llttera scripta manet i 5 Proverbia de proscaenio I 17 Proverbia de proscaenio II 26 Horatiana I 28 Hadrian's Last Verse 33 Proverbia de proscaenio III 36

LlTTERA scripta manet II 39 Catullus and Caesar 41 Hie Wild Life 43 Sortes Virgilianae 45 Vergiliana I 56 The Queen and the Schoolboy 65 Propertius on the Aeneid 76 Horatiana II 86 Horatiana III 89 Graffiti in Pompeii 94 Horatiana IV 97 Horatiana V 100 A Classics Revival 103 Vergiliana II 109 Hadrians Horse 112 A Divine Injunction Observed 116 Dr. Fell 119

Pick Three Lines ... Any Three Lines i; Fair-Weather Friends 135

Rhapsody in Verse 143

Littera scripta manet III 156

Of Arms and the Kings 159

A Hexameter for Benjamin Franklin 165

The Discovery of America Foretold 172

Horatiana VI 176

Vergiliana III 182

Vergiliana IV 185

Changing with the Times 189

Vergiliana V 199

Hie Satirist on Satire 212

Scoffing at the Scofflaws 212

"Bread and Circuses" 217

Stoicism Embraced 220

lassical scholars have been described as people who take nothing on trust, who will only believe that life is short if they are provided with at least six references certifying that this is so. In editions of Latin texts intended for students, this attitude has often led to commentaries overladen with superfluous material that illustrates—rather than explains—a text, while basic (and often not so basic) points of grammar are ignored.

Beginning Latin Poetry Reader uses a different approach. It has been compiled for the person who has begun the study of Latin, who knows how to conjugate verbs and decline nouns and adjectives, and who has a basic vocabulary of perhaps 750 Latin words. When reading a Latin poem, this person wants all the necessary grammatical and other information available at a glance, and this is provided in footnotes on the same page as the text or on the page opposite.

The selections range from Ennius at the beginning of Roman literary activity down to Claudian, who stands at the end of Rome's Western empire. We have chosen them partly because of their low level of difficulty, and partly to give a broad sample of the different periods and genres of Latin literature. We have included essays on topics related to the study of Latin poetry (for example, religion at Rome and the form of the Roman book), as well as marginalia that showcase famous lines from Roman poets and miscellaneous information of interest to the reader.

For each selection, the meter is identified, with a numbered reference to the Metrics section, and at least the first two lines are metrically scanned. Details are given of the edition that is the source of the authoritative text; a few textual changes have been made for consistency and clarity, including the substitution of v for consonantal u.

In the footnotes and Glossary, long vowels in Latin words have been marked with a macron (", as in abscedd), except for hidden quantities (long vowels that cannot be decided by meter), which have been ignored. Hidden quantities are of interest to the history of the Latin language, but add an unnecessary complication for those at the beginning of their Latin studies.

We suggest that the reader take a moment to become familiar with the components and features that make Beginning Latin Poetry Reader an all-inclusive resource for the study and enjoyment of Latin poetry.

C The Contents assigns a level of difficulty to each selection, allowing the reader to choose selections suitable to his or her ability.

C The Introduction (pages xiii—xviii) and Time Line of Latin Literature (pages xix-xxi) orient the reader to the literary highlights and themes represented by the selections. The Introduction also includes a list of books suggested for further study.

C The maps of Italy, Greece, and the Troad and of Rome in Late Antiquity (pages xxii-xxiv) have been specifically tailored to the places mentioned in the selections.

C The Abbreviations (page xxvi) interprets all the grammatical and other abbreviations used in this book.

C The Grammar section (pages 221-255) explains, with examples, nearly 100 points of Latin syntax, especially as it is encountered in poetry. Throughout the selection footnotes, there are copious numbered references to these grammar points.

C The Metrics section (pages 256-266) provides details and examples of the 14 different meters used by the 70 selections in this book.

<[ The Translations (pages 267-302) offer accurate, natural translations of the selections.

C The Glossary (pages 303-342) provides the basic meanings of all Latin words in this book, as well as uncommon meanings specific to the selections. (Basic vocabulary is marked in the Glossary; the meanings of all other words are given both in the footnotes and in the Glossary.)

It is our pleasure to present this book to the reader who seeks the unique edification and enjoyment that reading Latin poetry offers.

Gavin Betts, M.A.

Daniel Franklin ime began as a settlement on the Tiber River in west central Italy. The

Romans themselves placed its founding at 753 b.c., but the actual date was probably earlier. After a slow beginning, the city extended its power beyond its original boundaries and came into contact with the Greek communities in southern Italy and Sicily. These were a part of the complex of Greek city-states that by the end of the fourth century b.c. had developed in many lands bordering on the Mediterranean and had long since reached a degree of sophistication in literary, artistic, and intellectual pursuits unequalled in the ancient world. It was inevitable that this more advanced civilization should influence the uncouth northern intruders whose military exploits far exceeded their achievements in refined

After struggles against Gauls from the north and Carthaginians from the south, Rome's power in Italy was firmly established, and she began to extend her dominion overseas. By the end of the first century b.c., the entire Greek world had been overrun and absorbed into her empire, but the Romans did not destroy the brilliant culture it represented. On the contrary, as the poet Horace expressed it,

Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit et artls intulit agrestx Latio. Epistulae 2.i,i56f.

Captive Greece took its rough conqueror captive and brought the arts to rustic Latium (i.e., Rome).

As Romans gradually became more sophisticated, they adopted and adapted more and more of Greek intellectual, literary, and artistic achievements to suit the development of their own culture. In every field of artistic endeavor—literature, sculpture, painting, and architecture—Greek masterpieces of past centuries were taken as models, but these were not slavishly imitated. The Romans saw themselves as continuing Greek traditions and endowing them with a flavor of their own. An example is the portrait bust, which depicts a person whose features the sculptor wishes to record for posterity or for contemporary propaganda. Greek busts of this kind tended to be idealistic or to emphasize a dominant characteristic, but Roman examples were painstakingly accurate and showed unflattering blemishes, such as wrinkles and moles.


Latin literature began with Livius Andronicus (Ji. 240-207 b.c.), of whose work we unfortunately possess only scanty fragments. Through him, Rome was introduced to epic and drama, and his initiatives were soon taken up and surpassed by Ennius, Plautus, and Terence, After Terence's death in 159 b.c., other literary genres were developed in Latin, and with Cicero (106-43 b.c.) the period known in modern literary histories as the Golden Age of Latin Literature began. Although Cicero's achievements in prose were immense, he was an indifferent poet. Still, among his contemporaries were two outstanding poets whose works survive: Lucretius and Catullus. The former broke new ground at Rome with his long didactic poem De rerum natura (On the nature of the universe); the latter, in addition to following recent Greek trends in poetry of a learned kind, wrote much in a personal and informal manner, telling of life in Rome, of his friends, and, above all, of his fatal passion for one of the great beauties of the day.

Cicero's life coincided with the most disturbed period of Roman history. After his death, peaceful conditions were gradually restored by Oc-tavian, the future emperor Augustus, and we have the greatest of Roman poets, Vergil, who wrote pastorals (the Eclogues), didactic poetry (the Georgics), and epic (the Aeneid), all based on Greek models. His contemporary Horace aspired to emulate the Greek lyric poets; he also continued the Roman tradition of satire, which for him was an informal type of verse ranging over a variety of subjects, usually of a personal nature, and which was the only literary genre of purely Roman origin. Elegiac poetry, a Greek genre defined by the meter in which it was composed (see page 262), was embraced by Tibullus, Propertius, and Ovid, and used by them for amatory and other themes. In addition, Ovid wrote the Metamorphoses, a vast collection of stories, mostly Greek, that (as the Greek title indicates) tell of physical transformations. Of other Golden Age poetry little has survived; an example in the present collection is from a minor elegiac writer, Lygdamus.

The death of Ovid in a.d. 17 is usually taken as the beginning of the Silver Age of Latin Literature. There was no sharp break between it and the Golden Age, but the distinction is useful because many later authors were not of the same caliber as their predecessors. Writers of both prose and verse displayed an excessive fondness for the trappings of contemporary rhetorical theory, which favored a terse, concise style. Brevity of expression was highly prized, with an emphasis on short pithy sentences (called sententiae), which were meant to have an immediate impact on the listener or reader. An epitaph for the poet Lucan tells us that the style that hits [the reader] shows real excellence, and this view is amply illustrated in Lucan's epic, the Bellum civile, and in the tragedies of his uncle, the younger Seneca.

From the first century a.d. we also have the fables of Phaedrus, Ma-nilius' didactic poem on astrology, and the epics of Valerius Flaccus, Statius, and Silius Italicus; Statius also wrote a collection of occasional poetry, the Silvae. The most attractive poet of the period, however, is Martial, whose many short poems (misleadingly called epigrams in English) give frank and lively vignettes of the Rome of his day. A still sharper and broader picture is provided by Martial's younger contemporary, Juvenal, who lived on into the next century and established the modern concept of satire. Subsequently, up to the fifth century a.d., when Rome succumbed to barbarians from the north, few writers stand out, although a new note, akin to that of early nineteenth-century romanticism, was struck in the Pervigilium Veneris (The Vigil of Venus), a poem plausibly attributed to an obscure poet, Tiberianus, of about a.d. 300. The period closes with Clau-dian (_/?. a.d. 400), who revived earlier literary forms.

After Roman civilization collapsed, the survival of the literature it had produced was at risk not only in Italy, but also in western Europe. Books had always been laboriously written out by hand (see "The Roman Book," page 18); when a particular work was not considered sufficiently interesting or useful to warrant further copies being made, it was in danger of disappearing as the number of existing copies decreased. This had always been a possibility in earlier centuries and had already occurred with a host of minor writers, but now even important works were at risk. Certain authors who were still read in schools, such as Vergil and Horace, were always safe. Some books, such as prose treatises on medicine and agriculture, fulfilled a practical need and so were also preserved. The survival of many other authors, however, was largely a matter of chance. In some cases—Lucretius and Catullus are examples—only a single copy remained, lying hidden, perhaps for centuries, in some monastery, but often all copies of an author disappeared. The random way in which writers in this category were preserved or lost has meant that some inferior works have come down to us, while major ones have perished. We have Silius Italicus' long and mediocre epic, but Ennius' Annales, which was one of the most significant works of early Latin literature, has been lost, and our knowledge of it comes from a few quotations in prose authors. Greek literature suffered a similar fate.

In the fourteenth century, when western Europe began to recover from the torpor of the Middle Ages, the literatures of ancient Greece and Rome were taken as models for authors to emulate. Of these, Roman literature was the more immediate, because a knowledge of Latin was widespread, whereas Greek was known only to an initiated few. Latin, in a somewhat changed form, had continued to be used after the collapse of the western portion of the Roman Empire, and what remained of Latin literature was still read, although in an uncritical and desultory way. With the Renaissance, scholars appeared who revived the study of the language used by the great authors of antiquity, like Cicero and Vergil. They also began to produce texts that were as close as possible to those from the hands of the original authors (see"Editing a Latin Text," page 160).

It was fortunate that these activities were underway when the invention of printing (c. 1450) brought about a revolution in book production. The old manuscript, laboriously produced by hand, was replaced by the printed book, which represented an enormous advance both in accuracy and in ease of manufacture. By the end of the fifteenth century, most of the surviving Latin authors were in print and available to a wider audience than ever before. Literary genres such as epic, tragedy, and comedy appeared for the first time in the vernacular languages of western Europe, and their new forms owed much to Latin models. As an example, we may take Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors, which took its structure from Roman comedy and its plot from a particular play of Plautus, the Menaechmi.

Other aspects of Western cultural life were influenced by the renewed interest in things Roman. Painters and sculptors often turned to the ancient world for inspiration; the early Renaissance artist Botticelli (1445-1510) broke from the medieval tradition and used subjects from classical mythology, such as the birth of Venus. Even science was affected. When scholars in such diverse fields as astronomy and medicine expounded their new ideas, it was in classical Latin that they wrote, not in its medieval form or in their.own native tongue. Copernicus (1473-1543) published his theory of the solar system in his De revolutionibus orhium coelestium (On the revolutions of the heavenly bodies), and William Harvey (1578—1657) explained the circulation of blood in his Exercitatio anatómica de motu cordis et sanguinis in animalibus (An anatomical disquisition on the movement of the heart and blood in living beings).

In the sixteenth century, the language and literature of the Romans were at the center of Western education and culture. However, the spoken languages of western Europe, which had, in some cases, been used as vehicles for literature from the Middle Ages, grew in importance, and the use of Latin slowly declined in later centuries. During the first four decades of the twentieth century, it was still taught widely in schools, but the emphasis placed on science after World War II led to a sharp fall in its popularity. Only in recent years has it been realized that a knowledge of Latin not only provides the key to the most important society of the ancient world, but also enables us to gain a full understanding of the beginnings of modern Western culture.

Suggestions for Further Study Texts

The Loeb Classical Library (Harvard University Press) contains editions of every important Latin author. In each volume, the Latin text faces its English translation, accompanied by brief notes and a comprehensive introduction. This series is invaluable for students at all levels, since it provides reliable texts at a reasonable price. Other series (see page 163) are more expensive and sometimes difficult to obtain.

Notable among recently produced editions of individual authors are Daniel H. Garrisons The Student's Catullus and Horace: Epodes and Odes (Oklahoma University Press). These books include notes suitable for students and a glossary as well.

Many older school editions that have proved their worth are available as reprints. These include editions of the individual books of Vergil's Ae-neid edited by H. Gould and J. Whiteley (Duckworth Publishers). Each book has its own glossary.

Two publishing companies that have issued both new editions and reprints of older ones are Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Inc. (Wauconda, 111., and Bristol Classical Press (a division of Duckworth Publishers,


We recommend the following books. Those marked with an asterisk are expensive and should not be purchased before the reader has reached an advanced level.


Collins Gem Latin Dictionary: Latin-English, English-Latin. D. A. Kidd (HarperCollins, 1990). An inexpensive, pocket-sized dictionary. An Elementary Latin Dictionary. C.T. Lewis (Oxford University Press, 1969). *The Oxford Latin Dictionary. Edited by P. G. W. Glare (Oxford University Press, 1982). The largest Latin-English dictionary available.


Allen &■ Greenough's New Latin Grammar. J. H. Allen and J. B. Greenough (Ginn, 1903; Dover reprint, 2006). An excellent grammar with clear explanations and copious examples from Latin literature.

*A New Latin Syntax. E. C. Woodcock. (Harvard University Press, 1959; Bristol Classical Press reprint, 1991). An advanced treatment of Latin syntax.

The Shorter Latin Primer. B. H. Kennedy (Longman, 1973), based on Kennedys The Revised Latin Primer (Longmans, Green and Co., 1931). An elementary grammar.


Roman Society. D. R. Dudley (Pelican, 1975).

*Jhe Oxford Classical Dictionary. Edited by S. Hornblower and A. Spawforth (Oxford University Press, 2003). An alphabetically arranged work of reference for the Greek and Roman world, containing articles on the major historical, literary, and other figures, as well on topics relating to the history and society of Greece and Rome.

The Concise Oxford Companion to Classical Literature. Edited by M. C. Howat-son and I. Chilvers (Oxford University Press, 1993).

A Handbook of Greek Mythology: Including Its Extension to Rome. H. J. Rose (Methuen, 1958; Penguin reprint, 1991). An account of the mythological background used by all Latin poets.

The Penguin Dictionary of Classical Mythology. P. Grimal, edited by Stephen Kershaw, translated by A. R. Maxwell-Hyslop (Penguin Books, 1991). An alphabetical arrangement of the basic information contained in the previous title; an inexpensive, useful reference work for readers of Latin poetry.

*1he Cambridge History of Classical Literature, Vol. II, Latin Literature. Edited by E.J. Kenney and W. V. Clausen (Cambridge University Press, 1983).

Latin Literature: A History. Gian Biagio Conte, translated by J. B. Solodow, revised by D. Fowler and G.W. Most (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994). An encyclopedic history intended primarily for advanced students and scholars.

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