Classics Courses


The benefits of training in the classics are many. The study of Latin and Greek literature in the original affords students the means to appreciate more fully the foundation and development of English and European literature. Similarly, the study of the Latin language is an excellent basis for understanding English and the modern romance languages. Equally important, the intellectual discipline of classical studies is an aim and reward in its own right. The study of Latin and Greek teaches precision and flexibility of mind while fostering the development of regular and thorough study habits. After mastering the basics of grammar, vocabulary and syntax, students learn to translate and interpret important works of literature. Because students develop the skills of close textual analysis with works that have been hotly debated for centuries, they begin to understand both the scholarly value of their own interpretations and how the lenses of different eras affect the way a work is viewed. Completion of level 3 or 2/3 in Latin satisfies the language diploma requirement. The advanced Latin course, Latin Literature (AP), prepares students for the Advanced Placement Latin examination. Advanced courses in Latin authors are equivalent to intermediate level college courses.

Note: A student who enters in Class II and does not qualify to enter at least Level 2 in a language offered at Milton will be placed in a foreign language at the level that is most appropriate for the student’s growth and development and will be expected to take two years of that language (ancient or modern).

Latin 1
This introduction to the Latin language presents the basics of grammar and vocabulary, as well as background in Roman history, culture and mythology. Because students start Latin with different backgrounds in English grammar, we devote considerable time to examining the way English works. In addition, students learn to look for English cognates of the Latin words they study, thus strengthening their vocabulary in both languages. Students are introduced to all five declensions; the six indicative tenses and the infinitives (active and passive) of all conjugations; relative, personal, demonstrative and reflexive pronouns; and the indirect statement comparative system of adjectives and adverbs. Successful completion of this course qualifies students for Latin 2. Highly motivated and proficient students may request permission to enroll in the accelerated course, Latin 2/3.

Latin 2
Following a systematic review of Latin morphology and sentence structure, students in Latin 2 complete their study of forms and syntax while developing reading skills using adapted selections, primarily from Cicero. Starting in the spring, the course provides students with their first opportunity to read, in the native language, words written two millennia ago by authors who have influenced the development of Western literature and history. Some original Latin texts may serve as a starting point for exploring Greco-Roman mythology, culture and important periods of Latin history. This course prepares students to read Latin prose.

Latin 3
A reading course with some grammar and composition, Latin 3 focuses on developing the students’ reading skills. Students build vocabulary by identifying learned roots, prefixes and English derivatives. Prose readings include selections from Caesar’s commentaries and the works of Cicero, which we examine for rhetorical literary style as well as for content and political implications. Excerpts from Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Amores introduce meter and familiarize students with mythological stories. Successful completion of this course qualifies students for Latin 4. Highly motivated and proficient students may request permission to enroll in the Advanced Placement course, Latin Literature.

Latin 2/3 (Accelerated)
This course combines all the grammar and authors studied in Latin 2 and 3. The class meets five times per week and assumes a solid foundation in level 1 Latin. Successful completion of this course qualifies students for Latin 4. Highly motivated and proficient students may request permission to enroll in the Advanced Placement course, Latin Literature. (Enrollment by permission of the department.)

Latin 4: Literature of the Golden Age
Students in this course develop their reading skills as they translate and engage with selections from first century B.C.E. authors. Readings are drawn from Cicero’s speeches and/or letters, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Vergil’s Aeneid and other works of prose and poetry that are representative of the late Republican and Augustan age. These works introduce students to some of the most popular classical myths, to themes of love and the hero, and to the historical context that shaped the works. Students strengthen grammar skills, and increase reading speed and comprehension. They learn to scan dactylic hexameter and elegiac verse. This course introduces students to great works of Latin literature and prepares students for the Advanced Placement course, Latin Literature.

Advanced Classics

Roman Elegy and Lyric, and Roman History are both half courses. Each meets twice per week throughout the year and may be taken independently or concurrently. Roman Philosophical Writings and Selected Readings are semester courses, meeting four times per week for half the year. Students must complete Latin Literature (AP) before enrolling in other advanced Latin courses with the exception of Advanced Classics: Ancient Greek 1, for which a level 4 language is co-requisite. Note: When there is a need, and staffing permits, Roman Philosophical Writings or Selected Readings may be offered as a half course.

Latin Literature (AP)
This reading course focuses on Vergil’s Aeneid and the selections of Caesar’s commentaries on the Gallic War that are included on the Advanced Placement examination. Students consider the major themes of the works within their literary and historical contexts. Designed for highly motivated students, this rigorous course presents elements of Roman history, politics, mythology and the classical literary tradition. Through close textual study, students encounter literary criticism as a tool for understanding classical literature. (Permission of the department required; prepares students for the AP Latin examination.)

Advanced Latin: Roman Elegy and Lyric
(Half Course)
This course focuses on reading and understanding Latin poetry in its literary and historical contexts. Reading works by poets such as Catullus, Horace, Sulpicia and Ovid, students trace the development of meter, diction and poetic motifs. The class also explores how Roman poets adapted the conventions of love poetry to present an image of the Roman state under Augustus that is more personal than Vergil’s vision. Some important topics studied are first person narrative, gender and poetic allusion. (Prerequisite: Latin Literature (AP) or permission of the department.)

Advanced Latin: Roman History
(Half Course)
How did the Romans view their history? How did they want to be remembered? This course provides a look at Roman history through the eyes of some of Rome’s better-known historians. A close reading of selected texts in Latin serves as a basis for examining questions of historiography and prose style. Principal selections are drawn from Livy, Tacitus and Sallust. (Prerequisite: Latin Literature (AP) or permission of the department.)

Advanced Latin:
Roman Philosophical Writings
(Semester 1)
What role did the Roman gods have in shaping the world around us? What does it mean to live “a good life”? In this course, students read selections from Lucretius, Cicero, Horace and Seneca and examine their works for philosophical insight and poetic craft in their historical context. Students are introduced to important Greek influences on Roman philosophy. (Prerequisite: Latin Literature (AP) or permission of the department.)

Advanced Latin: Selected Readings
(Semester 2)
This course permits students to pursue their own interests in Latin and Greek literature at an advanced level. Working together with members of the department, students select authors and texts to read. Past classes have read comedy, satire, oratory and history. (Prerequisite: Latin Literature (AP) and one other Advanced Latin course or permission of the department.)

Advanced Classics: Ancient Greek 1
This course covers basic grammar and readings. Adapted texts serve as a basis for discussions about Greek culture and history. The course leads to Greek 2 or Greek 2A. (Prerequisite: current enrollment in or completion of level 4 of a language at Milton.)

Advanced Classics: Ancient Greek 2
Students complete the study of Greek grammar and then proceed to careful reading of selections from authors such as Xenophon, Plato and Lysias. This course leads to Greek 3.

Advanced Classics: Ancient Greek 2A
(Half Course)
In this course students continue the study of Greek grammar and syntax while reviewing the foundation built in the previous year. Practice in making literal translations supports the learning of grammar and the development of reading skills. This course serves as the first half of Greek 2 and is continued in Greek 2B.

Advanced Classics: Ancient Greek 2B
(Half Course)
This course provides a continuation of Greek 2A, including a complete review of Greek grammar and readings from Xenophon or Lysias. The conclusion of Greek 2, this course offers grammar review and continued historical studies in the context of reading selections from unaltered Greek prose. This course leads to Greek 3.

Advanced Classics: Ancient Greek 3
This course covers selected readings in classical Greek authors including Plato, Xenophon, Euripides, Homer and Herodotus.