Latin Novels

Little known today, some of the earliest novels ever written in modern times, were composed in Latin for an international audience.

Indeed, the history of the modern novel large in large part in the development of the novella as a descendent of the ancient Roman writers, composed in a deliberate attempt to re-invent the ancient format last popularised by the ancient Greeks and Romans.

A large number of these works exist - the readership is now miniscule, and indeed, most of the works and their authors are long forgotten.

For example, John Barclay was once one of the most celebrated authors in England in his generation, but as his output was in Latin, not English, we do not remember him.

His works included:

Argenis (1621) available also in an illustrated edition . This book was effectively the number one best-seller of the entire seventeenth century.

This book was the first well-constructed and popular novel written since the fall of Rome.

Which just goes to show, that a book can be famous for a very long time, and still be utterly forgotten by everyone except for a small group of neo-Latin scholars and historians.

It is available in a modern reprint with a facing English translation.

Satyricon (The first satirical 'Roman a Clef' (a novel in which real people or events appear with invented names.) ever written.)

Other Latin novels are:
Mundus Alter et Idem by Joseph Hall, 1605

Reipublicae Christianopolitanae Descriptio  by Johannes Andreae , 1619

Civitatis Solis by Campanella, 1623

Utopia by Jacobus Bidermann, 1640

Scydromedia by Antonius Legrand 1699

Nicolai Klimii Iter Subterranneum 1741

Nova Solyma by Samuel Gott. This Latin novel was previously ascribed to the poet Milton, and indeed, Google Books, in some editions, has it catalogued with Milton as the author.

Psyche Cretica by Ludovicus Praschius


The Latinum Audio Catalogue

 Streaming Library at , hosted at Patreon.

Adler's Practical Grammar of the Latin Language - The Latinum Institute's complete Latin course, with approx 191 hours of audio and support material. 
Aesop's Fables - presented in audio in English and Latin, read phrase by phrase. The material is also read in Latin only, without the English. 
Bennett - A short introduction to the pronunciation of Latin. 
Bible - Genesis Chapter 1 to 19 read from the Biblia Sacra Castellionis. 
Bible - The Book of Jonah read from the Biblia Sacra Castellionis. 
Bible - The Book of Psalms read in various versions - the Vulgate reading is complete, readings from  the Biblia Sacra Castellionis are in progress, and other translations into Latin by various authors. 
Busching - The Liber Latinus in Usum Puerorum Latinam Linguam Discentium Editus - a self explanatory title, if ever there was one; this is a basic Latin reader. 
Caesar - Cannon's version of De Bello Gallico in simplified Latin. 
Caesar - De Bello Gallico Book One read in English.
Caesar - De Bello Gallico deconstructed and reassembled phrase by phrase, using the same method as used in Adler's textbook, but here applied to a classical text. 
Caesar - All the vocabulary for De Bello Gallico read in Latin and English. 
Caesar - Selections from De Bello Gallico in Latin only. 
Caesar - De Bello Gallico Book One in Latin. 
Casserly - Latin Prosody - never an easy topic for beginners, Casserly's text provides a reasonably accessible introduction to prosody.
Catholic Ritual - The Holy Mass read in Latin and English, and with a repitition in Latin only. 
Catholic Ritual - Litaniae Beatae Virginis Mariae 
Catholic Ritual - Pater Noster
Catullus - Selected poems in Latin
Chickering - A First Latin Reader - stories in simple Latin. 
Coleridge - Pretty Lessons in Verse - amusing poems for learning Latin vocabulary. 
Collar - Via Latina - An intermediate level Latin reader with entertaining stories. 
Comenius - The Vestibulum - a basic introductory reader for learning essential structures and vocabulary - the first book in Comenius' series of Latin textbooks. This text is presented in Latin and English, and in a Latin only revision version. 
Comenius - The Orbis Sensualium Pictus - an illustrated abbreviated encyclopedia of the world, aimed at school children. This text is presented in Latin and English, and in a Latin only revision version. 
Comenius - Der Kleine Lateiner - an abbreviated version of the Orbis Sensualium Pictus. (Latin only) 
Comenius - Rudimenta Grammaticae - a basic Latin Grammar, presented in Latin only. 
Corderius - the Colloquia - scripted schoolroom conversations, aimed at priming a student for school life, and life at the university. Presented in different editions, in Latin and English, and for revision, in Latin only. 
der Millner - Cursus Linguae Latinae - an audio-visual immersion course, presented in Latin only. 
D'Ooge - Latin for Beginners - this textbook, and the Latin reader at the end, is presented as an audio course. 
D'Ooge - Colloquia Latina - basic scripted conversations in Latin. 
Erasmus - Colloquia Nonulla Selecta - Scripted conversations by Erasmus, presented in English and Latin, and Latin only. 
English Grammar – A Productive English Grammar – introducing the basic grammatical terms, for those new at learning languages. 
Eutropius - Historiae Romanae Breviarium - presented in a Latin paraphrase version (Hamilton), with English, and also in a Latin only version, and in a Latin only paraphrase by Stirling. 
Fay - Carolus et Maria - a basic story in easy Latin. 
Fenton – A Child’s First Latin Book – read in English and Latin, and in Latin only. 
Florus – Rerum Romanarum Epitome – Stirling’s Latin paraphrase. 
Greek Studies – please refer to the Greek catalogue. 
Hebrew – Please refer to the Hebrew and Aramaic Studies Catalogue 
Hoole – Pueriles Confabulatiunculae - “Children’s Talke” - a wonderful little book of scripted conversations, presented in Latin and English, with a Latin only read-through. 
Image Vocabulary – the blog created by Latinum for learning Latin vocabulary.
L’Homond – Historiae Sacrae – presented in English and Latin, and Latin only. This text is a summary of Bible stories. 
L’Homond Urbis Romae Viri Inlustres – D’Ooge’s edition of L’Homond’s Latin storybook, giving short biographies of various characters from Roman history. 
Lectures – various talks and lectures from the Latinum Institute. 
Materia Medica -A famous pharmacy textbook read in Latin and English.
Maxey – Cornelia – a Latin storybook. 
Maxey – A New Latin Primer – a very basic storybook for beginners. 
Millner – The Serial and Oral Latin Course 
Mortimer – Latin Without Tears – a very accessible introductory textbook for learning Latin. 
Neo-Latin -Various readings of a variety of topics.
Nepos – Vitae – The lives of famous Romans and Greeks, read in Latin only. 
Nutting – A Latin Storybook for Intermediate Students – on an American theme. 
Pexenfelder – The Apparatus Eruditionis – a Great encyclopaedic work, aimed at giving the Latin student an incredibly detailed vocabulary. Written in rivalry with Comenius, arguably Pexenfelder’s Latin is superior. 
Pied Piper of Hamelin – the Latin version.
Prendergast – Oral Latin Mastery – what it says on the tin, this audio book is popular. It is still in production. It can best be described as weight training for Latinists. 
Puer Romanus – a Latin storybook.
Reed – Julia – A Latin storybook. 
Reynold – A Latin reader – an interesting and unusual Latin storybook. 
Songs – a few songs in Latin. 
Sonnenschein – Ora Maritima – A Latin Storybook.
Sonnenschein – Pro Patria – A Latin storybook
Stanford and Scott – The Junior Latin Reader – a selection of popular stories in Latin. 
Virgil – Book One of the Aeneid in Latin paraphrase and English read phrase by phrase. 


The Robertsonian Method

The Robertsonian Method - an eighteenth century conversational method for learning Latin.

I stumbled on a new Latin textbook I had never seen before, today, on Google Books.
It is called The Robertsonian Method , published in 1845, based on an original work by a Mr Robertson, resident in Paris.
This is a development of the Jacotot Method, and was originally designed for learning French. It was adapted for Latin, while keeping the modern language teaching methodology, by Alexander H. Monteith ; Monteith also authored versions in French, Spanish, German and Italian, and was furthermore the author of an English version of Ahn's Latin and Greek textbooks.
The textbook begins by offering a short passage, which is then analysed in great detail, followed by a natural language question-answer sequence based on the text, in the form of a dialogue.
The method works as follows: The text is given, along with an interlinear translation. A pronunciation guide is provided, but this is of antiquarian interest only, as it provides a detailed pronunciation scheme for the nearly extinct native English pronunciation of Latin, as used in England for centuries until it was superseded by restored classical pronunciation in the mid 1900s.
Following this, the text is provided in two columns, and the student is asked to engage in double translation.

Page five begins the section which would have been highly controversial in 1845 - Latin conversation. A century prior, and this would have not seemed out of place, as until the mid 1700s Latin was still in regular use by lecturers in universities across Europe. The jingoism that accompanied nationalism, and the rise of the nation state had not yet pushed internationalist Latin into the dustbin of history.
Montheith writes " Latin cannot, in the present day, be deemed a colloquial language." He then continues and says, " but an exercise in conversation may nevertheless serve a variety of useful purposes."
What are these purposes? Monteith enumerates them as follows:
  • Impressing words already known upon the memory
  • Vocabulary in context is better learned than from a vocabulary list.
  • Words can be presented in various aspects and combinations, expanding knowledge of construction.
  • It illustrates the use of the language in practice.
Here is an example of the scripted conversation. No translation is provided, as by this stage the student will have encountered all the vocabulary used while studying the short text, upon which these comprehension questions are based.
Question: Quis thesaurum invenit?
Answer: Quidam viatores.
Q. Quot viatores?
A. Tres.
Q. Quid invenerunt?
A. Thesaurum quendam.
and so on, until the full content of the short text that has been learned has been covered in detail.
I think this text makes an excellent adjunt to Adler, and addresses a serious deficiency in Adler, namely the lack on long pieces of continuous prose under analysis.
I have sought to rectify this in my audio course by using Comenius and other authors, however, I think Robertson's methodology is the most closely aligned with Adler's method, and is complementary with it.
I plan to make an audio course from Montheith's textbook, as I think it is a very useful text indeed for a Latin student.

Montieth also gives guidelines for construction - in other words, Latin composition. This is a neglected area in modern Latin courses, which are largely translation only courses. Very few modern Latin courses require the student to write much Latin that is not reverse translation. However, as Montheith points out, if you want to become good at writing Latin, then there is no better teacher than immersing oneself in the classical authors themselves.