Another Preview – from Cursus Secundus

salvēte, amīcī fidēlēs! For many teachers, January 4 marks the return to school, and I really appreciate you for continuing to read at this busy time of year. Today’s post, as promised, is a preview of a Lectiō from early in Cursus Secundus. By now, we’ve come to know Lucius (Valerius’ son) and his poor friend Caius (Lollius’ son) quite well, along with the rest of their families and their pets. Both boys are now in their mid-to-late teens, and each now has a married sister. Mount Vesuvius has erupted, destroying Herculaneum, but all (or most) of the important characters have escaped.  Lollius, however, is dead, perhaps in the eruption or perhaps from natural causes.  Lucius and Caius are both in Naples for the moment.  Since Caius’ father is dead, he and his mother are staying, for the moment, with his sister Lollia and her husband Vipsanius.

Due to some family connections, young Lucius is about to join the Roman army as a tribūnus mīlitum. Caius has been trying to decide whether he should enlist, too. Of course, Caius comes from a poor family, so he would be a common soldier with a 20-year commitment, and his mother is a bit dubious – especially because of the military action in the Middle East ….

In my original numbering scheme, this was Lectiō XXX, but that will probably change.  The original scheme had multiple “new things” in each Lectiō, and I’m trying to reduce that to a single “new thing.”

Anyway, the new thing here is purpose clauses, which will introduce the subjunctive mood (secondary sequence first). We’ve already been using supines and gerundive purpose phrases, since they’re fairly simple-to-make ways to express purpose.

We’ll begin with these well-illustrated sentences:

  • Cāius ad centūriōnem contenderat ut sacrāmentum dīceret.
  • Cāius per viās urbis contendēbat ut Luciō valēdīceret.
  • Milphiō in faucibus stābat ut iānuam aperīret.
  • Lucius in tablīnō domūs sedēbat ut Cāium salūtāret.
  • Valeria marītusque in ātriō manēbant ut Luciō dōna darent.

(For those who need it, there’s an option to match each sentence to an English equivalent, reached by a clickable link.)

Then there are some simple Quaestiōnēs for each sentence like:

  • cūr Cāius ad centūriōnem contendit?
    • centūriōnem salūtātum
    • epistulam trāditum
    • sacrāmentum dictum
    • vīllam vēnditum

Then comes a link called quid novī? which explains the “new thing.”

We return to the sentences, this time with the purpose clauses highlighted. If you, the learner, don’t see the pattern right away, you’ll be able to click for a brief explanation, including the name of the construction (Latīnē et Anglicē) and the formation of the imperfect subjunctive (which, according to Priscian, is called modus coniunctīvus or, at times, optātīvus). This will be followed by exercises where you can practice creating imperfect subjunctives from familiar verbs (including the ones that will be used in the next story) and substituting purpose clauses for the other purpose expressions we’ve used. Of course, if you did see the pattern right away, you can skip these exercises, do a brief self-checking quiz, and proceed at once to the story. (There will be comprehension questions after each paragraph, but I’ll give the whole thing here.)

Cāius Lollius, paucīs ante diēbus quam sacrāmentum dīceret, cum mātre in cēnāculō Vipsāniī Lolliaeque sollicitus sedēbat. anxius enim erat Cāius quod sibi nihil pecūniae erat. “quō modō,” sē rogābat, “mātrem cūrāre possum? ō dī magnī, quaesō, mihi auxilium date!”

“mī fīlī,” rogāvit māter anxia, “cūr tam sollicitus es?”

“ō māter,” respondit ille trīstis, “quid facere dēbeō? quō modō ego, quī nihil pecūniae habeō, tē cūrāre possum?”

quae, verbīs fīliī audītīs, respondit, “nesciō, mī fīlī. tibi suādēre nōn possum. fortasse autem ille Lucius Valerius, amīcus tuus –”

“minimē, māter, nōlī plūra dīcere! mē pudet hanc rem Luciō meō patefacere! cīvis enim Rōmānus sum, et patre meō mortuō, patria potestās mihi est. mē nōn decet sportulās beneficiave ita quaerere!”

“mī Lucī,” molliter respondit māter, “cūr tam īrātus es? ōlim pater tuus ē cēnāculō nostrō exiit ut sportulam quaereret. ōlim patrōnus eius, ille Mānius Valerius, quī tē tamquam filium dīligēbat, pecūniam lūdī magistrō dedit ut tē in ludō acciperet. ōlim –”

“haec omnia bene cognōvī, māter cārissima,” respondit Cāius trīstis, “sed dignitās patrī meō cūrae minimae erat, mihi tamen cūrae maximae. nōn pudēbat patrem sportulās quaerere, sed mē maximē pudet. perīre mālō quam sportulās accipere, praesertim ab amīcō veterrimō.”

subitō tamen Cāius cōnsilium optimum cēpit. “dī immortālēs!” laetus exclāmāvit, “mea māter, nōlī timēre! etiamsī mē pudet sportulās petere, mē haud pudet mīlitāre! nōnne mīlitēs Rōmānī sunt virī maximae dignitātis? nōnne mīlitibus semper est sat pecūniae cibīque?”

“ō mī fīlī, num mīles fierī vīs? nōnne perīculōsissimum est mīlitāre? quaesō, mī fīlī –”

“tacē, māter,” respondit ille. “dī enim ipsī, audītīs precibus meīs acceptīsque vōtīs, hoc cōnsilium mihi dedērunt! ex hōc cēnāculō discēdō, centūriōnem quaesītum!”

quibus verbīs dictīs, Cāius ex īnsulā celeriter discessit ut centūriōnem quaereret. māter tamen, lacrimāns rīdēnsque, in cēnāculō sōla manēbat. multīs lacrimīs effūsīs multīsque precibus adhibitīs, deōs ōrābat ut fīliō suō parcerent.

By now, I expect most participants to be comfortable with Latin responses. So here are some sample Quaestiōnēs Latīnae for the first paragraph:

  1. quī in cēnāculō sedēbant?
    1. Cāius et Maccia
    2. Vipsānius et Lollia
    3. omnēs
    4. nūllī
  2. cūr anxius erat Cāius?
    1. cibum nōn habēbat
    2. pecūniam nōn habēbat
    3. sportulam nōn habēbat
    4. mīles Rōmānus esse nōlēbat
  3. quid Cāius petēbat?
    1. auxilium deōrum
    2. cēnāculum sorōris
    3. cōnsilium mātris
    4. haec omnia

They’ll also be able to handle grammatical analysis Latīnē with questions like these, also for the first paragraph:

  1. cuius modī est dīceret?
    1. indicātīvī
    2. coniunctīvī
    3. infinītīvī
    4. imperātīvī
  2. cuius cāsūs est ?
    1. nōminātīvī
    2. genitīvī
    3. vocātīvī
    4. ablātīvī
  3. quem significat ?
    1. Macciam
    2. Vipsānium
    3. Lolliam
    4. Cāius

Once participants are comfortable with the “new thing,” we move on to skill-level tasks like the following:

Change the highlighted part of each sentences from a supine to a purpose clause. The infinitive form is provided.

  1. Cāius vēnit Luciō valēdictum. (valēdīcere)
  2. Maccia surrēxit precēs adhibitum (adhibēre)
  3. Lollia exierat cibum ēmptum (emere)
  4. Vipsānius ad caupōnam suum vēnit labōrātum. (labōrāre)

Etymological exercises, for those participants who choose them, will focus on the “untranslatables” like sacrāmentum, pudet, and decet.  And there will obviously be links to sites about the Roman army and its recruitment and training practices for those who want to explore these concepts in greater depth.

Then there will be Understanding level tasks like these:

  1. Lucius has gone to see the centurion Ausōnius to enlist. By this time (late 70’s AD), it’s quite unusual for Roman citizens who live in Italy to enlist as mīlitēs, so Ausōnius is understandably wary. scrībe colloquium eōrum – and include at least one example of each purpose construction we know.
  2. Apparently Lollia and her husband are not at home. The exercise suggests that she’s buying food and he’s at work, but that might not be true. What are they actually doing, and why?
  3. Following family tradition :-), Lollia and Vipsānius have a mustēla named Gracilis, who has an alley-cat friend named Celerrima. They, of course, will have a late-night conversation about Caius’ decision. No doubt one thinks he’s fortissimus and the other thinks he’s īnsānus. scrībe colloquium eārum.
  4. How do you suppose Lucius responded when his friend told him the news? scrībe colloquium eōrum.
  5. (Please don’t choose this one if it offends you!) Caius and Lollia have obviously both been praying, but most likely to different gods! Which gods – or goddesses – did each one pray to? scrībe colloquium eōrum – including the negotiations about which prayer should, or should not, be answered.
  6. As always, feel free to create your own plot-extending scenario and the story that comes from it.
  7. As always, feel free to create audio, video, or illustrations. A Character Diagram or Plot Diagram would be welcome, too!

Then, in the Continuing Virtual Seminar, we’ll focus on pietās and dignitās, and on Caius’ strong sense of obligation to his mother. Why is it so significant to Caius that he now has patria potestās?  And why is he so rude to his mom, anyway – or is he, in fact, being rude?

So what do you think, dear readers? How does this sketchy Lectiō compare with what you’d want a second-year student to do?

Tune in tomorrow for more responses to readers’ comments and more thoughts about logistics.  And let me know if you want more previews of stories!

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Published in: on January 4, 2010 at 12:52 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This is fascinating to me! I’m a new follower of your blog, but really enjoyed reading this exercise. As a teacher of mostly introductory levels (Latin 1, 2, & 3), this is really interesting to me. I’m eager to go back and read previous posts so I have more of a sense of the scope and sequence of the series as a whole. Thank you for sharing your work!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed reading this post! Welcome to the Tres Columnae family! I’d encourage you – and your students – to keep reading any time.
      cura ut valeas!


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