The Association for Latin Teaching

respice prospice


The Third Year

Puer Romanus.

For the first two terms of this year the work is much the same in kind, though naturally more advanced, than that done in the last term of the second year. The textbook, for example, Puer Romanus, is the same.

  • As a rule pp 4–22 are read in the last term of the second year, pp 23-41 and 42-70 in the first and second term respectively of the third year. The pace naturally increases progressively, but it does not so in the first term of the third year, for the simple reason that the text-book here begins to increase in difficulty. From now onwards it contains a large proportion of classical Latin — both prose and verse -- worked into the original narrative.

Nothing need now be said about this reading, except that all verse is learnt by heart as repetition after first being translated into English.

  • By the end of the second term the repertory of the class is thus fairly extensive. But we will say more about this repetition shortly.

Any prose passages of exceptional difficulty — e.g. the letter from Pliny on p.30 — should also be translated.

What was said under the second year about playful explanations and obiter dicta, will, of course, apply here, except that they will now be rather more relevant to the matter being read, and, perhaps, less childish than previously.

As the boys will by this time have read fairly extensively among the well-known things in English literature, the master will not let slip any appropriate occasion for a comparison. He will, for example, ask if the lines from Ovid on p. 29 of Puer Romanus remind anyone of anything in our own literature. Some boy is likely to quote Shakespeare's sonnet:

Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,

So do our minutes hasten to their end,

Each changing place with that which goes before,

In sequent toil all forwards do contend;

and every opportunity should be taken of encouraging the boys to compare the two literatures.

With these reservations, or additions, the principle of the reading is the same as has governed us so far during the first and second years. Of course, there is now not so much questioning upon the text as there was in previous years. The boys have by this time been well trained, and are not so likely, as previously, to let pass anything which they do not understand. The master can now tell whether they do so almost entirely by the reader's intonation, and the second reason for so much questioning (grammatical practice) no longer exists to such an extent.

Perhaps a few words should be said about the exercises at the end of the book. These are, in accordance with our principle, for all early written work, very easy, and many of them may be run through orally.

Before passing on from Puer Romanus, we append an example of a piece of translation done by an ordinary boy as home-work, at the beginning of his first term in this year. It is a translation of "Nocturna Lemuria" from pp. 22-3 of Puer Romanus.


Returning to the house I asked my father whether there were ghosts with us, "I do not think there are," he answered "for every year I send them all from our house." "Do you send ghosts away, father?" I exclaimed. "Yes to-day," he said, I shall send them out, for it is the 9th of May. As you know the month is called May after our ancestors, and while you are asleep in bed I shall celebrate a certain ghostly rite which are called night festivals, lest any hosts live near us. When I had heard this I begged my mother to let me watch at midnight so that I might see my father perform this sacred mystery. Now therefor, I will tell you what I saw, for my father remembering the old rite got up at midnight and walked about with bare feet.

Literary Appreciation.

A definite attempt is made during this year to provide some training in literary feeling. This is naturally done in connection with the reading of the second Aeneid in the third term. For example, when translation into English is set — as it generally is once every alternate week — the boys are encouraged to attempt to produce in English something of the effect which the lines translated have had on them in Latin. Flamboyance must, of course, be discouraged, for nothing could be more alien to the spirit of Virgil, nor, indeed, is it likely to be of frequent occurrence. But it does crop up from time to time, for it is what the average boy is only too prone to produce when appealed to for a literary style. In translating, the boys are always told to be as literal as they can without sacrificing good English. It is pointed out that the desired effect may often be gained by preserving much of the Latin order of thoughts — by beginning an English sentence with an adverb or an adjective, for example. Schoolboy nonsense is rarely perpetrated by a boy brought up on the direct method, though a very inaccurate and bad translation may be produced, as is shown in the second example which follows.

To show what is meant we quote (a) the best translation, (b) the worst, of the opening lines of Aeneid II. Both pieces are first efforts at translating Virgil. Even (a) is careless, and shows that the master's Latin paraphrase had been inadequate, but it shows some literary feeling, especially in the rendering of

infandum, regina, iubes renovare dolorem.

(a) All were silent and held up their faces attentively. Then father Aeneas began thus from his high couch: "Unspeakable, O Queen, is the anguish you bid me renew, the way in which the Greeks overthrew the Trojan wealth and the ill-fated kingdom, which most miserable things I myself saw, and in which I played a large part. For what soldier telling of Myrmidones or Dolopes or the hard Ulysses could refrain from tears? and already the dewy night is drawing to its close and the sinking stars urge sleep. But if your love is so great as to wish to hear of our misfortunes and briefly of the last struggle of Troy, I will begin, although the mind loathes to remember and recoils from the grief."

(b) Everyone was silent and watched him intently. From the bed Aeneas the father, began thus to the rest.

"Woe! oh! Queen, in this way he recalled grief, the Trojans whose sorrowful land was destroyed by the powerful Greeks, of whom I myself saw misery, in took great part in it."

And still the night, with shadows on the sky, falls, persuading the stars --


The other great help, which the master has at his disposal, towards inculcating some literary feeling, is provided by repetition, both of prose and verse.

  • A selection of suitable passages will be found in Gustatio by R.B. Appleton Russell (1s.9d.)]

It is now that the fruits are reaped of the laborious sowing in the first two years. A lesson per week is set apart far this work, and the master hears boy after boy recite some of the finest things in Latin, such as, in prose, the last chapter of the Agricola of Tacitus or the second chapter of Sallust's Jugurthine War. In speaking of the classics, R. L. Stevenson in his Ebb Tide says : "For it is the destiny of these grave, restrained and classical writers, with whom we make an enforced and often painful acquaintance in our youth, to pass into the blood and become native in the mind, so that a phrase of Virgil speaks, not so much of Mantua and Augustus, as of English places and the student's own irrevocable youth." These words are, of course, fully justified, but little or nothing of it all shows itself during the boy's school-life. And yet the master can help things "to pass into the blood and become native in the mind" by seeing that his class constantly have these great passages recited in their hearing. Once learnt they are not finished with, but are added to a constantly growing and constantly revised repertory. How the master keeps a record of pieces said by individual boys has been already described; but perhaps it should be said that pieces learnt in the second year are still kept going in the fourth, and that monotony in the actual repetition-lesson is avoided by the simple expedient of never allowing two consecutive boys to recite the same piece.

  • One home-work a week is given to the learning (or revision) of repetition. A piece previously learnt can be rubbed up in class by a boy while his fellows are reciting. A good deal of Virgil is of course learnt during the third term. One or two boys generally learn the whole book by heart but the "recognised" repetition is that contained in Gustatio.

With very little encouragement the boys will take a pride in being able to quote anything learnt as repetition which is suggested or recalled by the passage which is being read at the moment. What is meant will be clear from a glance at the two following columns. In the first, is given what was being read aloud, and in the second the answer — often forthcoming from several boys — to the master's question of Num quid simile in memoriam vobis revocat?



Such "cross-references" are, of course, frequent to poems recently learnt, but they are by no means rare to those learnt some time ago. Often a single word will recall a passage in which that word was first encountered, as, for example, the word socordia recalled what Sallust says about those who are given up to bodily pleasures: "ceterum Ingenium, quo nihil aliud neque melius neque amplius in natura mortalium est, incultu atque socordia torpescere sinunt."


A little more must be said about the reading of the second Aeneid in the third term. At first this will be found very difficult, and yet our experience has taught us that it makes the best beginning. Caesar may be ruled out at once, owing to lack of interest for boys when he is read in small pieces; Ovid is an unworthy introduction to Latin literature; and, if we are to begin with Virgil, the second Aeneid is obviously the best book for our purpose. But Virgil is difficult for a first author; he is very "literary," and his style — even such little things as the order of words —presents very great difficulties to a boy who is just tackling his first classical author. The transition from the direct-method textbook (written by a modern) to any classical author is bound to be troublesome in itself, though an effort has been made in Puer Romanus by interweaving much classical Latin into the modern text, to lessen the trouble. The master must therefore exert himself to make the way easier at first. He must not be alarmed at slowness of progress,

  •  At first only about twelve lines are read in a period of three-quarters of an hour, but before the end of the term is reached thirty lines are being read -- in the thorough manner described below - in the same time.

but must carefully explain the ordo Anglicus of words, and paraphrase each sentence. In time the best members of the class will come to take a greater and greater share in the work, but the majority will never do more than offer synonyms for isolated words.

The master who takes the third-year set which we are describing, has procured an old folio copy of Virgil with woodcuts, and has had a small lectern made to hold it. Every lesson begins with a boy coming (in order) out of his place, and reading from this lectern the lines read and explained in the previous lesson. There is a sort of dignity about the occasion ; the boy is unconsciously made to read well, and his uninterrupted flow of words gives a better idea of the rhythm than can possibly be gained when interruptions (explanations) are frequent.

The reading and explanation of the previous lesson is on the lines already described. A "human" touch will be given whenever possible. For example, after saying that si omnis uno ordine habetis Achivos is equivalent to si omnes Graecos putatis esse similes, the master may explain it by a rough classification of his pupils on the board thus:




Then he remarks Marcum et Publium uno ordine habeo.

If the master knows the book well himself — he ought to know it almost by heart — he can easily drill his class into a wonderful knowledge of it. Whenever a peculiarly Virgilian word, phrase, rhythm, syntax, or what not is met for the second time he will ask for a parallel, and upon not getting it will exclaim Abominandi, nihil memoria tenetis, and will be himself always quoting huge screeds to the point. After a month or so of this, the the Virgil lesson can become a delight to the master. Visitors to the classroom are often amazed at the familiarity which the boys show with the text. The reading is punctuated with the calling out of parallels in words, sense, rhythm, or grammatical peculiarity. The procedure is the same as that mentioned when describing the "cross-references " volunteered by the boys in connection with their repetition. We give in the first of the following columns the lines being read, which occasioned the master's request for a parallel, and in the second the parallel supplied by several members of the class. The comparisons are on grammatical points, words, and rhythm.

Such comparisons are of almost daily occurrence, but the above are sufficient to show the sort of thing meant. The book is not merely read, but comment is made upon the poetical use of the dative, sound imitating sense, or the humour of Virgil, etc.

  • In Latin as a rule. But if the master feels that the class would gain at any time by an English explanation of things, he never hesitates to give it with the caution "Anglice" or the like.

This last is, perhaps, the most difficult of the suggested comments, so we will describe how it is made. It will come naturally when the class has reached the lines which describe how the proposed sacrifice of Sinon meets with universal approval from all who had previously feared a similar fate for themselves. Virgil says:

adsensere omnes et, quae sibi quisque timebat

unius in miseri exitium conversa tulere;

and the master, after explaining that tulere = facile tulerunt (the opposite of aegre tulerunt), brings out the humour by expounding somewhat as follows:

Nemo diceret Vergilium facetum esse poetam, sed interdum possumus quasi subridentem eum videre, ut in his versibus.

Primo, cum omnes de sacrificio audivissent, terrore affecti sunt

"gelidusque per ima cucurrit

ossa tremor, cui fata parent, quem poscat Apollo";

sed postquam Calchas dixit oportere Sinonem sacrificare omnes consilium laudaverunt. "Euge," exclamaverunt, "sacrificemus hominem," Nonne facetiae sunt?

Afterwards he will comment again on the humour of the terrified Greeks who seek refuge once more in the wooden horse:

pars ingentem formidine turpi

scandunt rursus equum et nota conduntur in alvo;

or perhaps he will refer to this passage now and make all turn it up in their books.

Distribution of Lessons.

As was stated in the second chapter, two extra lessons, in addition to the daily one, are given to Latin in the third year. The object is that special attention may be given to composition, which now begins to stand out as a definite side of the work. Before we pass on to describe this, let us explain how the eight lessons, in the week, are distributed. Of these, from the very beginning of the term, four are given to reading, two to composition, and one to repetition. This leaves one lesson unaccounted for. At first this is given either to unseen translation or to corrections.

  • After the fashion described under the second-year work.

Practice in "unseens" always does good, but it is generally — at this stage — very discouraging, and, as the term advances, it is often found necessary to give up the period to the reading. The second Aeneid contains just over eight hundred lines, and four periods a week for ten weeks (examinations cut off the rest of the term) are barely sufficient to read it in comfort. So at about half-term the reading lessons are usually increased to five.


The composition of the third year resembles, for the first two terms, that of the last term of the second year. It is confined almost entirely to the reproduction of a story told to the class, varied by an occasional precis of a passage read. What has been said already about the disadvantages of precis work at an early stage still applies, although, of course, in a less degree. Consequently the reproduction of a story is a more usual type of work, at this stage, than is the writing of a precis. The stories told increase in difficulty, and the boys are encouraged to rely more and more upon their own words in writing them out. We append six examples of the writing out of such a story by a good boy who subsequently gained a classical scholarship, and also (7) one version by a boy of average ability who left the school early. The stories are adaptations from Apuleius, and are contained in the volume of Fabulae already referred to.


(1) Olim domi saae cuiusdam cui nomen erat Phamphile manebam namque cognoscere volui quid posset facere saga. Ancilla ad cubiculum dominae suae me perduxit et spectabam per rimam ianuae. Primo omnia vestimenta sua exuit. Deinde parvam cistam aperuit et unguentum extraxit. Tum totum corpus unguento oblevit. Tum quattit membra et plumae crescere incipiunt. Nasus incurvus fiebat, ungues adunci. Saga bubo factus est. Surrexit et e fenestra volavit.

(2) Faciem enormem, nares hiantes, labra pendula habui. Non ovem sed asinum me esse vidi. Cum ancilla me asinum esse vidisset "Me miseram, occisa sum exclamavit" et faciem suam manibus pulsare incepit. "Festinatio mea cistarumque similitudo me deceperunt. Sed simplex est remedium. Oportet te rosas edere, statimque in formam humanam redibis. Primo diluculo remedium tibi dabo. Quamquam formam asini habui sensum humanum retinui. Diu deliberavi nisi ancillam nequissimam calcibus meis deberem necne.

(3)Iuppiter tandem auxilium mihi dedit. Namque dum oppidum quoddam praeterimus hortulum satis amoenum, in quo rosae florebant prospexi. Rosis inhiabam. Statim accessi et non multum aberat quin rosas ederem, cum aliquis specie horribili domo egressus tot verberbus me percussit ut non facere possem quin fugerem.

(4) Sed tandem ad latronum speluncam pervenimus, ubi latrones sarcinis nos levabant et in pratum proximum abegerunt. Postridie ad nundinas me ut venderent duxerunt, ubi praeco quis me emere vellet, rogabat. Cum plures aetatem meam de dentibus computare conabantur cuis manum mordere temptavi. Sed nemo me emere voluit. Tandem emptor quidam, quorum manum vehementer momorderam, utrum mansuetus essem, necne rogabat et me emptum secum domum redegit.

(5) Is qui me emerat servus quidam erat, cui dominus postridie femur pinguissimus cervi misit ut cenam pararet. Hoc negligenter post culinae fores suspensum canis furtim abstulit. Quo damno cognito, domini iram ita timuit ut mortem sibi consciscere constitueret. Sed uxor ei obstitit quominus hoc faceret. "Es-ne tam stultus," inquit, "ut remedium quod fortuna tibi dedit non perspicias. Namque hoc asino interfecto femoreque eius absciso efficere potes ut dominus nesciat utrum femur cervi an asini edat. Servus consilium uxoris laudavit et cultrum accuere incipiebat.

(6) Ego autem carnifice meo haec parante effugere constitui, et vinculo quo deligatus eram abrupto, cursu celerrimo effugi. Cenaculum in quo dominus cenabat tricliniis apponendis irrupi. Tantoque impetu intravi ut mensae everterentur. Convivae perturbabantur et dominus ita irascebatur ut servis imperaret ut me in stabulo sicut in carcere includerent. Servi hoc fecerunt, sed ego nullo dolore affectus eram quia mortem vitavi.


(7) Ego autem, carnifice meo haec parante effugere constitui; vinculo igitur quo deligatus eram abrupto cursu celerrimo effugi. Cenaculum, ubi dominus lectis apponendis cenabat, irrupi tanto impetu ut mensae everterentur, et convivae perturbarentur. Hoc facto, dominus ita irascebatur ut servis quibusdam imperaret ut me in stabulo sicut in carcere includerent, ego, tamen, non multo dolore affectus sum namque mortem vitavi. mortem vitavi.

After the description already given, under the second year, of this type of work, nothing further need now be said. But we append four examples of precis writing. The first two are versions, by different boys, of a well-known nursery tale ; they represent the simple work—of a standard easier than usual—which is occasionally given to encourage ease of writing. The third and fourth are both summaries, by different boys, of portions of Puer Romanus written out from memory without the help of the book, after the passage had been read in class. They are not therefore examples of what is usually meant by precis. The third summarises a section on p. 24, and the fourth, p. 22.

(1) Olim anus quaedam erat quae sex asses habuit. Ad nundinas igitur ivit ut porculum emeret. Porculo empto domum redire proficiscebatur, sed tandem portae occurrit et porculum oravit ut portam transiret porculus noluit. Porculo recusante canem oravit ut porculum morderet sed canis noluit. Cane recusante ferulam oravit ut canem pulsaret ferula qoque noluit. Ferula recusante ignem oravit ut ferulam ureret. Sed ignis noluit, igne recusante aquam oravlt ut ignem extingueret sed etiam aqua nolulit aqua recusante taurum oravit ut aquam biberet sed taurus noluit tauro recusante lanium oravit ut taurum interficeret, lanio recusante funem oravit ut lanium suspenderet, fune recusante murem oravit ut funem roderet sed mure recusante felem oravit ut murem devoraret. Feles dixit se hoc facturam esse si sibi lac dedisset.

Anus igitur vaccae occurrit et oravit ut sibi lac daret. Vacca dixit se hoc facturam esse si sibi aliquantulum faeni dedisset. Deinde anus venit ad homines qui agrum colebant et oravit ut aliquantulum faeni sibi darent. Homines dixerunt se hoc facturos esse si sibi aquam cribro quaesivisset. Anus cribrum accipit argillum muscos que cribro imposuit et aquam quaesit.

Postremo cum faeno ivit et vaccae dedit. Vacca igitur anui lac dedit. Deinde anus lac felem dedit. Feles quoque murem devovere incipiebat, atque mus funem rodere incipiebat, funis lanium interficere incipiebat, taurus aquam bibere incipiebat. Aqua ignem extinguere incipiebat atque ignis ferulam urere incipiebat ferula canem pulsare incipiebat atque canis porculum mordere incipiebat atque porculus super portam saltavit et anus ea nocte domum redivit.


(2) Olim erat anus quaedam quae sex denarios invenit. Ad nundinas igitur ut porculum emeret ivit. Sed in itinere erat porta et sus noluit praeterire. Itaque anus canem rogavit ut porcum morderet sed canis noluit. Cane recusante ferulam oravit ut canem percuteret. Ferula recusante igni imperavit ut ferulam ureret. Igne noluit, aquam igitur ignem extinguere iussit. Aqua recusante taurum obsecravit ut aquam biberet. Tauro recusante lanium oravit ut taurum trucidaret. Lanio recusante funem rogavit ut lanium angeret, fune recusante muri imperavit ut funem roderet. Mure recusante. Felem murem edere iussit. Felis dixit se facturam esse si anus lac quaesivisset. Oravit igitur vaccam ut lac daret sed vacca dixit se facturam esse si anus faenum quaesivisset. Itaque homines qui agrum colebant rogavit ut faenum sibi darent. Et homines dixerunt se facturos esse, si aquam cribro adporavisset. Argillam igitur cribro imponit et aquam quaesivit. Simul, homines sibi dederunt faenum; vacca lac dedit; feles incepit murem mordere; mus funem rodere incepit; Funis incepit lanium angere; lanius taurum trucidare incepit; Taurus incepit aquam bibere aqua incepit ignem extinguere. Ignis ferumal urere incepit. Ferula incepit porculum pulsare; et porculus portam praeterit. Anus igitur vespere domum redivit.


(3) Pater meus ut manes esse crederet se adductum esse dixit eo quod olim amico cuidam accidisset; se amicum qui e puero claudus esset habuisse. Amicum hunc nocte apud focum sedere, cum subito audivisse aliquem portam pulsantem. Ianua aperta advenam intravisse et poposcisse vinum. Amicum suum quippe qui claudus esset eum oravisse ut ipse cyathum quaereret. Cui advenam dixisse si frondes lauri vino imbutas edisset eum in valetudinem redigeretur.

(4) Domum reversus rogavi patrem num et apud nos essent manes. Negavit se putare esse quia quotannis omnes e domo sua eiceret.  His auditis matrem oravi, ut ad mediam noctem mihi pervigilare liceret ut patrem viderem nocturna lemuria agentem.  Matrem benigna veniam mihi dedit. Media nocte  pater surrexit atue ambulavit per domum  nudis pedibus et dextra extenta ne manes sibi occurrerent.

Signum sacrum dedit hunc in modum;  salutari minimoque  proximum atque pollicem depressit in palmam. Deinde se lustravit paras. Tum septem fabas  nigras ori imposuit et voltu averso  alias supra humerum iecit.

“His” inquit “redimo meque meos fabas.”

Novies hunc dixit versum et non respexit.  Has fabas umbra putatur colligere atque sequi hominem a tergo . Rursus se lustravit et oravlt manes ut e tecto suo exirent.

The writer of the last piece, it will be observed, has a remarkable verbal memory. But such memory-work is not without its value ; it impresses linguistic forms upon the mind, and so makes composition progressively more accurate.

During the first two terms the composition of the third year is well illustrated by the examples given above. But the master is always trying new devices to check inaccuracy — a short course of the exercises in Bradley's Arnold often proves effective, or, if these be too difficult, some less advanced but similar book may be used. As it is only for temporary use, the class does not purchase the book, but the master dictates an exercise — say, once a week — or makes one up for himself.

In the third term the composition always breaks out in strange places. With a good set, a Roman trial is always attempted in this term, and the writing of speeches for and against the accused occupies much of the composition time of the best boys. While they are engaged in this the master occupies the rest

  • Of course, when no trial is being held all participate in the debates, etc.

with such things as debates and letter-writing.

  • The following description of classroom on debates is reproduced from Some Practical Suggestions on Teaching Latin, by R. B Appleton (Heffer, Cambridge), and sincere thanks are due to the publisher for his kind permission to use it here.

These debates may be of two kinds:

a) Those arising from material provided.

B)  Original.

From Provided Material.

Here we have for our material the ancient Suasoriae and Controversiae which were actually used in the education of Roman youths who intended to be orators. A large number of these have been preserved by the elder Seneca,

  • Annaei Senecae oratorum et rhetorum sententiae divisiones colores. (Teubner)

but a large proportion of them are unfortunately unsuitable for schoolboys. Still, there is much material in the volume which can be used. Then there are two excellent ones preserved in the chapter of Suetonius De Rhetoribus. Such a "controversia," then, is read out and explained by the teacher to the class in much the same way as is done in "reproduction" lessons. The boys may then either stand up and have the debate straight away in class or after a preliminary class debate write out pro or con at home. Appended are two uncorrected versions written by boys after a short debate in class upon one of the two "controversiae" preserved by Suetonius.

(i) Summum ius, summa iniuria

Ante diem quintum Iudus Iulias. Natus sum quattuordecim annos


 Aestivo tempore non nulli pueri urbani portum Romanae petebant, litus ingressi  viderunt piscatores plagas e mare trahere. Eis appropinquaverunt pactum quanti bolum emerent et solverunt pecuniam. Piscatores pecuniam volentes rursus in mare plagas iecerunt.  Diu expectabant sed tandem plagae apparuerunt. In plagis non pisces errant sed sporta auri.  Emptores dixerunt sportam eis et piscatores dixerunt esse eis.  Utrique sibi sportam vindicaverunt.  Ius fuit emptoribus.  Nemo debet pactionem omittere, quod si pactionem facio cum aliquot et si homo non manet in pactione postea credam nemini.  Rei publicae interest in practione manere qui monia facta sunt fide, et si nemo fidem habet mundus non potest continuere.  Pueri dederant numos piscatoribus et emerant bolum quidque sit fortasse nihil sit aut sit aliquid magni pretii itaque piscatores non debent sportam capere.

(ii) Summum ius, summa iniuria

Ante diem quintum Idus Julias

Aestivo tempore adulescentes urbis, cum advenissent Ostiam, litus ingressi, piscatores rete trahentes videbant.  Rogavereunt quanti bolum emerent, et nummos solverunt.  Ubi piscatores plagas extraxerunt, nullus piscis affuit, sed sporta auri obsuta.  Emptores dixerunt bolum suum esse, et piscatores dixerunt suum  bolum esse.

Quid potuerunt facere?  Opportet eos in pactione manere, nam quid accident si non manemus?  Non poterimus fidem habere alicui, et rei publicae interest.  Opportet piscatores habere bolum, puto, Emptores pecuniam dederant, sed sporta auri obsuta erat, et nonne piscatores eam invenerunt?  Certe, piscatores rediderunt pecuniam et tum alios pisces invenire inceperunt.

Of these (a) is rather careless, his punctuation is bad , and the style rather jerky — the mysterious monia is a careless metathesis for omnia  (b) has not quite so many careless mistakes and is perhaps a little better in style. We must remember, however, that they are first efforts at a new kind of work; all that they show is that something can be done on these lines.

Whether or not such work can be made a success remains to be seen, but surely it is more interesting and more real than turning into Latin detached sentences, such as "Caesar sent cavalry to bring help to the allies," or "The officers sent their men to forage in all directions," which have no reality because they have no context. These two sentences are taken out of a well-known Latin composition book from the first page at which the book opened, and are surely quite typical ones. But is it not this sort of thing that tends to make Latin a dead language? How can such things be living to a boy? We cannot get any idea of the wonderful world in which a boy lives, except by anamnesis - I use the word advisedly, for the method on which we were trained acts as a pretty potent Lethe! — but surely it is not peopled by such lay-figures as are found in "composition books." The direct method can at least make Latin more a part of a boy's own world. He sees the fishermen drawing in their nets on the shore, and treasure trove is certainly dear to his heart. The whole episode is an adventure, something which might happen to himself at the seaside. And so with the slave-dealer in the second of the controversiae in Suetonius; he is the sort of person who appears in Henty's books, and not an amorphous officer of no country and no adventure. It is certainly quite possible by such methods as these to remove from the teaching of Latin the reproach that it has no connection with everyday life;  such controversiae as the one described above ought to train boys to think of reasons for their judgments and so inculcate in them some elementary political and ethical principles. Not that we wish to train boys in casuistry, but there can be no harm in making them consider the dioti a little more than they usually do. Such considerations, however, are merely ancillary to our main object, which is to teach boys the language as efficiently as possible.


Perhaps the best results can be obtained from original debates upon subjects such as "Utrum sunt manes annon," " Oportetne mulieres ius sufragii habere," or the like subjects of topical interest. The speeches may be either impromptu on the part of the boys, or they may either be given, or told to choose, their subject beforehand and prepare speeches. I append what I was able to get down from some impromptu speeches on the above two subjects.

The first is by a boy who had only been learning Latin for two years, and is only just 13. There were two visitors in the class at the time, hence his opening address.

Magister, et amici, et advenae, adsumus ut quaeramus utrum sunt effigies. Primum velim scire quid putetis effigiem esse. Ego nunquam vidi et nescio quis viderit. Fabulam scio de domo in qua homines putabant effigiem esse, sed postea invenerunt effigiem lepores esse qui per scalas cucurrerunt. In via erat effigies, ut homines putabant, sed invenerunt effigiem esse arborem. Non saepe videmus effigies, et multi homines nunquam viderunt. Quam ob rem non videmus, si re vera sunt effigies? Puto hoc satis documenti esse non esse effigies.

The following is about votes for women, the first tried by the class:

Amici et magister et advenae, Ego non puto feminas oportere ius suffragii habere quia nihil faciunt ut pecuniam adipiscantur. Itaque homo qui pecuniam adipiscitur ius suffragii habet, sed si feminae ius suffragii adipiscerentur oporteret eas aliquid facere ut pecuniam adipiscerentur. Non sunt pervicaces semper itaque homo potest eas corrumpere, si volt, facilius quam potest corrumpere hominem. Et domosP incendunt et puto eas scire id non placere hominibus. Itaque faciunt ut efliciant ut homines dicant 'Dabimus eis ius suffragii ut domos servemus.' Sed homines irati sunt et non volunt ius suffragii eis dare. Itaque feminae sciunt homines iratos esse itaque quam ob rem non desistunt? Hoc probat eas insanas esse; itaque si insanae sunt non possunt iure suffragii uti.

This was replied to by another boy as follows:

Loquax dixit feminas incendere domos. Videtur mihi putare omnes feminas incendere domos. Paucae modo sunt feminae quae incendunt aedes et templa et non puto feminas pervicaces ese quia sunt fortes, namque audent incendere aedes atque vigiles iaciunt has in carcerem. Itaque sunt fortes et audaces. Homines sunt pervicaces nam non obstant feminas quin iaciunt glandes (bombs?) et incendant aedes. Itaque hi sunt pervicaces. Puto non modo omnes homines sed etiam feminas oportere ius suffragii habere. Multi putant feminas quippe quae feminae sint, non debere habere ius suffragii; sed oportet omnes, ut antea dixi, habere ius suffragii. Non puto oportere feminas versari in rebus publicis quia habent domos et oportet eas curare. Sed non nullae feminae quae iaciunt glandes sunt quasi insanae; non omnes id faciunt.

The above examples are not given as anything out of the common, but simply to show that a facility of expression can be encouraged by these means. Remember that they are absolutely impromptu speeches, and that they have not been corrected. Corrections were of course made, and also other suggestions were given, but the above contain the actual words used by the boys in question. The arguments and thoughts may be rather trivial, and not over clear at times, but that is not our main consideration at present.

Sometimes quite a good debate will result from a most unpromising subject. The boys are sometimes left to themselves to choose their subject, and five or ten minutes are given at the beginning of the lesson for the preparation of speeches. Once they chose "Utrum oportet nos pensa (home-work) facere in aestate annon," and I expected a very dull and schoolboyish treatment of the subject. But it turned out to be one of their most successful efforts. One budding orator stood up and began "Orior ut defendam causam," but was rudely interrupted by the ejaculation "Sed non es sol," and the roars of laughter with which this was greeted caused his speech to go sadly to pieces. Another boy had a really rhetorical peroration, which I managed to preserve. His exact words were:

Operamur per totum diem et fessi sumus cum pervenimus domum. Non possumus bene facere pensa dum tam fessi sumus. Dolemus capita et oculos et incipimus dormire apud quartam vel quintam horam (noctis?). Mane sero expergiscimur, celeriter edimus ientaculum et deinde currimus ad ludum et pervenimus ad ludum anhelantes. Et igitur si habemus pensa domi facere (corrected to ` 'facienda') non ipsa bene facere possumus et non laborare bene in ludo possumus quia semper fessi sumus animis.

One of the results of this sort of work is the facility of both speech and writing which it encourages. For example, not more than ten minutes at the outside were given for preparation of speeches in the case above, and yet the peroration quoted was only a third of the boy's speech, if that. And as one walks among them, to serve as a walking dictionary while they are preparing, one sees them scribbling away almost as fast as pencil can go.

From time to time — especially during the midsummer examinations — the boys are given a subject to write upon, for which they are allowed — or rather expected — to prepare at home beforehand. This is really a sort of free composition, of which we will shortly quote examples, but we give here an example of a debate subject which was written in examination —the boy was allowed to bring in notes provided that they did not contain a single complete sentence — by a third-year boy at the end of the term in which debates had been held.


Non puto oportere feminas ius suffragii habere Nunquam licebat feminis Romanis in Senatum ire et suffragium dare. Paucae modo insanae feminae ius suffragii habere volunt. Multae putant alias stultas esse neque volunt rempublicam adere quia sciunt se non posse imperium habere. Non volunt operi incumbere et meliorem reddere rem publicam. Modo ut infantes qui nova crepundia habent ludere volunt, quis enim ex vobis ius suffragii infantibus daret ? Necesse est homines sapientes qui operi incumbere volunt habere, non stultae feminae quae et inter se et inter alios rixam habere solitae sunt. Non dignae sunt suffragio quia fenestras frangunt eclesiarum ac rerum retiosarum multitudinem nocent. Efficiunt ut nemo fidem feminis habeat. Nunc non licet feminis sapientibus tabellas pictas vel res pretiosas videre quia homines verentur ne sint hae stultae feminae quae omnia nocent. Etiam regem ipsum conatae sunt laedare. Tabellas, pictas, epistulas, libros pretiosos, aedificia omnia conatae sunt urere. Cum vigiles eas capere conati feminae se humi iaciebant, iacebant in pulvere et mordebant manüs pedibusque omnes pulsabant veluti animal rabidum quod in arena pugnat. Sunt enim feminarum stultarum multitudo quarum omnium stultissimae eae sunt quae ita agunt et molestiam civibus adferunt. In bello pro patria pugnare, de rebus militaribus consilia excogitare non possunt. Non multum de legibus de moribus reipublicae de navibus de commercio et talibus de rebus sciunt. Paucae feminae uncis et dentibus ut feles pugnare possunt sed hoc modo terram natalem defendere non possunt. Necesse est homines non feminas habere. Oportet eas domi quiescere, infantes et ancillas curare et libros poetarum philosophorumque recitare quo maior sit sapientia non omnia frangere et scelera stultissima facere. Scelere velandum est scelus sed non possunt velare quam absurdam agunt causam. Sed insana in causa nemo providet.

Olim ad consessum feminarum quae ius suffragii habere volunt ivi.

Femina quaedam orationem facunde habere est conata. Vehementer est locuta, execrata est, omnes homines aeternis supliciis addixit. Homines crudeles, regem insanum, consulem scurram esse. Se enim velle feminas sapientes ius suffragii habere. Putavi eam insanam fuisse non multum aberat quin medicum quaererem. Puer quidam impudens e turba "Domum" inquit "abi ut infantem cures." Nemo ex auditoribus oratori favebat, etiam feminae eas ludibrio habebant. Eam insanam esse, et omnes feminas nocere non dona eis dare dicebant.

Non dubium erat quin insana esset sed sui cuique mores fingunt fortunam. Si putant se posse ius suffragii adipisci talibus modis stultae sunt. Quamquam stultae sunt possunt decipere. Audite fabulam. Mos erat Romanis filios secum in Senatum introducere ut omnia de republica audirent et orationes habere possent. Puer quidam cum domum se revertisset mater eum vehementer est deprecata ut omnia quae in senatu audiverat diceret. Puero recusante iterum oravit mater ut omnia narraret. Sed puer se nihil dicere oportere sciebat silebat igitur. Tum ingeminant preces. Tam vehementer mater precata est ut necesse esset lepidum ei narrare mendacium ne omnia inveniret.

Ecce. Feminae id quod habere volunt dolis et lacrimis adipiscuntur.

"Struit insidias lacrimis quum femina plorat."

Oportet iudices severas poenas ab eis quae talibus modis ius suffragii adipisci conatae sunt, sumere. Eas in carcerem mittunt sed quia cibum recusant libertatem eis reddunt. Cur non eas in insulam remotam ut saxa vel arbores frangerent mittunt? Cur non alias severas leges constituunt ut poenas ab eis sumant? Necesse est aliquid facere.

Nunquam eis favebam nunquam favebo.


The writing of letters appeals to children in away quite incomprehensible to adults. Perhaps something of the fascination survives, from childhood, in boys of the age with which we are dealing; at any rate, there is no lack of enthusiasm on the part of average boys between the age of 14 and 15. Occasionally the master will write to his pupils —during holidays --in Latin, and they will reply. Such things naturally are not preserved, so we can only quote here two examples from rather younger boys. The first is barely 13, and the second barely 14.

Discipulus Hadrianus carissimo suo magistro S.P.D.

Heri modo accepi tuam epistulam quia modo heri domum redivimus, sed nunc gratias tibi ago quod eam mihi misisti. Parvum tamen donum non tuis modis laudandum est sed nullo modo putavi te inventurum esse quis misisset. Si satis mihi erit temporis colligam fabulas iocosaa, ego quoque puto melius futurum esse si pueri non semper idem ludant.

Una modo sententia est in tua epistula quae non possum, et ea est "Forsitan quaeras."

Morbum nunc habeo quod medici Anglici appellant Christmasitus. Nunc igitur puto hanc epistulam perficiendam esse.

Vale. A.D.V. Kal. Ian. MDCCCCXII.

Pridie Kal Jan.

Puer magistro,

Frater et ego gratias tibi agimus pro libris quos nobis misisti; namque illos maxime amamus. Sed frater meus iratus est quia dixisti eum pugnacem esse in litera tua. Habui multa dona. edique multa crustula et non procul aberam quin dolorem haberem. Spero te habiturum esse bonum novum annum. Ave atque Vale. Amoenus.

But, of course, such trifles are mere incidentals. Letter-writing can be made a regular feature of classroom work, but it needs no description, so we merely append two examples written by boys in their third year. The first is on a subject chosen by the boy himself — he was simply told to write a letter in Latin. The second is supposed to have been written by Suetonius to Pliny, and to have occasioned the letter from the latter which is quoted in Puer Romanus (p. 30).

(a)  Hodie (cur nescio) otium agimus.  Quippe qui negotiosus non sim, de praelectione Latina narrabo.

Summus magister praeclarus est, immo vero praeclarissimus.  Imperat nobis ut linguam Latinam semper loquamur.

Magister intrat et imperat nobis ut diem mensis, proverbiumque scribamus.  Cum proverbium scribimus, magister in ludibrio habemus.  Exempli causa scribimus “Magistri dum docent, discount,” vel “Difficile est iustitia docere.”

Deinde pessimum librum de puero Romano recitamus.  Si errorem facimus magister ululate.  Putavi eum aegrotavisse.

Si Anglice loquimur, nos miseros! Caelum cadit.  Magister valde exsecratur, Quid malum dicis, dic iterum celerriter sine dubitatione, sceleste, improbissime, nequissime, etcetera.

Revera non crudelis sed benignus est, sed, ut dicit, puer stultus efficit ut valde irascetur.

In praelectione Latina, ut iam dixi, semper latine loquimur, et instar puerorum Romanorum esse volumus.


Dabam Camborico

Ante Diem XIII Kalendas Decembres

(a) Suetonius Tranquillus Sexto Cornelio Pollini salute dat.

Perterritus sum somnio quod hac nocte percepi.  Quippe qui causam unius ex amicic meis acturus sim, vereor ne hoc somnium quid mali portendat.  Quare ne causa mea omnino  cadat, oro et obsecro ut causam paucos saltem dies comperindines et me excuses.  Scio quam difficile sit causam differre sed per te deos oro ut id agas ut morem mihi geras, namque antea expertus pro certo habeo res plerumque evenire non secus ac in somniis mihi videantur.

Si hoc feceris tibi beneficio obstrictum me in perpetuum habebis.

Dabam Romae.

Pridie Idus Novembres


The Latin Period.

But the boys must not be left to amble along in this pleasant manner. During their composition lessons at this stage — especially as they will be reading Cicero next year — some attempt must be made to familiarise them with the Latin period.

  • The following account is quoted from Latin Teaching -  the Journal of the Association for the Reform of Latin Teaching

Begin with the familiar skeleton of the simple sentence

Then add qualifications :

Now point out that the qualifying words—optimus, stultos, and frustra — may be replaced by subordinate clauses. Thus we get:

Then, if these single subordinate clauses be each replaced by two or more, we get

Only two things now remain to be pointed out — (a) that the skeleton Magister discipulos docet is only halfway between an English and a Latin order of words, and (b) that we should begin with one of our subordinate clauses — before we have something which is not structurally very different from Cicero's common usage:

Si quis unquam, discipuli, litus arare compulsus est, si quis unquam margaritas suas ante porcos misit mihi qui a pueritia studio litterarum Latinarum me penitus dedi, qui semper id agere conor ut res singulas quam clarissime discipulis meis omni ambiguitate omissa, exponam, id nunc accidit in vobis docendis qui sive de industria ut molestiam mihi afferatis seu deficiente natura tam stultos vos praestatis ut quamquam totas quibus praeditus sum vires impendo, quamquam omnes deos deasque Latinas cottidie flagito ut auxilium mihi dent, nihil omnino efficere videar.

When boys see something like this — the heavy humour is not essential — built up on the board before their eyes, they are entranced by the real simplicity of what at first sight looks so very complicated, and will, after doing a few similar exercises of their own, find no difficulty but rather a delight in the longest of Cicero's periods.

It is most essential that the boys should be made to practise for themselves. It is well, at first, to ask them as a home-work to write one period (not more) upon one or more of several themes given. Such subjects as the following are often suggested:

Mulieres non debent ius suffragii habere.

Melius est ruri quam in urbe vivere.

Saepius oportet nos ferias agere, etc.

The following two examples — both first efforts — illustrate well what boys can do, and also the confusion into which they are likely to run at first.


(a) O iudices, qui olim erat discipulus, qui olim ferias amabat,  is est magister qui nunc non licet discipulis satis ferias agere;  qui iudices semper optimi sunt, qui semper pensa tam bene faciunt, qui semper magistrum delectare conantur, ei sunt discipuli quos hic magister  abominandus docere temptat;  si tam optimi sunt,  oportet eos saepius ferias agere,  sed hic magister crudelis semper artem grammaticam eos docet et non audit aut nonvolt audire verba Martialis , " Aestate pueri  si valent,  satis discunt."

Linguae Graecorum Romanorumque ut scitis difficilissimae sunt , itaque, O  iudices, nonne putatis,  si hi optimi discipuli has difliicilissimas  linguas discere temptant,  plus ferias merent ? O iudices non sinite magistrum discipulos ita afflictare sed sinite nos saepius ferias agere.

(b)  Si quis iudices umquam optime scribit pensum, si quis umquam conatur magistrum delectare, ille pessimus magister  putat semper oportere omnes hoc modo pensos scribere hocve modo se gerere.  Itaque necesse est ferias agere saepius quam nunc; scitis versus quas in carmine scripsit Horatius “Aestate pueri si valent, satis discunt”; et sciunt quoque magistri sed non audiunt si declamamus.

Necesse est quoque  ferias agere pueris fatigatis, nam si qui sunt severi, ei sunt magistri, praesertim ei qui putant se bene scire et bene posse docere linguam Latinam,  sed qui semper irascuntur et pueros caedunt, numquamve exponent verba sed dicunt oportere scire omnia verba et oportere discere omnes libros Virgilii, poenasque sument ab omnibus pueris,.

Optimos pueros antea habuisse quoque dicunt et hoc modo se abominandis esse pueros putant quamquam temptant intellegere verba magistrumque delectare  et animus igitur recusat bene facere id quod necesse est facere ut placet magistros crudeles.  Utinam omnes magistri interfecti sunt:  quam beati omnes pueri sed nemo volt potestne hoc facere

It is very useful, in this connection, to point out the oratorical device of the inverted relative. Boys readily use this, as may be seen from the following prooemium and peroratio of a long speech written by a third-year boy as a holiday-task.

a) Mihi patres conscripti, qui ………. referenda sunt omnia.

(B) De exploratoribus imperatores nostri et homines principes ne plebem qui rumores modo audiebat ……. poenas meritas ac iustas solvere cogatis.

Free Composition.

We conclude this account of composition with a few words on free composition. The boys have now been encouraged for three years to talk in Latin, and free composition is simply the writing down, with just that little extra care which the mechanical act of writing enforces, of such talk. It may fairly be taken, at the end of the third year, as an index of the amount of facility and freedom of expression which the direct method produces. The two following examples were both written in examination. It will be noticed that (a) is superior in accuracy, (b) in imagination.


 a) Per decem annos Graeci Troiam obsederunt sed non potuerunt urbem capere  ……et urbs sua ardere

b) Fessi atque repulsi, post decem annos belli ……….. ut urbem Romae conderent narrarentque de capta Troiae.

Roman trial.

Although not a definite part of the composition-work, it is natural to describe here the efforts which are often, but not every year, made to conduct a Roman trial during the third year. It is not possible to do this with every third year, but only with an exceptionally good class.

First of all it is necessary for the master to provide his class with a good deal of material. The trial is going to be one de repetundis on the model of Cicero's Verrines, and the master must explain, in English, a good deal about Roman provincial administration  in general and the system of levying taxes in particular. In the course of this talk he must be careful to give all necessary information about such things as the comitatus (vel cohors) of the pro-praetor, his edicta translaticia or nova, his honorarium of corn and his necessity, upon retiring, of depositing in the two principal cities an account of all money transactions duly stated and balanced (apud duas civitates, quae maximae viderentur, rationes confectas deponere) and of handing an exact copy of these accounts into the treasury after his arrival at Rome (easdem rationes totidem verbis referre ad aerarium). In particular the Roman monetary system, based on the sestertius, must be explained, and the opportunities  for bribery and corruption pointed out. As to the actual trial, the distinction between criminal and civil trials (iudicia publica and privata) and the institution of Quaestiones perpetuae (695 AVC.)  is first explained and then the following Latin notes are dictated:

1. Apud Praetorem

2. Die Constituto

3. Iudicium

Actio Prima: Quaestiones; Testes; Tabulae


The boys will now have sufficient material to go upon. As much of the procedure as is possible may be gone through in a period, or some evidence or part of a speech may be invented and then the whole of the portion done during the day may be written up at home as homework. Either the reproduction or the text-composition will, of course, be dropped during the time in which a trial is being done. How real such a trial becomes to the boys may be judged from the two following little anecdotes. It should first be explained that the experiment has been tri ed of "being at home to Roman boys " (see next section ) once a fortnight, when parlour games are played and anecdotes related—all, of course, in Latin. No boy in particular is ever invited, but at the beginning of the term an announcement is made as to when Latin teas will be held, and there are always more. boys than the room can comfortably hold. Of course, the novelty of  the idea itself appeals to them, for they love to talk and hear one another talking Latin, especially when it is still more "chatty " than even the reformed method can permit in the class-room ! Some weeks ago one boy - the accused in the trial scene - was seated on the floor with a bowl of chocolates between his legs—does not Horace justify us :

pueris olim dant crustula blandi

doctores, elementa velint ut discere prima ?

when a boy observed him and exclaimed, " Specta, Amoenum, quam avarus sit! Primum Siculos spoliavit, et nunc omnia crustula tenet."  It was, of course, a joke, and not a bad one for a boy of 13, but does it not also show that in the eyes of his schoolfellows the boy in question had really been, to some extent, identified with a rapacious pro-praetor? The second little anecdote is that during one of the preliminary lessons mentioned above, an explanation of Roman money was necessitated, and the opportunity was taken at the same time of explaining a balance-sheet, thus:



The lines round the numeral in the " expensum " column were added as an afterthought, and the shout of laughter with which it was greeted proved how well the difference between sestertia vicena and sestertium vicies had been grasped. This is naturally followed by the introduction of such metaphorical idioms as  benignitatem tuam acceptam refero, etc.

 The reader will wish to know what the boys make of all this, so we append an example of a speech for the defence. This was written by a third-year boy entirely by himself, but his work was corrected by the master at various stages. It therefore differs from all other examples of boys' work quoted in this book. Consultation and corrections naturally take place in doing this sort of work, but the reader may see a boy's unaided effort in the fragment from the speech of the accused, which is given last.


Siquis umquam o iudices innocens erat aut iniuste accusatus est,  ……… Cavete igitur et Marcum Corneli um Varum absolvite !

The following is an example of the evidence referred to:

Scite o iudices me Quintum Publium Capitonem …… contra innocentem et periiurat.

Minor "evidence " is such as the following:

'Pridem, dominus meus mihi …… qui poenam duram meretur”

Or again:

O iudices! Dominus meus, qui ….false accusatus est de crimine.

The edicta are nothing if not concise:


Cavete omnes.  Impero Siculis ut frumentum quod Romam mittitur minoris vendant.  Si quis hoc non faciet eum in carcerem mittam.



Animadvertite omnes. Non licet  Siculis honorarium mihi dare namque  est magna fames.  


And the letters are equally to the point;

Caius Valerius Callidus Quinto  Lucio Hectori S.P.D.

Agros meos bene colo namque flumen clausi  Igiitur dum est siccitas, agris meis nullum damnum feret. Haec moles aquae obstat quominus agros civitatis irriget sed quid de hoc curo ?  Veni mox ut me videas.  Vale.

The following is the uncorrected fragment from the speech of the accused which we promised. It will be noticed that he knows his Horace.

Cives! Romani! Amici!

Si quis alius innocens sum.

Si quis umquam, iudices, falso accusatus est, si cui omnes sibi labores vani erant, si quis umquam litus arare compulsus est, si quis semper laboravit et numquam otio fructus est, si quis dum regnat assentatores habuit sed nunc non habet, siquis numquam honoratus est:


Qui tres bonos annos impendi ut populum miserum atque pauperem e  miseriis suis raperem, qui cibum illis praebui qui fame pressi erant,  qui  illos vestivi qui nudi erant,  ……….   Agmen atque defensiones naturales amplificavi.

As was said at the beginning of this description, it is possible to conduct a Roman trial only with a third year of especial ability. Even so it is by no means a great success. The quotations given above of what boys will write in this connection are probably sufficient to explain why the master is always anxious to try it. But it invariably results in two things, the first of which is to be expected, namely, that the work is all done by three or four — six at the outside — of the best boys in i }ic form. The second thing to which we refer is peculiarly illuminating. These best boys are much better in their written work than orally. They will compose written speeches of considerable length and merit, but they really prefer to hand these in quietly to the master, rather than to make a forensic display of delivering them. This is, of course, due largely to the shyness of adolescence, but is it fanciful to denote here the beginnings of a later development upon the direct method, namely, a gradual shifting of excellence from oral to written work ? There is no doubt whatever that this occurs in the fourth and subsequent years, :end, of course, it is exactly what the master wishes. We wish our pupils to talk Latin merely as a means to an end, the ready understanding and appreciation of the literature. At first a bright boy will shine most in oral work and will show his excellence there much more than in writing. But gradually—as we have described under this third year his work takes on more and more of a literary tinge, until, when we come to the Classical Sixth, oral work is unconsciously recognised as a mere instrument, [Very highly polished, from constant use] and no one expects to be judged by anything except written work.

Latin Teas.

But facility of speech, though not an end in itself, is most desirable, and perhaps mention should here be made of an experiment which has been tried, with success, for developing it. During the two winter terms the master announces that he will be "at home" — say, once a fortnight — to Roman boys. No one is ever definitely invited, but it is understood that anyone who likes may come on the simple understanding that he must speak nothing but Latin

  •  He is of course allowed to inquire, quomodo dicimus Latine "jam"? The master has to exercise considerable ingenuity in his replies.

either to his fellows or to the master. At first the master has to exert himself to overcome awkward pauses — but does not this happen in English tea-parties? — and must institute parlour games or something of the sort. There are many games of guessing in which one boy goes out of the room and thinks of something which the rest have to guess by asking questions to which he may reply only Ita or Minime. "Proverbs," played in the usual way, are always most successful. Soon games of this sort may be discontinued, and the telling of anecdotes substituted. The master prepares a few himself beforehand, and each "guest " must come armed with at least one.

  •  On these occasions the boys really do talk and think in Latin as may be proved by the following: Many years ago these Latin teas were been held in a room which communicated with the private sitting-room room of another master. A certain boy, on leaving the Latin room, went to this other room in order to ask the owner something which he wished to know, but he spoke in Latin. When the English master taxed the boy with this he denied it at first but the fact was corroborated by two other boys who were present doing some out-of-school work with the English master.

Tempus erat quo prima quies mortalibus aegris Incipit et dono divom gratissima serpit.

Crimine quo merui, iuvenis placidissime divom Quove errore miser donis ut solus egerem, Somne, tuis?

Una omnis Scyria pubes Succedunt tecto et flammas ad culmina iactant.

Si non periret immiserabilis Captiva pubes.

Turrim in praecipiti stantem summisque sub astra Eductam tectis unde omnis Troia videri Et Danaum solitae naves et Achaica castra Adgressi ... etc.

Iuli iugera pauca Martialis Longo Ianiculi iugo recumbunt. Hinc septem dominos videre montes Et totam licet aestimare Romam.



Non ita mali





Aut haec in nostros fabricata est machina muros Inspectura domos venturaque desuper urbi.

Aut pelago Danaum insidias suspectaque dona Praecipitare iubent.

Ardentisque oculos suffecti sanguine et igni.

 Ecce manus  iuvenem interea post terga revinctum.

Dextraque coruscum Extulit ac lateri capulo tenus abdidit ensem.

Arsere coruscae Luminibus flammae arrectis.

Perque pedes traiectus lora tumentis.

Ardentisque oculos suffecti sanguine et igni.

Visus adesse pedum sonitus, genitorque per umbram,

Dextrae se parvus Iulus Implicuit sequiturque patrem non passibus aequis










Magister optimus

discipulos stultos

frustra docet




Magister qui putat se optimum esse

discipulos qui semper stultissimos se praestant

ita docere conatur ut nil efficere possit.




Magister qui putat se optimum esse, sed quem discipuli bene sciunt gloriari solere

discipulos, qui semper ut molestiam magistro afferant stultissimos se praestant

ita docere conatur ut, quamquam summas vires impendat, nil efficere possit.



A pueris docendis HS. XX.

Crustula HS. XX

(Pueris edenda)

Direct method 1

Direct method 2

 Direct method 3

Latin on the Direct Method

 Rouse and Appleton 1925   pdf download

Direct method 4

Direct method 5

 Direct method 6

Direct method 7

Direct method 8

 Appendix A

 Appendix B

The Direct Method applied to Latin

 Linguaphone handbook for teachers  

 Rouse   pdf download


Tales of the Old Greeks

 Books on-line

The Direct Method before Rouse

Rouse and the Direct Method - a 21st century perspective from John Hazel

W.H.D.Rouse and the Association for the Reform of Latin Teaching -  from Didaskalos no.2 1964