Latin 101: Learning a Classical Language

Latin 101: Learning a Classical Language
Course Trailer
Pronouncing Classical Latin
1: 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
2: 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
3: 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
4: 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
5: 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
6: 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
7: 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
8: 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
9: 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
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.

ALMA MATER

The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

INSTITUTION

Union College

About Hans-Friedrich Mueller

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.

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