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Latin 101: Learning a Classical Language

Discover the exciting intellectual challenge of Latin in this course that uses works by Cicero, Virgil, Caesar, and others to teach you the rules and form of this great language.
Latin 101: Learning a Classical Language is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 167.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Extraordinary This a fantastic course. Professor Molinarius is an inspired scholar, with an engaging teaching style and a great sense of humor. The ease with which one is carried along by the class, and actually learns, speaks to Professor Molinarius masterful work. The clarity and apparent simplicity of the class are extraordinary pedagogicsl achievements. You no will not find a better Latin class. Highly and enthusiastically recommended!
Date published: 2024-03-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just the Beginning I purchased this course because I went to Rome and could not read any of the inscriptions and I wanted to do a deep dive. A standard text of Latin is Wheellocks and consider this course a visual Whitlocks. If you are starting de novo, expect to spend hours on each lecture, studying everything in the guidebook and everything Prof. Mueller says. It is not easy. Use the internet as a resource. There is plenty of help out there. Learn the vocabulary. Make flashcards. It took me a year or more to get through the course. Currently my Latin study consists of alternating between 1. Studying chapters of Wheelocks. 2. Translating Fabula Syrae 3. Translating the Vulgate bible through 4. Translating simple english texts (6th grade level) to Latin. 5 Continuously studying and restudying vocabulary flashcards both on paper and on (make your own virtual flashcards). I have also purchased other latin texts to read, Professor Muellers workbook on De Bello Gallico and Latin facebook pages. If you are serious about Latin there are numerous resources out there. Valete!
Date published: 2023-12-01
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Outdated - Only Looks at Grammar Considering that a lot of language learning these days focuses on comprehensible input, i.e. learning the language in context with authentic texts adapted to the level of the learner, I was disappointed to see that this is a course full of grammar tables. I made it through seven lectures but gave up after I realised the whole course would just be repeating declensions after the lecturer with barely any example sentences and very little vocabulary learning. How can you remember the grammar if you are barely ever using it in real sentences?! Even when he does include full sentences he doesn't translate them in full, just the one word he is showing declensions of... I've learnt way more from Duolingo than this course. The instructor was fairly engaging, but the teaching method was not.
Date published: 2023-11-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Introductory Latin Course! Professor Mueller is great!! I have learned so much and he makes it fun.
Date published: 2023-06-18
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Chanting and Charts When explicating a text, the professor is more efficient, unfortunately, as others have noted, large segments of the course are devoted to chanting and charts. Not a very efficient use of video time. As one reviewer described it - "mind numbing." This tedium is compounded with the avalanche of English grammar terminology that detracts from the presentations. A significant number of the reviews that are favorable are from people who have already taken previous Latin courses and are not beginning learners. For those who are novices, I recommend finding supplemental sources such as Duolingo which provides regular interaction with the material rather than repeating from a chart.
Date published: 2023-05-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from You will have a BLAST with this class! I thought it would be a fun little 10 minute jaunt to log in and play with Latin for March 15 - the Ides! In preparation for launching this on hubby, so I logged in and checked it out. OMG, the instructor is so engaging. Joke was on me because it pulled both of us right in. This instructor we met in the ancient religion class - a gentle, witty flair. It's the same here. FUN!! And he really knows how to teach language, lots of interesting repeats, use of relevant examples. Hubby and I just kept going and going. I skipped ahead to the advanced lessons and it's just as fascinating. Neither of us had ANY interest in actually learning Latin and we are hooked.
Date published: 2023-03-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fun but different I have worked through the first four lessons and so far it has been fun. The instructor does a fine job in explaining each lesson. I studied Spanish in college as a minor (over 40 years ago) and it gets a little confusing for me on some words that are the same or similar ("vivo" and "principio" for example) I have to catch myself using the "v" instead of "w" sound or the hard "c" over the softer "c" in the second case. The Spanish background has made it easy for me to identify and remember words due to their similarity. This course is different from when I studied Spanish. In college you would start off with basics such as "Good morning", "how are you", "yes", "no", etc.., basic expressions one would use on a daily basis. This is not the case with this course. One starts off learning that "Caesar wages war". So, you don't start off using words or expressions you would use in normal conversation. This isn't your basic "conversational" language course. This appears to be more aimed at learning the basics of the language in general. I have learned a lot in just these first four lessons and I believe that by the end I will have a good basic knowledge to read some Latin works. I am really enjoying the course.
Date published: 2022-12-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Disappointingly little content per lecture Especially considering the wealth of free (and not free) materials available these days online and elsewhere, I am somewhat disappointed with this course. The professor tries to be humorous, and students may or may not go for this, but too much of the time is spent literally repeating after him, something that can be accomplished by simply hitting replay! I still hope to gain from the Cours,e but would have preferred many more verbs and nouns introduced early on, etc. etc.
Date published: 2022-08-17
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Latin lives! The language of Caesar, Cicero, Virgil, St. Jerome, and countless other great authors is alive and well in the modern world. Learning to read Latin is immensely rewarding, and it is a discipline that trains, enhances, and strengthens critical thinking. Embark on this unrivaled adventure with Latin 101: Learning a Classical Language, 36 lectures by Professor Hans-Friedrich Mueller of Union College in Schenectady that cover the material normally presented in a first-year college course in Latin. By watching these entertaining lectures, practicing the drills, and doing the exercises in the accompanying guidebook, you will gain access to some of the world's greatest thought in its original language.


Hans-Friedrich Mueller

The Latin language offers keys to more than most people can imagine…until they too learn Latin. I have devoted my life to helping others obtain the keys that they need to unlock the intellectual treasures that interest them most.


Union College
Dr. Hans-Friedrich Mueller is the Thomas B. Lamont Professor of Ancient and Modern Literature at Union College in Schenectady, New York. He earned his M.A. in Latin from the University of Florida and his Ph.D. in Classical Philology from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before coming to Union College, he taught at The Florida State University and the University of Florida. Professor Mueller won the American Philological Association's Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Classics at the College Level, as well as two awards for excellence in teaching at The Florida State University. At the University of Florida, he developed a graduate distance-learning program in classics for high school teachers. In addition to writing numerous articles, Professor Mueller is the author of Roman Religion in Valerius Maximus, the editor of an abridged edition of Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and the translator of Andreas Mehl's Roman Historiography: An Introduction to Its Basic Aspects and Development. He is also the author of Caesar: Selections from his Commentarii De Bello Gallico and coauthor of Caesar: A LEGAMUS Transitional Reader.

By This Professor

Greek 101: Learning an Ancient Language
Latin 101: Learning a Classical Language
The Pagan World: Ancient Religions before Christianity
Latin 101: Learning a Classical Language


Pronouncing Classical Latin

01: Pronouncing Classical Latin

Salvete! Greetings! Ease into your study of Latin by admiring its beauty and impressive history. Then focus on the letters and sounds of the restored classical pronunciation, which approximates the way Latin was spoken in the classical era. Finally, cover the rules of accents.

33 min
Introduction to Third-Conjugation Verbs

02: Introduction to Third-Conjugation Verbs

Begin your adventure in Latin verbs with the third conjugation, practicing the present tense indicative of ago (I do). Learn the four principal parts of ago-the key words that allow you to conjugate any form-as well as the imperative endings that permit you to issue commands.

29 min
Introduction to the Subjunctive Mood

03: Introduction to the Subjunctive Mood

See how the long vowel "a" is the key to the present subjunctive mood in verbs such as pono (I place). The subjunctive expresses doubt or potential, and you explore its use by the poet Catullus in one of the most famous love poems to survive from the ancient world.

32 min
The Irregular Verbs Sum and Possum

04: The Irregular Verbs Sum and Possum

Learn two important irregular verbs, sum (I am) and possum (I am able), mastering their present tense indicative, imperative, infinitive, and subjunctive forms. Notice how the tiniest linguistic details can be powerful markers, giving rise to Latin's great economy of expression.

30 min
Introduction to Third-Declension Nouns

05: Introduction to Third-Declension Nouns

Having conjugated verbs, now learn to decline nouns. In this lecture, investigate the largest class of nouns, called third declension. Discover the function of the five cases and how to identify the noun stem. Then practice with masculine and feminine nouns.

29 min
Third-Declension Neuter Nouns

06: Third-Declension Neuter Nouns

After a review of verb and noun endings covered so far, focus on third- declension neuter nouns, specifically the word corpus (body). Note the distinctive features of the neuter declension, then practice these endings. Close by exploring several celebrated Latin expressions that feature corpus.

31 min
First- and Second-Declension Adjectives

07: First- and Second-Declension Adjectives

Adjectives must agree in number, case, and gender with the nouns they modify. Review a chart of the endings for first- and second-declension adjectives. Then practice matching adjectives with nouns in examples such as nox perpetua (everlasting night) and basium fervidum (fiery kiss).

32 min
First- and Second-Declension Nouns

08: First- and Second-Declension Nouns

Study first- and second-declension nouns, discovering that they have the same endings as first- and second-declension adjectives-with some peculiarities. Close the lecture by translating your first complex sentence in Latin, which involves a shocking incident in Rome's Temple of Vesta.

32 min
Introduction to the Passive Voice

09: Introduction to the Passive Voice

See how the magic of personal endings makes the passive voice in Latin elegantly simple-unlike awkward passive constructions in English. After practicing the present tense passive indicative of the third conjugation, translate passages from the Roman authors Cicero and Virgil.

32 min
Third -io and Fourth-Conjugation Verbs

10: Third -io and Fourth-Conjugation Verbs

Investigate two classes of verbs similar to pono: the third-io and fourth conjugations. Learn the forms in the present tense active indicative. Then discover that you can understand the commands in the original Latin of the famous Christmas carol "O Come All Ye Faithful!"

29 min
First- and Second-Conjugation Verbs

11: First- and Second-Conjugation Verbs

Your knowledge of the third, third-io, and fourth conjugations paves the way for mastery of the remaining two patterns, the first and second conjugations, which are more regular than those already covered. Practice all five conjugations, and continue your translation of "O Come All Ye Faithful!"

28 min
Reading a Famous Latin Love Poem

12: Reading a Famous Latin Love Poem

Reap the rewards of your labors by reading and appreciating one of the most beautiful poems in Latin, which declares the poet Catullus's love for Clodia, whom he calls Lesbia to hide her identity. In the poem, encounter many of the grammatical forms you have studied so far.

28 min
The Present Passive of All Conjugations

13: The Present Passive of All Conjugations

You have learned present passive forms in the third conjugation. Now cover the present passive endings in the first, second, third-io, and fourth conjugations. Close by deciphering a passage from the book of Genesis in St. Jerome's Latin translation, and analyze a pagan prayer to the emperor Tiberius.

32 min
Third-Declension Adjectives

14: Third-Declension Adjectives

Dictionary entries for third-declension adjectives can be disconcertingly terse. Learn that these adjectives are actually easier to decline than first- and second-declension adjectives that you have already learned. Apply your new knowledge by declining Catullus's phrase brevis lux (brief light) encountered in Lecture 12.

31 min
Third-Declension I-Stem Nouns

15: Third-Declension I-Stem Nouns

Explore a subset of third-declension nouns that has the letter "i" in certain forms. Called i-stems, these endings closely resemble those for third-declension adjectives. Expand your grasp of Latin morphology and syntax by reading passages from Cato the Elder, an arch-traditionalist of Roman values.

30 min
The Relative Pronoun

16: The Relative Pronoun

Pronouns that introduce a relative clause are called relative pronouns. Investigate these valuable words, which unlock the doors to Latin prose and are unusually enjoyable to chant aloud. Experience relative pronouns in action by translating two extracts from Sallust's The Conspiracy of Catiline.

30 min
The Imperfect and Future Tenses

17: The Imperfect and Future Tenses

Having mastered the most challenging tense of all in Latin, the present tense, learn the future and imperfect tenses, which are governed by simpler rules. Practice the active and passive forms in all four conjugations. Also encounter the imperfect subjunctive.

29 min
Building Translation Skills

18: Building Translation Skills

Apply your skills with the future and imperfect tenses to Latin texts. First, behold a lover's quarrel in a poem by Catullus. Then, scrutinize a disingenuous claim by Julius Caesar. Next, read a brief passage from the Magna Carta, and close with two pithy sayings by Dionysius Cato.

30 min
Using the Subjunctive Mood

19: Using the Subjunctive Mood

St. Jerome's Latin translation of the Bible is an excellent text for beginning Latin students. Grasp the wisdom of Solomon by analyzing four verses from chapter 1 of the book of Proverbs. Your knowledge of Latin forms will enrich your understanding of these ancient sayings.

29 min
Demonstrative Adjectives and Pronouns

20: Demonstrative Adjectives and Pronouns

Study the three most basic demonstrative adjectives in Latin, and see how they can be used as pronouns. Then look at similar words that decline the same way. Close with a passage from Cicero that showcases the dramatic use of demonstrative adjective to indict a corrupt politician.

29 min
The Perfect Tense Active System

21: The Perfect Tense Active System

Tackle three new tenses: the perfect, pluperfect, and future perfect in the active voice. The perfect tense denotes completed action, contrasting with the uncompleted action of the imperfect, which you studied in Lecture 17. Finish by conjugating duco (I lead) for all of the active tenses learned so far.

33 min
Forming and Using Participles

22: Forming and Using Participles

Participles usefully combine characteristics of both verbs and adjectives. Learn the rules for forming Latin participles, and investigate some of their many applications. Close by translating the Latin from the Great Seal of the United States, which includes the perfect passive participle coeptus (having been begun).

31 min
Using the Infinitive

23: Using the Infinitive

Enhance your knowledge of infinitives by learning perfect active and passive infinitives, as well as future active and passive infinitives. Then see how these forms are used for indirect discourse, which involves a crucial exception to the rule that subjects are always in the nominative case.

28 min
Reading a Passage from Caesar

24: Reading a Passage from Caesar

With judicious help, you are now ready to read significant extracts of authentic Latin prose. Work through three sentences from Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic War. This exciting narrative is written in a direct, eloquent style that has enthralled readers for 2,000 years.

31 min
The Perfect Tense Passive System

25: The Perfect Tense Passive System

Complete all the tenses of the Latin verb by learning the perfect passive, which uses a form of the verb sum together with the past participle. Close with an example of this construction in an ancient historian's description of Caesar's notorious death.

31 min
Deponent Verbs

26: Deponent Verbs

The phrase non sequitur (it does not follow) has a verb with a passive ending but an active meaning. Such verbs whose active forms are identical to the passive forms of regular verbs are called deponents. Learn to conjugate this intriguing class of verbs.

31 min
Conditional Sentences

27: Conditional Sentences

Expand your appreciation for Latin syntax and the subjunctive by learning to express conditions using if-then clauses. Discover that Latin can convey more subtle shades of meaning in conditional sentences than English. See how Cicero put this grammatical tool to use in confronting the conspirator Catiline.

30 min
Cum Clauses and Stipulations

28: Cum Clauses and Stipulations

Study other uses of the subjunctive, particularly provisos and temporal clauses, exemplified by Emperor Caligula's famous reply when told that he was hated: Oderint, dum metuant (Let them hate, provided they fear). End by analyzing a passage that shows the extreme piety of the Roman people.

32 min
Reading Excerpts from Roman Law

29: Reading Excerpts from Roman Law

Probe examples of Roman legislation in the original Latin, starting with a provision for the sale of sons by fathers from the Twelve Tables, the most ancient codification of Roman law. Examine marriage and divorce law, and a peculiar tradition forbidding the exchange of gifts between a husband and wife.

29 min
Interrogative Adjectives and Pronouns

30: Interrogative Adjectives and Pronouns

How do you ask a question in Latin? After covering the three particles used to introduce a question, focus on interrogative adjectives and pronouns and their corresponding correlatives. Compare direct and indirect questions. Then explore relevant examples from Latin authors, including Catullus and Cicero.

32 min
Fourth- and Fifth-Declension Nouns

31: Fourth- and Fifth-Declension Nouns

Complete your tour of the Latin noun by mastering the fourth and fifth declensions, which pose no major hurdles after the third declension, introduced in Lecture 5. Practice by translating a passage from a Latin requiem mass, which opens, dies irae (day of wrath).

31 min
Gerunds and Gerundives

32: Gerunds and Gerundives

Focus on the fourth principal part, which is the gateway to a verbal noun called the supine, used to denote purpose, as in mirabile dictu (marvelous to tell). Then investigate another verbal noun called the gerund, compare it to the gerundive, a verbal adjective, and learn the subtleties of translating them into English.

30 min
Counting in Latin

33: Counting in Latin

Now that you have been introduced to the supine, explore the irregular verb eo (I go). The passive infinitive, iri, combines with the supine to create the future passive infinitive-for example, amatum iri (to be going to be loved). Then learn to count in Latin with both ordinal and cardinal numbers.

31 min
More on Irregular Verbs

34: More on Irregular Verbs

Look at other irregular verbs, discovering that most display the greatest irregularity in the present tense system, especially the present tense indicative. Discover strategies for streamlining your study of Latin forms, and close by translating passages from Plautus, Martial, and Livy.

32 min
Comparison of Adjectives and Adverbs

35: Comparison of Adjectives and Adverbs

Investigate the patterns that govern comparisons of adjectives and adverbs. Then try an example of authentic Latin text that speaks directly across two millennia: a heartfelt inscription on a Roman tombstone. Although in colloquial Latin, it is just as dense with meaning as the literary passages you have already read.

30 min
Next Steps in Reading Latin

36: Next Steps in Reading Latin

Finish analyzing the funerary inscription from the previous lecture, discovering that you have the tools to understand a complex message that even features a mystery! Then complete the course with recommendations for your further studies in this enduring and elegant language. Valete! Be well!

33 min