Author: Satura Lanx

What if Roman writers were to publish today?

Have you ever tried to find modern equivalents to Roman genres, or to single works? I mean, if Seneca had to publish one of his books today, which publisher would he choose? How would be the cover of his books? And, above all, who would buy his works? For some reason, these are questions I ask myself rather frequently. So, this semi-serious article collects some of my modest proposals (more might follow in another article). #1 Pliny the Elder and Wikipedia: Well, this is an easy one. Some parts of Pliny’s Naturalis historia could find specific equivalents (think of Sapiens

Continue reading
How to learn Latin

How to teach yourself Latin everyday and everywhere

Although writing and speaking to someone else are great ways to learn Latin, we don’t always have the chance to sit and write, and we don’t always have a Latin speaking friend at hand. What can we do instead? I give you three ideas that can be practiced everywhere and at any time, without any particular equipment. Although nothing prevents that you write something down, if you wish, these exercises are particularly suitable to be made orally – or even silently in your mind, if you don’t like to draw the attention of all the passer-by. The principle at the

Continue reading
latin palaeography, latin manuscript, latin script, learn latin, speak latin

6 things you (maybe) didn’t know about how ancient texts were written

Although you probably know that Latin texts were not originally produced in the form we know and read them today (no pocket-format, easily readable printed books you could buy in a bookshop for a few euros; no e-book reader-friendly nor digital editions ready to be consumed, of course), maybe you don’t have in mind how different was, let’s say, the text of Cicero’s orations from the one we think about today. The history of how – and in which forms – many Latin text took their journey through the centuries before they landed on our bookshelves is very fascinating, long

Continue reading

In praise of notebooks (and friendships)

While I was reorganizing my old high school notes some days ago, I found some little notebooks, which I used to bring with me every time I went to a summer Latin conventiculum. For those of you who have not attended one yet, conventicula, or septimanae Latinae, or Latin summer schools, are events that are organized every summer around the world. They can last a minimum of a few days to a week or more, during which participants attend Latin lessons for different levels by some (usually very good) teachers. In the afternoon or at night, they are often offered

Continue reading

How to boost your Latin in 2020

Have you always wanted to pick Latin up again after a long time, but did not find the time or the motivation? Are you dreaming about being able to wholly read (and understand) an original work in Latin by the end of this year? Have you been postponing your wish to find a spoken Latin community in your area for too long? Have you been wondering about how much you could benefit if you switched from an auto didactical approach to the commitment to a more structured Latin course? Well, there is no better moment to take a serious resolution,

Continue reading
learn latin, speak latin, how to read latin texts, understand latin, latin version, latin dictionary, translation from latin

Getting to the kernel

When I was at high school, I used to take part in many (many!) certamina each year. A certamen is a competition in which participants are required to translate a Latin text into their language; a jury will then evaluate the translation, and reward the most accurate and elegant among them. Dozens of certamina are organized every year in Italy, mostly addressed to high school students. While in one of such competitions, I would always have a look at other competitors, observing how they would behave during the first minutes after we had received the text to translate. Just from

Continue reading

Don’t stress about stresses!

How do I know where to put the stress on a Latin word? This is a question I am frequently asked from my students, and it is worth an answer. Indeed, pronouncing Latin (and every other language) properly is something we should aim to, and – as far as I am concerned – something that gives a very good first impression to the people we are talking (or reading) to. Moreover, it is something that is not so problematic in Latin. Then, why not try? In my experience as a teacher, I have found that even beginner students tend to

Continue reading