The Art of Latin

The 12th and 13th centuries have been hailed as the Aetas Ovidiana for the great extent to which Ovid in uenced the literature and art. e 8th and 9th centuries have similarly been dubbed the Aetas Vergiliana for the great in uence of Virgil. Even today, a student of literature who knows their stories should be able to interpret any Renaissance artwork that captures his or her gaze. is session will look at several masterpieces as object lessons in the art of Latin. Such lessons integrate the study of Latin literature with art history, enhancing students’ overall understanding and appreciation. Such studies equip our students – and ourselves – to grow as lifelong learners and lovers of both art and Latin.

Karen Moore

Karen has led both teaching and administrative roles at Grace Academy of Georgetown, a classical Christian school in central Texas, where she has built the 3rd- through 12th-grade classical language program. She has nearly 20 years of experience teaching Latin, Greek and ancient humanities in classical Christian schools. Karen also sponsors the school's award-winning chapter of the Junior Classical League. She is the author of Latin Alive Reader: Latin Literature from Cicero to Newton, multiple Latin texts and the Essential Latin course for teachers on ClassicalU. Karen blogs at www.latinaliveonline. com. She and her husband, Bryan, are the proud parents of graduates of Grace Academy and one high school junior.

Teaching Latin That Good, Old Way, But In The 21st Century

It may seem impractical to spend valuable class time learning to write or speak in a dead language. As almost everyone capable of using Latin is now dead, even those who see the value of learning the language usually only see the value of learning to read it. But composing Latin, whether aloud or on paper, has been proven for centuries to be an excellent way for students to learn to read it better. is workshop will demonstrate how teachers can teach Latin the old and proven way – through composition and oral composition – while using powerful tools from the 21st century.

Tim Griffith

Tim is a Fellow of Classical Languages at New Saint Andrews College, where he oversees the Latin program, directs the national Phaedrus Latin Composition Contest, and translates 16th-century Latin theological texts for Wenden House. He has dedicated the last 15 years to Latin pedagogy, drawing heavily on the work of the great Latin educators of history such as Erasmus, Comenius, W.H.D. Rouse and Hans Ørberg. He is also the founder of Picta Dicta, an online learning platform specifically designed to assist parents and teachers with the kind of difficult subjects studied in classical Christian education.

What Does It Mean To Teach Latin, Greek and Spanish Classically?

In classical schools, Latin is a given. However, this assumption of Latin has been a double-edged sword. While it has ensured the revival of Latin teaching, we have not had to ght for or justify teaching Latin like we have had to do with Euclid, the Great Books or the progymnasmata. With these, we had to show that the modern tools are inadequate and that classical tools are better suited to our purpose. e ght for Latin has been di erent, and it has le us ill-suited to address the question of what it means to teach a language classically. is seminar will o er a defense of modern foreign languages in our school curriculum.

Aaron Fudge

Aaron serves as the Dean of the Logic School, the Chair of the Language Department and as a member of the upper school faculty at Trinity Classical Academy in Valencia, California. He has been a part of the Trinity faculty since 2013 and has taught 7th-grade Latin, 8th-grade Bible, 8th-grade history and honors Greek. Before coming to Trinity, he taught ESL for four years and served as both a youth and college pastor. He and his wife, Elisabeth, have three children, and all ve can be found on Trinity’s campus daily. He holds a bachelor's degee in biblical studies from Biola University, a master of divinity degree with focus on exegetical studies from Multnomah Seminary, and a graduate certi cate in classical Christian studies from New Saint Andrews College.

A Crash Course in Latin

Latin is an intimidating subject to teach! Pronunciation, declensions, conjugations — it is enough to make your brain hurt. In this presentation, attendees will learn the basics of Latin so they can feel con dent to teach their students introductory Latin in the upcoming year.

Paul Schaeffer

Paul Schaeffer is the Director of the School Division of Memoria Press. In that position, he has helped in numerous start-up schools. He is one of the few professionals working in classical education who received such an education himself. He has taught middle school, high school and college-level Latin internationally. In Louisville, Kentucky, he led students through Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, as well as many other great works at Highlands Latin School. He is a regular contributor to The Classical Teacher magazine.

Introducing Spoken Latin: A How-To for Beginners

This seminar will develop the theory and practice of introducing spoken Latin into the classroom. If you’ve ever wondered about the benefits of spoken Latin, your ability to implement it as a beginner or whether it will compromise the core content of your current course, then this session is for you. These questions will be addressed and the leaders’ own successes and failures will be shared, too. They’ll share spoken Latin resources, opportunities for training and highlights about how spoken Latin has made their classrooms more fun, multisensory, adaptive, challenging and rewarding. The seminar will conclude with a Q&A, with special emphasis on exploring other schools’ attempts at similar endeavors.

Marcus Foster

Marcus Foster graduated from Baylor University with a bachelor’s degree in classics in 2000. He worked with youth in Berlin, Germany, for five years, part of which was also spent studying theology at Humboldt Universität. He completed a master’s degree in classics and theology from the University in Dallas in 2011. Heavily invested in languages, Marcus aims to stir a love for language and literature in his students at Covenant Classical School in Fort Worth, Texas, where he teaches Latin and chairs the languages department. He and his wife, Julie, have been married for 15 years and have been blessed with three beautiful daughters and one strapping son.

Stephen Bryan

Stephen graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history from Bryan College in 2012. He continued his education at Wheaton College, where he received a master’s degree in 2014 in the history of Christianity with a concentration in the Early Church. During his time at Wheaton, Stephen began studying Latin and quickly fell in love with the language and the world of classical Christian education. When he isn’t passing on his love of languages and history to his students at Covenant Classical School in Fort Worth, Texas, Stephen likes to spend his free time playing guitar, reading classic literature and pretending to be a coffee connoisseur.

Cross-Curricular Integration in the Lower School Latin Classroom

This workshop will present specific strategies on integrating Latin into every core content area of a Lower-School classical Christian curriculum. Demonstrating for students the relevance of Latin instruction on History, Science, Math, Literature, ELA, Bible, Art, Music, P.E., etc., will help strengthen not only students’ mastery of Latin, but also their performance across the curricular spectrum. The workshop will address designing a cross-curricular Latin program, creating interdisciplinary unit plans, and collaborating with classroom teachers to maximize the impact on students’ performance. The last part of the workshop will be an open discussion of attendees’ ideas and concerns about how to create and implement such a program at their schools.

Shannon Walker

I have been teaching Latin to students in the elementary grades for 12 years. I am a tireless advocate for the classical Christian model of education. I am also extremely passionate about Latin education in the elementary grades. I know that peer-reviewed research demonstrates the cross-curricular benefits that younger students receive from the study of Latin. I believe that the study of Latin is relevant to every area of a student’s education. I have seen firsthand the bene ts that my students have received. It has been such a pleasure to watch these students as they mature into high school and college—and to see that their study of Latin is still benefiting them.

Stewarding Lateral Entries into Languages: Successes and Failures in Growth and Assimilation

This seminar will relate the success (and failures) of expanding the language program at Covenant Classical School (Fort Worth) over the past years. From adding Greek, to doubling class sizes and sections, to widening the capabilities of student support, this department
has seen more lateral entries nearly every year. Challenges abound, such as dealing with dyslexia and dysgraphia, adopting accommodations for student support plans, managing mid-term entries, re-thinking scope and sequence to make more entries possible, providing opportunities for remediation, not to mention how to assimilate students with little or no language exposure into the middle and latter years of a 10-year scope and sequence in a classical language. While much of the source material will stem from a program that offers Latin and Greek, the content will be applicable to other languages. The seminar will conclude with Q & A especially aimed at exploring other schools’ attempts at similar endeavors.

Marcus Foster

Marcus graduated from Baylor University with a BA in Classics in 2000. He worked with youth in Berlin for ve years, part of which was also spent studying theology at Humboldt Universität. He completed an MHum in Classics/Theology from the University in Dallas in 2011. Heavily invested in languages, Marcus aims to stir a love for language and literature in his students at Covenant Classical School (Fort Worth), teaching Latin and chairing the Languages department. He and his wife, Julie, have been married for 15 years, blessed with three beautiful daughters and one strapping son.

Latin Leaning in the Age of Amnesia

Although many classical educators readily acknowledge the importance of the verbal and mathematical arts, there is often less con dence about the importance of studying Latin. Is Latin really essential to a Christian education in today’s cultural context? One dif culty with most arguments for the study of Latin is that they present it as a means to something that can also typically be achieved by other means—whether an improved vocabulary, cultural literacy, a better SAT score, or an improved ability to learn modern languages. Are there any bene ts that come only through knowing Latin? I suggest that there are; however, those bene ts are hidden from us because we typically suffer from an amputated imagination. Only by addressing this failure of imagination can we begin to understand why Latin is crucial for a Christian education that aims to prepare students for wise action in the so-called “age of information.” This presentation rst explains how the study of ancient (rather than modern) languages is uniquely suited for Christian education based on the verbal arts. We shall then consider how Latin is unique among ancient languages in that it equips students to practice intellectual leadership in any area of modern human inquiry. These practical bene ts are not obvious to us, I suggest, because we inhabit the “age of amnesia,” which systematically obscures from us the relevance of the past in almost every aspect of our daily lives.

Phillip Donnelly

Dr. Phillip J. Donnelly is Associate Professor of Literature in the Honors College at Baylor University, where he serves as Director of the Great Texts Program. His research focuses on the historical intersections between philosophy, theology, and imaginative literature, with particular a ention to Renaissance literature and the reception of classical educational traditions. The topics of his published work range from St. Augustine and post-modern critical theory to the Renaissance poetry of George Herbert and John Milton. This presentation is part of a larger book project on the verbal arts.

Quo Properamus? How to Use Active Latin in the Classroom

This seminar provides Latin teachers at the primary and secondary levels with simple and tested strategies for developing active Latin use in their classrooms. Using the theory of Comprehensible Input as presented by Stephen Krashen, we will examine ways for incorporating ever-increasing amounts of spoken Latin for the benefit of students.

David Noe

Why Latin? Learn it for the Hypallage!

For several years now, Latin has been making a steady and decided comeback. Not just classical schools, but private schools of various stripe as well as some suburban public schools, inner-city schools, and everything in between have Latin again as an option – sometimes even a popular one – in the curriculum. This semester at my college I am teaching “Latin 101: Beginning Latin” to an eager group of twenty-four students, none of whom are using the course to meet a language requirement; they simply want to learn Latin. The last time introductory Latin was offered here was nearly thirty years ago, when it died due to simple lack of interest. A few years ago several students circulated a petition asking for signatures from students “who would take beginning Latin even if it did not fulfill a language requirement”; they quickly amassed more than sixty signatures. Latin success stories from struggling inner- city schools to prestigious private academies are common enough, and, of course, the classical school movement essentially has made the study of Latin for its students a sine qua non.

Well-worn responses to the old “Why study a dead language?” have returned with vigor. We all know the pragmatic answers which once tried, in vain, to prop up dying Latin in school curricula of the 1960’s and 1970’s – Latin teaches logical thinking; Latin builds English vocabulary; Latin will raise your standardized test scores (thereby helping you get into top colleges, professional programs, graduate schools). In some classical circles, these answers likely mask another necessity-driven, usually unspoken, one – Smart young hires at small private schools can usually teach themselves enough Latin in order to teach elementary students, something they could not do for modern spoken languages like French or German. Many of us could probably give plenty of examples of the latter, even if the reality of it does not thrill us. I have, many times, taught upper-level “Reading Latin” to college students who could boast four or more years of middle or high school Latin (partly from teachers who more or less taught themselves Latin) yet who have not even encountered the Subjunctive Mood.

It is not easy to deny the validity of any of the above answers, even if the idealist in many of us probably balks
at the crass pragmatism at play. School administrators, teachers, and board members, no doubt, know they have to give the above answers (minus, of course, the final one) to inquiring parents. Such a message, in some circles, unfortunately tends to get absolutized. Once again, some administrators are heard arguing that Latin (and/ or sometimes Koiné Greek) is essential to learning logical thinking skills. There is rich irony at play whenever parents (who have never studied Latin) parrot this claim which they have heard from teachers and administrators (many of whom have never studied Latin either). To be quite frank, there are many very effective and efficient ways to learn logical thinking skills, to build vocabulary, and to soar on standardized tests without a single day of studying Latin. To suggest otherwise borders on the naïve, on the one hand, and the dishonest, on the other.

So, without muddying the waters by arguing that Latin should be required for all students, let me suggest some reasons why I love Latin (and Greek), and why the study of dead ancient inflected languages is an excellent pedagogical option. In doing so, I will try to avoid the Scylla of elitism and the Charybdis of populism. The former, which I see in some students coming from classical school backgrounds, is rarely backed up by substance (see note on the Subjunctive Mood above, for one of many examples). The latter, the essence of Americanism, ignores the fact that truly learning Latin takes sustained thought, hard work, and dedication, and most are not going there, even given the most energetic of teachers and supportive of parents.

First, the study of Latin exposes one to a truly foreign culture, a beautiful world outside of our own. In this respect, Latin does something that teaching modern languages generally does not. Learning any language is never just about grammar and vocabulary, but rather about getting access to a different world. While I refuse to pit learning Latin against learning French, and remain a firm believer in students learning modern languages, I would argue that there is a fundamental difference between the two in terms of foreign exposure. Modern languages, in spite of the occasional and very welcome exceptions (bless them!), are taught primarily in a touristic and consumeristic way. High school modern language classes are ultimately geared toward preparing you to check into a hotel, to rent a car, to order a meal, to buy a trinket. The point is to bring their world to me in a way I can negotiate it, touch it, enjoy it, take it home. The point is not to truly enter a foreign culture. There are exceptions, but the pattern remains, and implicitly or explicitly serves as a justification for requiring modern foreign languages in schools.

In our modern globalized world, moreover, even those who truly immerse themselves in a contemporary foreign culture begin to see how foreign it is not. Discussions about western pop stars, western “restaurants” (is McDonald’s a restaurant?), western politics, western television shows, western movie stars, western sports figures, etc. tend to dominate. By contrast, note what happens when even a beginning Latin student encounters a line from Vergil, Livy, Cicero, Ovid, or Seneca. No longer is the student thinking about how to order a sandwich or how to find the train station (as important as these are), or talk about One Direction or American Idol (as important as these aren’t), but rather he is pondering a question about natural law, the nature of friendship, or the role of the divine. To the extent that some of this is not explicitly foreign, it at least remains timeless. Emphasis on Rome as part of something we call Western Civilization can blind us to how truly different those people were from us in worldview. Even a brief study of Roman religion or cosmology would show the gulf between us and them. Through the study of Latin we can encounter a glimpse of the beauty and sheer variety of human creativity across time and space – and the Roman world is a truly foreign place.

Second, the study of Latin can teach us about grammar in a way that spoken language does not necessarily do. This argument has a long history, but we should not forget it. With spoken languages, most of us learn by imitation, by hearing. Is it, “If I were you, I would be glad to study Latin” or “If I was you, I would be glad to study Latin”? Our first impulse is to hear which one sounds correct (admittedly, a poor method if our community / family / peer group does not take grammar seriously). With Latin, understanding Tense (e.g. Present, Imperfect, Future, Perfect, Pluperfect, Future Perfect), Mood (e.g. Indicative, Subjunctive, Imperative), Case Usage (Direct Object, Indirect Object, Subject, Means, Manner, etc.) comes from learning how the grammar works. No one who has ever taught Latin (or Greek) at any level has not frequently heard “this really helps me understand English grammar a whole lot better.”

To be sure, all languages, ancient and modern, have a rigorous grammatical logic. Learning Latin, though, is rarely if ever about learning by hearing and imitating, but necessarily about understanding the grammar intrinsically and extrinsically.
that they use the logic of Latin every day to think about relationships between words, about syntax, about grammar. All of this comes in addition to learning vocabulary terms (which might or might not help one on the SAT). Additionally, grammarians and philologists have long noted that languages tend to devolve over time in terms of grammatical complexity. The earlier phases of a language (and what are French, Italian, and Spanish but living Latin?) tend to be the most complex, again giving us insight into the rich beauty of human creativity in ways not necessarily observable in current forms of any language.

Finally, Latin expresses itself in ways which are impossible in non-inflected languages such as English. Of course, English does things that Latin (and Greek) cannot (like make an art form of rhyming poetry, for example), but inflected languages show us, again, a beauty and creativity which we cannot ever experience in English or any language readily accessible in American educational systems. To illustrate, I will take an example from an Attic Greek text and then move to a Latin counterpart. Early in my studies of Attic Greek, I was assigned a section from Book Two of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War. The scene was a dark, rainy, night battle in a city. Like many parts of Thucydides, the passage was very difficult, but this one seemed more intractable than any passage I had yet encountered. Word order, of course, in highly inflected languages, is far more flexible than English, which depends closely on the order of words in a sentence (another point to support the argument in the previous paragraph, incidentally). Even with flexibility, though, there are patterns into which Latin and Greek sentences generally fall. One learns where to look for the verb, the subject, the object(s), modifiers, etc. When they are not where one expects, it is for a purpose such as emphasis, and one learns to recognize this. The Thucydides passage, though, was convoluted well beyond my neophyte powers of recognition. Verbs were positioned where I expected nouns; modifiers were far away from words they were modifying; participles flew at me from odd directions. I began to get frustrated, angry, exhausted as I tried to translate the description of this night battle.

Then it hit me – I was being brought into the thick of the battle! Nothing was where I expected it, just as the fighters in the dark, rainy streets did not know who was on what side as they came upon a person in the dark chaos, slipping and falling through the wet streets. Was that a foe or a friend rushing at them? Nothing was where they expected. Such was the beauty of the passage – I could translate the words (eventually), but more than that, I could feel the action. Latin does the same, because it can. Working in a similar way would be Cicero’s famous descriptions of conspirators where he employs word order which illustrates immediate danger, yet allows the reader to picture the conspirators in the hills around Rome, in the city itself, and, ultimately, in the Senate house itself.

Rhetoric, of course, was the basis of higher education in Rome, and Latin (and Greek) formed the essential structure from which to launch their verbal fireworks. While modern education is oriented toward “facts,” education in the ancient world was oriented toward the rhetorical presentation of facts. Originality, for them, was primarily not a matter of thinking up new material,
but rather handling old and well-known material in a rhetorically new and interesting way. All classical literature was thus rhetorical, and relied on picturesque means of conveying a message. The tropes and figures for doing so were more or less canonized by the Romans.

To truly appreciate these tropes and figures, it is necessary to encounter them in the original languages, for much depends on word order and grammatical inflection. I would maintain that this goes well beyond simply “Vergil reads better in Latin just as Camus reads better in French.” Just to give one example, how about Hypallage?4 Vergil’s Aeneid (6.268), Ibant obscure sola sub nocte per umbram (“they set off through the shadows, the dark ones, beneath the lonely night” is but a poor shadow of a translation) represents a brilliant double Hypallage. Or, turning to the Silver Age, Seneca’s Apocolocyntosis (3.4), iam medium curru Phoebus diuiserat orbem / et proprior Nocti fessas quatiebat habenas (“Phoebus in his chariot had already passed mid orbit, and, nearer to Night, was shaking his weary reigns”). No doubt J.R.R. Tolkien’s own classical language training inspired his own Hypallage (The Hobbit, chapter 11): “The others went down the valley and up the newly found path, and so to the narrow ledge. Along this they could carry no bundles or packs, so narrow and breathless was it, with a fall of a hundred and fifty feet beside them on to the sharp rocks below.”

So, why should we study Latin? Certainly it can help teach logical thinking and build vocabulary, and perhaps boost standardized tests scores. But why stop there? In a word, why not extend to our students the offer of encountering a beautiful and creative world otherwise currently beyond their ken. Latin is not for the select few any more than is algebra. Yet neither is it for everyone, just as astrophysics is probably not for everyone. But it remains a window into a lovely foreign world, and we would do well to emphasize this aspect more often. There is nothing elitist about all this. Hard work brings with it rewards, and beautiful ones.