Reading Latin Literature

Course details

From £185.00
10 CATS points

18 Sep 2019 - 18 Dec 2019
Day of week

Reading Latin Literature


Aimed at people who already have a pretty secure grasp of the fundamentals of the language, and would like to read some classic Roman texts in their original language, this course will focus initially on the first book of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, which contains his marvellous account of the Flood, Python, and the myths of Apollo and Daphnis, and Io. We will then start to explore Livy's memorable account of Hannibal's crossing of the Alps. Our discussions will extend beyond the nuances of language into fascinating aspects of Roman thought, religion, society and history. Students should have a reasonable working knowledge of all the major grammatical and syntactical constructions in Latin, and the course will be conducted in a light-hearted yet rigorous way.

Programme details

Courses starts: 18 Sep 2019

No classes on 2 and 30 October, 6 and 20 November.

Week 1:  Ovid, Metamorphoses Book 1

Week 2:  Ovid, Metamorphoses Book 1

Week 3:  Ovid, Metamorphoses Book 1

Week 4:  Ovid, Metamorphoses Book 1

Week 5:  Ovid, Metamorphoses Book 1

Week 6:  Ovid, Metamorphoses Book 1

Week 7:  Ovid, Metamorphoses Book 1

Week 8:  Livy, Ab Urbe Condita Book 21

Week 9:  Livy, Ab Urbe Condita Book 21

Week 10:  Livy, Ab Urbe Condita Book 21

Recommended reading

All weekly class students may become borrowing members of the Rewley House Continuing Education Library for the duration of their course. Prospective students whose courses have not yet started are welcome to use the Library for reference. More information can be found on the Library website.

There is a Guide for Weekly Class students which will give you further information. 

Availability of titles on the reading list (below) can be checked on SOLO, the library catalogue.

Preparatory reading

  • A Brief Guide to the Greek Myths \ Kershaw, S.
  • Barbarians: Rebellion and Resistance to the Roman Empire \ Kershaw, S.P.
  • The War With Hannibal (Penguin Classics) \ Livy
  • Metamorphoses, tr. D. Raeburn (Pengin Classics) \ Ovid

Recommended Reading List


Course Fee: £185.00
Take this course for CATS points: £10.00


Dr Steve Kershaw

Dr Steve Kershaw has taught for OUDCE since 1998. He has been fascinated by the ancient Romans, their culture and their language since an early age, and has taught Latin at all levels from beginners to university students, as well as publishing several books on the Roman-related topics.

Course aims

To extend and reinforce the facility in Latin of students at an advanced level, with the object of reading hexameter poetry and historical prose texts in  their original form.

Course Objectives:

  1. To translate and analyse the the actual Latin text of Ovid's "Metamorphoses" book 1 and Livy's "Ab Urbe Condita" book 21.
  2. To provide a light-hearted yet academically thorough exploration of the Latin language, including essential grammar and vocabulary, plus metrical and stylistic analysis, and background material.
  3. To develop skills of problem-solving, literary appreciation, observation and analysis with further applications in study, work and leisure, and provide an interesting, enjoyable and relevant course of study.

Teaching methods

Sessions will revolve around the Latin texts of Ovid's "Metamorphoses" book 1 and Livy's "Ab Urbe Condita" book 21.

The core reading matter will be drawn from the actual text of Ovid and Livy.

  • Essential vocabulary will be discussed
  • Grammar and syntax will be analysed
  • Various 'Latin delights' will be introduced, highlighting the relationship of Latin to modern English
  • Students will be asked to recall, select and deploy relevant knowledge specified for the course in a clear, concise and logical way. This may be done either orally or in writing, individually or in group

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be expected to:

  1. Have gained an understanding of some of the fundamental linguistic structures of Latin, their relationship to English, and their distinctive modes of expression
  2. Be able to accurately translate challenging Latin verse and prose into English
  3. To have acquired an understanding of some high quality Latin in the original language, including the context (literary, historical, social) in which it was written, and the literary features used (e.g. metaphor, simile, rhythm and metre)

Assessment methods

Students will be provided with a variety of written assignments including:

  • Morphology exercises
  • Passages for translation from Latin to English
  • Quizzes to test knowledge of vocabulary and grammar
  • Reading exercises

Coursework will comprise two assignments taken from the list above.


Held in conjunction with the WEA (Maidenhead branch).

To enrol please contact:

Steph Diggon (WEA)

19 Gorse Road





Telephone: 01628 527465.

To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Level and demands

Some previous knowledge of Latin is necessary, (e.g. rusty O or A Level, or degree). Students should have some experience of the basic morphology of verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc., and of the main grammatical constructions.