Yesterday was a long day. Just before I fell asleep, I posted a quick note about alternative Latin reading material. Here it is: http://www.dwanethomas.com/instead-of-caesar/
A few days ago, I publicly declared that reading Caesar’s commentary on the Gallic Wars may not be the best use of your time. That post is here: http://www.dwanethomas.com/are-we-all-penguins/
If you have read both posts, you now know that I care little for Caesar or his writings. You know that I believe the Vulgate is a bit more important in the history of the world, than the geographical and political machinations of an isolated dictatorial maniac.
Read Caesar’s writings if you like. I have. I will read them again. I actually do find them interesting. But, that may very well be due to the fact that I grew up in Europe and due to the fact that I teach Latin. Unless you are fascinated by European history, or unless you are a Latin teacher, you may be wasting a lot of time pouring over the ancient writings of an ancient dictator.
As an aside, no one questions Caesar’s authorship of the commentaries. And, yet the earliest copy of the book shows up 900 years after his death! There are only about a dozen copies in existence. Meanwhile, the New Testament is under constant attack, and yet, there were hundreds of copies in existence before the Roman Empire collapsed.
Anyway, back to the point…
If you jettison Caesar’s Gallic Wars, what will you read instead?
I recommend you start in the shallow end of the pool. Start with the easy stuff.
Here is an excerpt from my ebook, Via:
Not sure what to read in Latin? Here is a recommended reading list:
1. Cornelia by Mima Maxey
2. Carolus et Maria by Marjorie Fay
3. Julia by Maud Reed
4. Lingua Latina by Hans Orberg
1. Ora Maritima by E. A. Sonnenschein
2. Fabilae Faciles by Francis Ritchie
3. De America, by Herbert Nutting
4. Lingua Latina by Hans Ørberg
5. Viri Romae by Charles Llomond
For more advanced students:
1. Gospel of Matthew by St. Matthew
2. Roma Aeterna by Hans Orberg
When you have finished this list, visit the Latin Library.com. There you will find more Latin than you will ever read… and it’s all free.
Read your favorite books in Latin.
Once you have competed the list above, you may want to read something more fun. One of my favorite things to do is read pleasure books in other languages. I have read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in Spanish, and The Hobbit in German.
(WARNING: These are tough books to read. This list is presented simply to demonstrate what is available. Attempt this list only after you have read all of the books on the previous list.)
Often it is this kind of book that I will read as I fall asleep. This is the fun stuff. The material is light. It’s a great way to fall asleep.
The point of this post is simple. There is plenty to read out there if you want to read in Latin.
Schools and teachers should stop acting as if there are only three Latin authors, Caesar, Cicero, and Virgil. There are plenty of other authors who have written in Latin. These three guys just happen to be the most difficult to read.
Yet, these are the three we thrust upon young students.
And we wonder why Latin has such a bad reputation.