Books to teach latin

Does anyone know of any published lists of Tractatus/Summae on improving ones's latin? Searching online tends to get swamped by the fact that most books are written in latin....


The Travels of Fedoso, a famous Criamon text, is called out as a work many in the House read when first learning Latin.

A book to teach speaking Latin is very unlikely in the 13th century medieval world speaking Latin: this is, because Latin is the language to write books in that teach something.

Books in vernacular do exist: most are literature, some about local law and history, but they don't teach Latin.

Practicing to speak Latin by reading books reputed for their excellent Latin (like those of Cicero or Donatus) comes closest to learning Latin from a book in 13th century Latin Europe.

Magi may well write tractatus teaching spoken Latin to their apprentices in Mythic Europe.

A&A page 12 lists a few names that might narrow the search as well as discussing vocabularies/dictionaries and how to model them.

A&A p.12 lists books about Latin grammar - that is, in ArM5 technically about Artes Liberales. A house rule about learning to speak Latin from these books (by practice or even study) makes sense, however.

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(Serf's Parma) If I remember correctly my history classes, in this era, to learn Latin, you read the classic, there is no "manual" like Bled or Assimil for student. You learn per heart declinaison, all the theory, then you try to understand the text...
Teaching thinking was not really developped.

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Such a thing would almost have to be in the user's native language, neh? Meaning that even if there was one, it would be of fairly limited use outside of a limited geographical area.

With the simplistic method of teaching mentioned by @Zer above, I'd just say "hire a teacher."

Ah well. I was hoping for a published book in Latin to improve one's latin beyond the minimum 4 that is required to write a book, to the level of translating without loss of quality. I suppose I could just get the player to start writing poems to each other....

I think I will be using OneShot's solution though.

Thanks everyone!


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My saga had a moment where our scholastic Companion didn't quite understand the book rules, so wrote a summa on Latin. Seeing as you needed Latin 4 to read it, a Summa below level 5 is utterly worthless, but we did lend it to visiting scholars as a joke and several found it amusing.

Get your players to persuade a monk or scholar to write tractatus on "the correct composition of books" or "Holography for the novice", or "how to write an epic poem in ninety days".


Page 12, A&A -

In game terms, dictionaries are equivalent to tractatus, the relevant Ability being Latin.

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Brilliant! I'll get them reading dictionaries. They will all find it great fun...


De lingua latina libri XXV (25 books on Latin), by Marcus Terentius Varro (116 BC – 27 BC) was considered a great text in its own time, and ever after.

After that, it's ... a bit tricky, due to ArM5 mechanics. There are a lot of texts that do what you ask, and many of them went by the title Ars Grammatica, the most famous being that by Aelius Donatus. The problem is that ArM5 considers "grammar" one of the seven Artes Liberales, so one is tempted to consider those books as Artes Liberales books ... while they really teach you Latin (or, rather, improve it, exactly as you ask).

This work was to our knowledge available only in fragments in the 13th century: see here.

In the modern paradigm, the best way to learn a language (written or spoken) is to practice by reading or conversing.

Unfortunately, I don't think ArM deals well with this. There's no 'Noodle Around in the Library for Three Months' learning experience.

You can get Exposure simply by doing something related, though. So, Latin can improve simply by studying something written in Latin, up to a certain level.

Well, the chapter on long-term activities does give examples of exposure xp - it allows a study total of up to 8 for speaking to people to learn a language, the problem is finding speakers of a living language spoken nearby can be easy, trying to find a community of Latin speakers may be harder.

University scholars are supposed to speak Latin, but if you're hanging around students you can probably go to lectures!
Monks may speak Latin, but are often restricted in when they can speak - you may end up splitting your exposure xp between Latin and the type of sign language that monastery uses.

There's also the "Academic Learning and Experience Points" box, p. 96 of A&A.
It contains the option of spreading out your XPs in any season during which you are being taught an Academic Ability, between that ability and Latin (and Teaching).

Right, you can get a lot of xp using the 'practice' option for language immersion. It's harder for Latin, since it's only used truly regularly by magi. I remember the rule from A&A but my group mostly avoided the book. The biggest problem is if you're trying to get up to a skill of 5 to write a book and you're the first person in your covenant trying to get there. :wink:

So true.

In our Sundered Eagle saga, we bought a bunch of tractati from Alexandria, four Q8 books gets the job done. :wink:

IIRC, we simply ended up hiring one of those tiresome Latins that Constantinopolis was suddenly full of, to teach us. :wink: