Familia Romana – a Roman Family
Part I, Familia Romana, covers the essentials of Latin grammar and a basic vocabulary of some 1500 words. The 35 chapters form a sequence of events in the life of a Roman family in the 2nd century ad.
Each chapter is divided into 3 or 4 lessons (lectiones) and consists of several text pages followed by a grammar section, Grammatica Latina, and three exercises, Pensa. At the end of the book there is a survey of inflections, a Roman calendar, and a word index, Index vocabulorum.
Roma Aeterna – The Eternal City
In Part II, Roma Aeterna, the subject is Roman history. A description of the city of Rome is followed by a prose version of Vergil’s Aeneid I-IV, with some important passages in the original, and Livy’s Book I supplemented with extracts from Ovid. At first Livy’s prose is gently adapted, but the main part of the book contains unadapted texts by Livy, Aulus Gellius, Nepos, Sallust, Cicero, and Horace.
An entertaining narrative
Lingva Latina provides a Latin text that students can read and understand immediately without any need for translation. In this text every sentence is intelligible per se because the meaning or function of all new words and forms is made clear by the context or by illustrations or marginal notes. This demands a carefully graded text, but to promote learning the content must stimulate interest and make it easy for the reader to visualize the scenes described. To meet these demands the chapters of Part I form an eventful and entertaining narrative, which captivates students so that they look forward to reading the continuation of the story. The reading of this Latin ‘novel’ also serves as an introduction to the life and culture of ancient Rome.
This direct method, based on understanding from the context, has proved efficient both for self-tuition and class teaching. An important factor is the satisfaction experienced by students when they discover that they can actually read and understand Latin immediately without parsing each sentence. Such direct understanding gives the students self-confidence and develops their faculties of observation and reasoning, faculties that will be greatly needed as the sentences grow more complex. Reading in this way, they move on step by step towards the ultimate object of Latin teaching: the reading of Latin literature in Latin with real understanding and appreciation.