy. Our genres will include history (Caesar, Tacitus, ), encylcopedia (we delve briefly into Pliny Maior's "20,000 useful facts"), "geography (Caesar, Pomponius Mela), epic (lyric), lyric (Horace, Propertius, Tibullus),  imperial biography (Suetonius, the world's best celebrity biographer). And there is much that we will not have the time to read.


Students are expected to be conversant with the rules of Latin grammar, syntax, and prosody.


Schedule of Readings: The assigned readings are to be read before coming to class. It is your responsibility to keep up with any changes to the reading assignments as announced in class and on the web page. Be careful and systematic. Keep detailed vocabulary lists, including full dictionary entries. It is best not to write out translations but take careful grammatical and vocabulary notes. The Latin texts are available online (see below) and in the course pack, and I highly recommend printing out the course pack (and perhaps also binding it) for taking as you prepare for class and while following along during class. Keep a clean copy of the text to study for quizzes and exams.

online texts:


Class Room Policies: Regular attendance is strongly encouraged. You are expected to participate fully and actively in all class discussions.


Weekly Paradigms: To keep the forms fresh, I will assign weekly paradigms of verb synopses and noun-adjective pairs. 


Weekly Summaries: Due once a week (M, W, or F, your choice), a paragraph (75-150 words) on the readings assigned for the day.  You may summarize the assigned readings or one passage, make a comment on one or several of the assigned passages, formulate a question about one or several of the assigned readings, or comment on some particularly interesting passage or construction. The assignment is open-ended -- intended to encourage greater preparation for class -- you must submit one paragraph per week, and I do expect greater sophistication as the term progresses.


Make-up Policy: No make-up work will be allowed for any reason. No e-mail submissions will be accepted.


Oral Presentation: Each student will give a brief oral presentation (7-10 minutes) on some topic relevant to this course. Handouts are always a good idea! See below for topics.


Textual Commentary: Select a 10-15 line passage on some topic that particularly piques your interest. Include the sort of information you would like to see in a commentary, including an exegesis of grammar, syntax, rhetorical devices, difficult or interesting phrases, history, science, culture. Select from any of the featured authors (just not from assigned passages). Due 27 April.


Article Responses: You will also read three articles (bibliography in progress and linked below): and write a one-page response to each.


Exams: Exams will consist in translation of prepared and sight passages, as well as grammatical and historical/philosophical questions on the exam passages and essays on author styles, treatment of scientific theories and other matters discussed in class.


No work will be accepted late
No make-ups will be permitted
Arrive prepared and on time
Minor adjustments to the syllabus may be announced in class
It is your responsibility to keep informed about changes to the syllabus and exam schedule
Turn off cell phones, etc before coming to class

You may use your laptops ONLY  to take notes for Latin

No texting during class

Regular Attendace is strongly encouraged

Hark upon the Gale: Remember the Honor Code






Essential Online Resources

Research Tools:


For Roman Britain in particular:



Online dictionary:


Glossary of Rhetorical Devices


Writing Tools:


Oral Presentation Topics

1.    Bede (26 January)

2.    Caesar (31 January)

3.    imperial frontier policy (14 February)

4.    Suetonius (14 February)

5.    Tacitus (16 February)

6.    Claudius (16 February)

7.    Agricola (16 March)

8.    Domitian (30 March)

9.    Hadrian’s Wall (4 April)

10.  Druids (6 April)

11.  Vindolanda Tablets (11 April)

12.  St Columba (13 April)

13.  Adamamnus (13 April)

14.  Alcuin (18 April)

15.  Anselm (18 April)

16.  Aberdeen Bestiary (20 April)

17.  Milton (20 April)

18.  Bacon (25 April)

19.  More (25 April)

20.  Newton (27 April)


Some Article suggestions


Schedule of Reading Assignments

Most of the Reading Assignments can be found online through the Perseus Project (which includes some commentaries), Lacus Curtius, and/or the Latin Library; supplemental pdfs will be distributed by email attachment

When we do not complete reading/discussion of assigned texts in class,

we will not tarry, but move on to the next set of readings.

The schedule of assignments is subject to change




27 January: Add/Drop ends


Feb 1, 4:30 pm, Andrews 101: Michael Danti, Boston University: “A Momentary Erasure of Millennia: The Cultural Heritage Crises in Syria and Northern Iraq” (AIA)


o   Presentation: Suetonius: presentation and handout

o   Presentation: Tacitus

o   Presentation: Imperial frontier policy

o Presentation: Claudius

February 17, 4:00 pm, Washington 201: Martha Nussbaum, University of Chicago : "Anger and Forgiveness: Resentment, Generosity, Justice" (co-sponsored with the Program in Judaic Studies and the Meyers-Stern Endowment)


Feb 23, 4:30 pm, Andrews 101: Karl Galinsky, University of Texas, : “Memory and Forgetting in the Time of Augustus” (Jones)


o   Presentation: Agricola (16 March)

March 16, 4:30 pm, Andrews 101: Kelcy Sagstetter, US Naval Academy; “Who’s Your Daddy?  A Paternity Crisis after the Peloponnesian War” (AIA)

17 March: last day to withdraw from a class



o   Presentation: Domitian

March 30, 4:30 p,m, Andrews 101: Bonna Westcoat, Emory University: “From the Vantage of the Victory: New Research on the Nike of Samothrace.” (Brinkley)

o   Presentation: Hadrian’s Wall

o   Presentation: Druids


o   Presentation: Vindolanda Tablets

o   Presentation: St Columba

o   Presentation: Adamamnus


o   Presentation: Alcuin

o   Presentation: Anselm

o   Presentation: Aberdeen Bestiary

o   Presentation: Milton


o   Presentation: Bacon

o   Presentation: More

o   Presentation: Newton

o   textual commentaries DUE




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