A First Latin Reader/Preface

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Fairytale left blue.png Title Page 1. Christopher Columber Fairytale right blue.png

With the Primer previously published, this Reader provides for a course of study leading up to Caesar or some other author of like difficulty. Students who are to give five years or more to preparatory Latin would normally devote a year each to the Primer and the Reader; but the maturer pupils in the four-year course will cover easily in their first year the work outlined in both books.

It is hoped too, that, aside from use in this regular sequence, the Reader will be found to meet the needs of many teachers who are looking for a carefully graded text for supplementary reading or for translation at sight.

The plan for “beginning Latin” embodied in Primer and Reader differs from others most fundamentally, perhaps, in that it concentrates so definitely upon the problem of developing the student's power to read Latin; and it is quite in harmony with that general design that this second book is called a “Reader,” and that in it the Latin-English exercises are massed at one point, with notes at the foot of the page.

Teachers using the Reader can best cooperate toward realizing the writer's aim if each recitation period is divided definitely into two parts, the first to be devoted, without distraction, to the business of learning to read, the other being reserved for grammatical drill and for composition work, oral or written. In this way, without loss in any essential particular, it will be found possible to bring the student along, by natural stages, to the point where he will

attack a simple passage from Caesar or Nepos, not as a Chinese puzzle by laborious effort to be tortured into something remotely resembling sense, but as a story from the reading of which some pleasure and profit is to be derived.

For the development of a system of Latin-English exercises so graded as to serve the purpose for which the Reader is made, of course no Latin author was available; and the text, therefore, is necessarily for the most part original. With the idea of stimulating interest, and to bring into play the necessary vocabulary and syntax while yet meeting halfway the many who do “not care for (foreign) war,” the first hundred lessons have been made to deal almost entirely with matters of American history, the initial series (1—45) summing up briefly and chronologically the main events of the years 1492—1783, and the second group (46—100) comprising short anecdotes assembled without regard for chronological sequence. Next follow two narratives from Caesar simplified (101—125), and the concluding series (126—140) is made up of selections from the original text of Caesar, Nepos, Suetonius, Sallust, and Cicero. This final group, of course, is not a part of the gradatim plan, but was added that the student might have the satisfaction of reading some “real Latin.” The passage from Suetonius (131), chiefly because of its large vocabulary, will probably be found too difficult for most pupils; if so, the intrinsic interest of the passage may make it seem worth the teacher’s while to undertake a translation for the class.

With a view to discouraging the habit of constant recourse to the general vocabulary, a series of lesson preparations has been provided in the form of a word list showing the important new words in each successive exercise: moreover, with the exception of proper names and

numerals, all words which are used in but a single lesson are defined in the footnotes on that exercise. For teachers who are using the Reader as a text for sight reading, the cross references of the notes may prove helpful as providing a means of locating familiar material with which to elucidate the lesson of the day.

In preparing the Latin text, I have derived some help from the handbooks in common use, but my main reliance has been Merguet’s “Lexikon zu den Schriften Cäsars.” I would also acknowledge gratefully the generous help of my colleague, Dr. M. E. Deutsch, who has read a large part of the text and given me the benefit of several valuable suggestions.

       H. C. N.

Berkeley, California.