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Reading Latin 1 - 20 credits (HS3421)

Staff: Piero Tassinari

An introduction to the Latin language, involving the reading of relatively simple Latin texts. This module introduces students to Latin grammar, and provides the basis for further study in HS3322 Reading Latin 2.

Availability: autumn semester each year
Optional for: all Ancient History degrees
Teaching: 30 classes. Homework exercises are set each week and returned in class. Discussion of this work forms a part of the learning experience.
Assessment: written exercises (50%) and one 2-hour examination (50%)

Syllabus content

The module, which assumes no previous knowledge of Latin, covers basic Latin grammar, such as the indicative mood (including the passive), simple usage of all cases, first to fourth declension nouns, demonstratives, personal pronouns, reflexive pronouns, relative pronoun, time phrases, cardinal and ordinal numbers.


To provide an introduction to the Latin language and its morphology and syntax.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, the student will demonstrate:

  • an ability to read and translate simple Latin sentences.
  • an ability to read and describe (parse) simple grammatical forms.
  • an understanding of the basic elements of the Latin language, and an understanding of the different culture and mindset in which this language was spoken.
  • an ability to read and translate into English suitably adapted passages of Latin prose, with the assistance of dictionaries and grammar books.
  • an ability to begin to read simple texts in the original Latin.
  • an ability to adapt to a different mindset, to formulate ideas expressed in that mindset, to develop independent and flexible thought and problem-solving strategies, and to process and organise large amounts of new data.
  • time and workload management skills, and experience of independent, self-motivated study.
  • skills in language learning, cultural learning and translation, grammatical and linguistic skills, analytical skills.

Preliminary reading

Information on the textbook to be used will be issued at the beginning of the year. If your English grammar is rocky (if you wouldn't recognise a verb if it jumped up and bit you), you should brush up on it over the vacation.

Related modules

Prerequisites: None. This module is not available for students who have GSCE Latin grade B or above, or an equivalent qualification or experience; such students should take a more advanced Latin module.

Necessary for: HS3322 Reading Latin 2