Nuntius Optimus!

salvēte, amīcī et sodālēs! Today, as promised, you’ll be able to see the draft version of two complete Tres Columnae Lectiōnēs – Lectiō Prīma and Lectiō Secunda of Cursus Primus. They’re now available online at Here’s what you can see when you go there:

  • Stories
  • Very ugly descriptions of the illustrations (not the beautiful ones that our potential illustrator will be providing soon, nor the equally lovely ones that future Tres Columnae subscribers will make as part of their participation in the process)
  • Some exercises – but again, not the full variety that will occur as participants create their own exercises to practice and review “problem” forms or vocabulary for themselves
  • The Pre-Seminar and Opening questions for the Continuing Virtual Seminar

The audio will be available soon. As for video, additional stories, and additional illustrations, they’ll be available as soon as

  • we have some actual subscribers 🙂
  • they create these materials
  • I have a chance to approve their submissions (or edit, as the case may be).

While you can look at the whole thing anytime with this link, we’ll be talking through one of the Lectiōnēs a piece at a time in posts this week.  If you’re from a religious tradition like mine where the “instructed Eucharist” is a possibility (that is, where your religious leader can, on occasion, not only perform the service but actually explain why it’s done that way), you’ll recognize what I’m doing the rest of the week.  If not, you’ll probably catch on pretty quickly! 🙂  In essence, we’ll look at a brief bit of the Lectiō (a single page of the wiki, or even less), and then analyze what’s going on with it.

Just so you know, in Lectiō Prīma we’ve met the three primary familiae (or are there really only two?) on which most stories will focus:

  • the rather wealthy Valeriī, who live in a nice domus in Herculaneum and own a number of īnsulae;
  • the rather poor Loliī, who live in a cēnāculum on an upper floor of one of these īnsulae; and
  • the extremely wealthy Caeliī, who live on a farm in monte Vesuviō.

It turns out that Valerius’ uxor, Caelia, is the soror of Caelius, but we don’t know that yet.

By the end of Lectiō Prīma, we’ve also discovered

  • that Latin has nouns and verbs, just like English does;
  • that the Latin terms, respectively, are nōmen and verbum;
  • that we know, and can use, Latin words for family relationships (pater, māter, soror, frāter, fīlius, vir, fēmina, puer, puella) and for some social relationships (cīvis, Rōmānus, servus, ancilla);
  • that Roman housing is similar in some ways to our homes, and very different in others;
  • that Roman family relationships are also similar-and-different; and
  • that Latin words have lots of derivatives in English and other modern languages.  (I haven’t included derivative exercises per se, largely because I want to know what kinds of exercises you, the community, would like to have!)

From this link you’ll be able to explore Lectiō Prīma for yourself.  Just clickts where it says “Lectio Prima,” and follow the links from page to page.  You can do the same with Lectiō Secunda, if you’d like – and I’d love to have your comments, there or here.  (If you register, you’ll be able to make comments there.)

Tomorrow, though, we’ll start a piece-by-piece analysis of Lectiō Secunda. You can explore it if you’d like from the same link: And, if you’d like, you can leave comments there … or here! 🙂

In Lectiō Secunda, we’ll discover

  • that Latin nouns have multiple forms, including cāsus nōminātīvus and cāsus genitīvus;
  • that there’s a predictable relationship between these forms (and others);
  • that the Romans call these related groups dēclīnātiōnēs;
  • that Latin nouns are listed in a predictable way in a Latin dictionary;
  • that we can answer questions beginning with quis and cuius; and
  • that Roman housing is even more different-and-similar than we realized in Lectiō Prīma.

I invite you to follow the links and see for yourselves. But keep in mind that this is a very early draft! If you see things you question, or wonder about, or don’t understand at all, please-please-please let me know!

quid respondētis, amīcī?

  • What do you think of this early vision of Tres Columnae?
  • Other than the obvious things (like real illustrations and working audio!), what changes would you make in the project?
  • What else would you like to see?
  • Is there anything you think we should remove?
  • I deliberately left out a “vocabulary list” for Lectiō Prīma, partly because I wanted your feelings about vocabulary. Which of the words do you think are important enough to consider core?
  • Which ones are unimportant?
  • Are there other words we should have included? Or ones we shouldn’t have introduced yet?
  • What types of vocabulary exercises would you want to see?

If you have students – and especially if you have students who are either struggling in your classes or far ahead of your classes – please share the link with them and ask them to comment, too … either to you or, if they’d like, on the site itself or on the blog.

Tune in tomorrow for a step-by-step analysis of Lectiō Secunda. In the meantime, though, please keep those comments and emails coming!

Published in: on February 3, 2010 at 10:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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