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The Complete Latin Course (2014)

Readings from The Complete Latin Course © by George Sharpley, 2014

George Sharpley reads a few of the passages which appear in The Complete Latin Course (Routledge, 2nd ed., 2014). Scroll down to hear lines of Catullus, Horace, Juvenal, Livy, Martial, Ovid, Petronius, Tacitus and Virgil. Chapter and sentence numbers refer to the book.

"Ideal for classroom use or independent study, The Complete Latin Course will prove an invaluable resource for undergraduate and postgraduate students, adult learners and anyone interested in comprehensively developing their knowledge of Latin"

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‘tace, Lucretia. Sextus Tarquinius sum; ferrum in manu est.’  

LIVY (Ch. 2, 3)

''Be quiet, Lucretia. I am Sextus Tarquinius; there is a knife in my hand.'

iam nimis multos audio Corinthi et Athenarum

ornamenta laudantes mirantesque.’ 

LIVY (Ch. 4, 7; quoting Cato the Elder)

These days I hear too many people praising and admiring the ornaments of Corinth and Athens.

Clodius inimicus nobis. Pompeius confirmat Clodium

nihil esse facturum contra me. mihi periculosum est

credere; ad resistendum me paro.

CICERO (Ch. 7, 4)

Clodius is hostile to us. Pompey reassures (me) that Clodius will do nothing against me. It is dangerous for me to believe (it). I am preparing myself for resistance.

sed tamen, si omnes tribunos plebis habemus, si

Lentulum tam studiosum quam videtur, si vero etiam

Pompeium et Caesarem, non est desperandum.

CICERO (Ch. 7, 13)

But still, if we have all the tribunes of the people, if we have Lentulus as supportive as he seems, if indeed we also have Pompey and Caesar, not all hope has gone.

stat contra starique iubet. parere necesse est;
nam quid agas, cum te furiosus cogat et idem
fortior? ‘unde venis? aut dic aut accipe calcem.’

JUVENAL  (Ch. 13, 15)

He (the robber) stands opposite and orders a halt. Obedience is the only option; for what do you do when a madman confronts you—and at the same time he is stronger? (He says:) ‘Where do you come from? Either say or take a kicking.’

forte puer comitum seductus ab agmine fido

dixerat: ‘ecquis adest?’ et ‘adest’ responderat Echo.

OVID  (Ch. 15, 3)

By chance the lad (Narcissus) had become separated from his faithful band of comrades and had said: ‘Who is here?’ and ‘Is here’ had replied Echo.

Caeli, Lesbia nostra, Lesbia illa,
illa Lesbia, quam Catullus unam
plus quam se atque suos amavit omnes,
nunc in quadriviis et angiportis

glubit magnanimi Remi nepotes.

CATULLUS  (Ch. 15, 9)

Caelius, our Lesbia, that Lesbia, that Lesbia, the one woman Catullus loved more than himself and all his people, nowadays picks off descendants of highminded Remus at crossroads and in alleys.


cur non mitto meos tibi, Pontiliane, libellos?

    ne mihi tu mittas, Pontiliane, tuos.

MARTIAL  (Ch. 15, 10)

Why do I not send you my books, Pontilianus? In case, Pontilianus, you send me yours.

‘silvis te, Tyrrhene, feras agitare putasti?’

VIRGIL  (Ch. 15, 15; Camilla to a dying opponent)

‘Did you suppose, Etruscan, you were hunting wild beasts in the woods?’

quid te commovet tuus dolor intestinus? ea nobis erepta

sunt, quae hominibus non minus quam liberi cara esse

debent, patria, honestas, dignitas, honores omnes. at vero

malum est liberos amittere. malum; nisi peius est haec

sufferre et perpeti.

CICERO  (Ch. 17, 3; from Sulpicius' letter to C.)

Why does your personal grief disturb you so? Look at what has been taken from us – things which ought to be no less dear to people than their children – the state, our honour, prestige and all public offices. But for sure it is bad to lose children. Bad, yes; except suffering and enduring these (losses) is worse.

quid tantum insano iuvat indulgere dolori,

o dulcis coniunx? non haec sine numine divom

eveniunt; nec te hinc comitem asportare Creusam

fas, aut ille sinit superi regnator Olympi.’

VIRGIL  (Ch. 17, 8; Creusa to Aeneas)

‘What help is it to yield so much to your demented grief, sweet husband? These things do not happen without the will of the gods; it is not right for you to take Creusa from here as your companion, nor does that ruler of Olympus on high allow it.’

‘pone crucem servo.’ ‘meruit quo crimine servus
supplicium? quis testis adest? quis detulit? audi;
nulla umquam de morte hominis cunctatio longa est.’

‘o demens, ita servus homo est? nil fecerit, esto:
hoc volo, sic iubeo, sit pro ratione voluntas.’
imperat ergo viro.

JUVENAL  (Ch. 18, 2; imaginary husband and wife)

     ‘Set up the cross for the slave.’ (She says)

     ‘On what charge has the slave deserved punishment. Who is present as witness? Who accused him? Hear him. No delay is ever long when it comes to the death of a human being.’

     ‘You fool, is a slave thus a human being? He has done nothing? So be it. This I want and thus I command. My whim may serve as procedure.’ And so she bosses her husband.

‘quid vos,’ inquit, ‘iumentum me putatis esse aut

lapidariam navem? hominis operas locavi, non caballi.

nec minus liber sum quam vos, etiam si pauperem pater

me reliquit.’ nec contentus maledictis tollebat subinde

altius pedem et strepitu obsceno simul atque odore

viam implebat.

PETRONIUS  (Ch. 18, 13; a porter demands more respect)

‘Why,’ he said, ‘do you think I am a pack-animal or a ship that transports stone? I have contracted the duties of a man, not of a horse. I am no less a free man than yourselves, even if my father did leave me a pauper.’ And not content with his abuse he then lifted one foot higher (than the other) and simultaneously filled the road with an obscene noise and smell.

mercatura autem, si tenuis est, sordida putanda est;

sin magna et copiosa, non est vituperanda. omnium

autem rerum ex quibus aliquid acquiritur, nihil est

agri cultura melius, nihil uberius, nihil dulcius, nihil

homine libero dignius.

CICERO  (Ch. 20, 4)

Now if an enterprise is small it should be considered demeaning; but if large and expansive, it is not to be disparaged. Of all things, however, from which a living is made, nothing is better than agriculture, nothing more fruitful, nothing sweeter, nothing more worthy of a free man.

‘bene pascere’; quid secundum: ‘satis bene pascere’;

quid tertium:‘male pascere’; quid quartum: ‘arare’;

et cum ille, qui quaesierat, dixisset: ‘quid faenerari?’,

tum Cato: ‘quid hominem,’ inquit, ‘occidere?’

CICERO  (Ch. 20, 5; Cato the Elder on the best occupations)

    ‘Raising livestock well.’

    ‘What second?’

    ‘Raising livestock well enough.’

    ‘What third?’

    ‘Raising livestock badly.’

    ‘And fourth?’

    ‘Arable farming.’

And when his questioner had asked ‘What of money-lending?’ then Cato replied ‘What about killing a man?’

languebam: sed tu comitatus protinus ad me

    venisti centum, Symmache, discipulis.
centum me tetigere manus aquilone gelatae:
    non habui febrem, Symmache, nunc habeo

MARTIAL  (Ch. 20, 10; addressed to a doctor)

I was unwell: but in no time you made a visit to me, Symmachus, with a hundred students in tow. A hundred hands chilled by the north wind fingered me: I did not have a fever, Symmachus. I do now.

quid ille nobis boni fecit? dedit gladiatores sestertiarios

iam decrepitos, quos si sufflasses, cecidissent; iam meliores

bestiarios vidi.

PETRONIUS  (Ch. 21, 9)

What good has that man done for us? He produced gladiators worth tuppence, already decrepit, who, had you blown on them, would have collapsed; I have seen better animal-fighters before now.

beatus ille qui procul negotiis,

   ut prisca gens mortalium,

paterna rura bobus exercet suis

   solutus omni faenore;

libet iacere modo sub antiqua ilice,

   modo in tenaci gramine.

HORACE  (Ch. 22, 2)

Happy is he who, like the ancient race of mortals, is far from (the world of) business and works his father’s land with his oxen, free from all mortgage payments; it pleases him to lie down, now under an old oak tree, now on the clinging grass.

habui equos, viros, arma, opes: quid mirum, si haec invitus

amisi? nam si vos omnibus imperitare vultis, sequitur ut

omnes servitutem accipiant?

TACITUS  (Ch. 23, 4; Caratacus addresses his captors in Rome)

I had horses, men, arms, wealth: why is it surprising if I was unwilling to lose these things? Just because you want to rule over everyone does it follow that everyone should welcome their slavery?

                                dum Proserpina luco

ludit et aut violas aut candida lilia carpit,

dumque puellari studio calathosque sinumque

implet et aequales certat superare legendo,

paene simul visa est dilectaque raptaque Diti.

OVID  (Ch. 24, 6)

While Proserpina was playing in the grove and picking either violets or white lilies, and while with girlish eagerness she was filling her baskets and her bosom and striving to outdo her companions in picking (the flowers), almost in the same instant she was seen and fancied and snatched by Dis.

                     facilis descensus Averno:

noctes atque dies patet atri ianua Ditis;
sed revocare gradum superasque evadere ad auras,
hoc opus, hic labor est.

VIRGIL  (Ch. 24, 12)

The descent to Avernus is easy. Night and day the door of gloomy Dis lies open; but to retrace your step and escape to the air above, this is the task, this the struggle.

nam si supremus ille dies non exstinctionem, sed

commutationem affert loci, quid optabilius? sin autem

perimit ac delet omnino, quid melius quam in mediis

vitae laboribus obdormiscere?

CICERO  (Ch. 24, 14)

For if that last day brings not exstinction but a change of abode, what is more desirable? But if it brings the end, completely and utterly, what is better than to fall asleep in the middle of life’s toils?

tu ne quaesieris, scire nefas, quem mihi, quem tibi

finem di dederint, Leuconoe, nec Babylonios

temptaris numeros. ut melius quicquid erit pati,
seu pluris hiemes seu tribuit Iuppiter ultimam,
quae nunc oppositis debilitat pumicibus mare
Tyrrhenum. sapias, vina liques, et spatio brevi

spem longam reseces. dum loquimur, fugerit invida

aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.

HORACE  (Ch. 25, 6)

You should not inquire – it’s not right to know – what end the gods have given to me or to you, Leuconoë, nor should you dabble in Babylonian astrology. How much better it is to take whatever comes, whether Jupiter has granted more winters or this is the last, which now wears out the Etruscan sea on opposing rocks. Be wise, decant the wine and trim your long-term ambition to a brief span. Even as we speak, the unkind hour has slipped away: enjoy the moment, and trust as little as possible in tomorrow.
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