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Level 6

6AACLT06 Latin Texts VI (Prose): Various Texts

Module convenor and assigned text change from year-to-year, please see below for annual information

Credit value: 15
Module convenor/tutor: Various, changes from year-to-year, see below
Teaching pattern: 10 x 2-hour seminars (weekly)
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment: 1 x 2-hour examination (100%) (For Study Abroad students attending for Semester 1 only, 1 x 2-hour test paper in December.)
Prerequisites: A pass in 4AACLA03 Latin Language 3 or a level 5 Latin text module, 5AACLT01-L04.

The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand, there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.

This is a Level 6 Latin text module, focusing on prose. The text prescription will vary from time to time, and will be announced before module choices have to be made for the next academic session. Specimen prescriptions, from previous years, can be found below. The examination will test knowledge of the context, content and themes of the set text(s), as well as translation ability.

For the specific text assigned for a particular year, please see below:


2018-19 Augustine, Confessions

Module convenor/tutor: Dr Bianca Facchini & Dr Maria Giulia Genghini

Born in the late-antique Roman province of Africa, Augustine of Hippo (354-430) was a major Christian philosopher, theologian, and Church Father, as well as a very prolific and talented Latin author, who exercised a profound influence on philosophy and literature throughout the Middle Ages and beyond. In this module we will read selected passages from Augustine's Confessions, which are a milestone in the history of Christian philosophy, theology, and exegesis, and one of the most famous examples of literary autobiography in Latin.

Set text 

  • The Confessions of St. Augustine: Books I-IX [Selections], with introduction, notes, and vocabulary by James Marshall Campbell and Martin R. P. McGuire; additions by Raymond V. Schoder and Thomas P. Halton. Bolchazy-Carducci: Wauconda (Illinois), 2007.

Students should order a copy of this edition as early as possible, to ensure that they have it by the beginning of classes.


Access to a good Latin dictionary (such as Lewis and Short, or the Oxford Latin Dictionary) will be helpful in translating and analysing the text.

Students might also want to obtain an English translation of Augustine's Confessions (for example, the Oxford World's Classics translation by Henry Chadwick), although they should not bring it to class.

A detailed commentary on the Latin text of the Confessions is that of James J. O'Donnell, Augustine Confessions, 3 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.  

Suggested introductory readings

This is suggested reading and purchase of these books is not mandatory.

For a general introduction to Augustine's Confessions see:

  • Catherine Conybeare, The Routledge Guidebook to Augustine's Confessions (London: Routledge, 2016);
  • cf. Kim Paffenroth and Robert P. Kennedy (eds.), A Reader's Companion to Augustine's Confessions (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003);
  • Colin Starnes, Augustine's Conversion: A Guide to the Argument of Confessions I-IX (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier U.P., 1990). 

For a shorter guide to the structure of the Confessions, see:

  • Frederick Crosson, “Structure and Meaning in St. Augustine’s Confessions,” in Gareth B. Matthews (ed.), The Augustinian Tradition. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999.  

For an understanding of Neo-Platonism in Augustine see:

  • Robert O'Connell, Saint Augustine's Confessions: The Odyssey of Soul. New York: Fordham University Press, 1989;
  • cf. Philip Cary, Inner Grace: Augustine in the Traditions of Plato and Paul. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.  

For an understanding of the theology of Saint Augustine see:

  • John C. Cavadini, “Eucharistic Exegesis in Augustine's Confessions,” Augustinian Studies 41:1 (2010) 87–108.  

Philip Burton, Language in the Confessions of Augustine. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. 

Allan D. Fitzgerald and John C. Cavadini (eds.), Augustine through the Ages – An Encyclopedia. Grand Rapids, Michigan and Cambridge, UK: William Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2009.  

Brian Stock, Augustine the Reader. Meditation, Self-Knowledge, and the Ethics of Interpretation. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1996. 

2015-16, Seneca on life and leisure

Module convenor/tutor: Ms Jennifer Hilder

In this module we will read two of Seneca’s short treatises, ‘De otio’ (On Leisure) and ‘De brevitate vitae’ (On the Brevity of Life). Both are of considerable historical and literary as well as philosophical interest – rich in intertextual connections with other Latin writing, and offering an introduction to concepts central to Roman thinking about happiness and freedom.

Set text

G. D. Williams (ed.), Seneca: De Otio and De Brevitate Vitae (Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics, 2003).

Students should order a copy of this edition as early as possible in advance of term, to ensure that they have it by the time teaching begins.

2013-14, The Letters of Pliny

Module convenor/tutor: Professor William Fitzgerald

The Romans invented the personal letter as we know it and we will be reading selections from one of the most influential of Latin letter-writers, Pliny the Younger. These provide us with a fascinating glimpse of the concerns of an elite Roman in the age of the emperors Nerva and Trajan. Pliny works hard to present himself in the best possible light, but his anxieties show through the self-confident facade. Friendship, the proper relation between public and private,  the nature of the good life and of heroism under the emperors--these are just some of the questions with which Pliny wrestles. The letters contain many vivid anecdotes and character sketches and are a model of elegant Roman prose.

Students will be required to attend all classes; they must undertake text-reading in preparation for classes and written exercises as prescribed.

Set text

We will be using Fifty Letters of Pliny, selected and edited by A.N.Sherwin White  (Oxford University Press 2002)
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