Texas Tech University

The Latin Program

From VENI VIDI VICI to DRACO DORMIENS NUNQUAM TITILLANDUS, Latin has kept its readers and speakers intrigued for over 2,000 years. Whether you want to read the graffiti left by Roman gladiators and soldiers, learn the language of emperors, poets, and prophets, read Caesar, Cicero, and Vergil in their original language, or even uncover the meaning behind all those Harry Potter spells, Latin is the language for you! Come study the thoughts of the greatest army and empire the world has ever known, and find out why Latin has stood the test of time.

Studying Latin will help you:

  • Gain greater mastery of English grammar and syntax
  • Give you an improved vocabulary through knowledge of the many Latin roots of English words
  • Make you familiar with key terminology still used in the legal and medical professions today
  • Learn other European languages with ease

Latin students go on to excel in a range of occupations and vocations, including medicine and law, education, publishing, politics and public policy, and religion. Business is also a place where your Latin skills can be put to use: in fact, Michael Ortner says that "studying Latin is ideal training for actually running a business!"

Courses

Latin 1501 (LAT1501) begins the Latin sequence. Students will learn the key grammatical structures of Latin and start reading and writing the language. You will read original excerpts from authors like Plautus, Cicero, Vergil, Horace, Sallust, and Livy, almost right away. By the end of the course, students will have learned many of Latin's grammatical forms, and be able to read and write basic Latin, including longer excerpts from original Latin texts! This course fulfills the first semester of the Foreign Language requirement.

Latin 1502 (LAT1502) completes the beginning sequence of Latin. Students will acquire the remainder of Latin's forms, although the emphasis is on the syntax of Latin: the unique ways that Latin forms complex sentences and thoughts. By the end of the semester, students have mastered Latin grammar and syntax and have begun to read and write Latin at an intermediate level. The final unit of the course is devoted to reading a continuous piece of Latin such as Cicero's speeches about the nefarious conspiracy of Catiline, Caesar's account of his war in Gaul, or Cornelius Nepos' biography of the great Carthaginian general Hannibal Barca! This course fulfills the second semester of the Foreign Language requirement.

Latin 2301 (LAT2301) develops students' skills in understanding Latin and ancient Roman culture through reading and interpreting engaging works of Latin prose and poetry from the Roman Republic, a time of great upheaval and crisis as Rome's democratic government struggled to survive the building of its empire. Students read works of prose by authors such as Cicero and Sallust, and poetry by authors like Catullus, Lucretius, Plautus, and Terence, while also learning much more about the fascinating culture and history of the Roman Republic. Grammar and syntax are also reinforced. By the end of the course, students have mastered the translation of some of the Republic's greatest authors, while also having learned the basics about Roman literary style and poetic meter. Completing this course fulfills the Foreign Language requirement for all students other than those earning a B.A.

Click here for a sample course description

LAT2301 Sample Course Description:

Love, war, and Latin - all in one course! This course will develop students' skills in understanding Latin and ancient Roman culture through reading and interpreting engaging, seminal works of Latin prose and poetry from the Roman Republic. The first half of the course will focus on Sallust's Bellum Catilinae. Writing of the events of 63 BCE from the perspective of the end of the Republic and the beginning of the Imperial period, Sallust offers a very different interpretation of the Catlinarian conspiracy from that in Cicero's orations, as well an alternative portrait of such influential figures as Cicero, the young Julius Caesar, and Cato the Younger. In the process, Sallust also attempts to diagnose the causes of the moral and institutional decline of the Roman Republic. Catullus, however, brings that narrative of decline into question, in the most lively of ways! The second half of the course will focus on select poems of Catullus, the spurned lover and witty social critic of late Republican Rome. In addition to furthering their translation skills, students will analyze aspects of grammar, as well as prose and poetic style, themes, and meter; they will also gain an appreciation of the content, context, and craftsmanship of these seminal works. Completing this course fulfills the Foreign Language requirement for all students other than those earning the B.A.

Latin 2302 (LAT2302) completes the intermediate sequence of Latin by focusing on the reading and interpretation of the prose and poetry of the Roman Empire founded by Augustus, which ushered in centuries of peace. Students read works of prose by authors such as Livy, Seneca, Pliny, and Suetonius and poetry by authors such as Vergil, Ovid, Propertius, and Martial. Students complete their training in grammar and syntax, but the focus of this class is on appreciation of the literary themes and craftsmanship of Latin authors within the context of their unique historical and cultural circumstances. By the end of the course, students have mastered the art of translation and are ready for advanced study of the Latin language. Completing this course fulfills the Foreign Language requirement for students earning a B.A.

Click here for a sample course description

LAT2302 Sample Course Description:

Et tu Brute? Great men, great myths, and Latin - all in one course! This course will develop students' skills in understanding Latin and ancient Roman culture through reading and interpreting lively, seminal works of Latin prose and poetry from the Imperial period. The first half of the course will focus on Suetonius' Divus Julius. Writing about two centuries after the first Roman emperor took the throne, the imperial biographer Suetonius begins his lives of the twelve Caesars with a life of Julius Caesar. In addition to recounting the Caesar's military and political career, including momentous events like the crossing of the Rubicon, Suetonius gives us all of the juiciest gossip about the great man - his escape from Sulla's blood-bath in the streets of Rome, what his soldiers used to chant about him behind his back, how he bought popularity with the common Roman, and why his various marriages ended. Did he become a god, as the myth goes? Read Ovid and find out! The second half of the course will focus on selections from Ovid's Metamorphoses, one of the literary masterpiece of the Augustan age and a repository of many famous myths which continue to capture our imaginations right through to the present day. In addition to furthering their translation skills, students will analyze aspects of grammar, as well as prose and poetic style, themes, and meter; they will also gain an appreciation of the content, context, and craftsmanship of these seminal works. The course is part of a four semester sequence which fulfills the language requirement for B.A. students.

Advanced Latin (Course number varies)

Click here for a sample course description

Advanced Latin, Sample Course Description

LAT4300, Individual Problems in Latin: Apuleius' Cupid and Psyche

In this course, we will read selections from Apuleius' novel Metamorphoses (or the Golden Ass), focusing on the love story between Cupid and Psyche that dominates the center of the work. Functioning simultaneously as a philosophical allegory and a fairytale that is the original version of Beauty and the Beast, Apuleius' tale of Cupid and Psyche is one of the novel's most memorable pieces. We will occasionally complement our Latin translation with reading and discussion of modern scholarship on Apuleius in order to consider the tale's role within the novel as a whole and put it back into its original social, religious, and philosophical context.

For information on how these course contribute to the major, minor, and university requirements, click here.

Latin Placement Exam

For students with prior Latin training:

  • CMLL-Classics offers a placement exam (for placement only, NOT credit) for Latin classes. Sitting the exam may permit the student to place out of one or more classes.
  • Texas Tech University typically awards credit for LAT1501 and LAT1502 to students who score 3 or above on the AP Latin exam, allowing them the opportunity to start their Latin study at the intermediate level with LAT2301. The Classics program recommends and encourages students with a score of 3 to sit our placement exam, to make sure that this is the best fit. We also recommend the placement exam for students who sat the AP exam two or more years ago and have not taken Latin since.

To learn more about placement, please contact the CMLL Graduate Program Coordinator Carla Burrus

For more information about the Latin Program, contact Dr. Caroline Bishop, Latin Program Coordinator

Classical Language & Literature Studies