Upper School Courses

Upper School Classical Languages

The Classical Languages Department offers students the opportunity to study Latin in our six-level curriculum and ancient Greek through Independent Study. The mission of the department is to equip students with the linguistic and analytical skills to understand these two languages of the ancient Mediterranean world in order to assess their histories, cultures, and literatures.

On their journey with these languages, students are given ample opportunity to examine modernity critically with an eye toward the future. Language study is often augmented by field trips, participation in the Junior Classical League and the Classics Club, trips to Italy and Greece, and guest speakers. Students may begin their language study at any grade level, but must fulfill the School’s language graduation requirement of three years of study if beginning at level I.

List of 5 items.

  • Latin I

    The life of the Roman poet Horace, known best to us from the phrase “carpe diem,” unfolds in our textbook series the Oxford Latin Course. In Part I, students read his early life story in Latin, which is set in his hometown, Venusia. Through explorations in vocabulary, grammar, and syntax, students learn how to read and analyze graduated stories about Horace as well as subjects he would have studied as a young boy, including the Trojan War, stories of Greek and Roman mythology, and early Roman history. Students also learn about Latin roots of English words, pronunciation of classical Latin, and life in the Late Roman Republic. By the end of the year, students will have learned all the cases of the first three declensions of nouns, the present tense of all verbs, and a wide variety of sentence patterns. During the course of the year students take on special projects to enhance their understanding of ancient civilization.
  • Latin II

    Latin II continues with the Oxford Latin Course Part II, introducing students to the grammar topics and sentence structures that form the core of ancient Latin literature, with an added focus on etymology and word-building using Latin roots. We follow the life of the the Roman poet Horace through the tumultuous reign and assassination of Julius Caesar and into the civil wars of the 40s and 30s BCE. Beyond grammar and syntax, Latin II students will explore the nature of Roman civic life, from gladiatorial combats and circus games, to the supreme military parade, the Roman triumph. By the end of the year, students will be familiar with all the active and passive voice, relative clauses, and all the verb tenses, paving the way for their first forays into Roman poetic literature in Latin III. Prerequisite: Latin I. For new students placement in the sequence is determined by examination.
  • Latin III

    Latin III concludes the textbook series the Oxford Latin Course with Horace’s adult life after the tumultuous wars that plagued Rome through the 30s BCE. Horace returns to Italy, takes up writing, and begins producing the poetry that has inspired writers for millennia. Eventually, Horace becomes friends with the first Roman Emperor, Augustus Caesar, and his sphere of influence widens significantly. Students read both adapted and unadapted excerpts from a number of ancient authors, but especially Horace and Vergil. Through these readings and classroom discussions, students are given a thorough picture of the complex political scene that marked the transition from Republic to Empire and a series of topics in the realm of philosophy that helped shape an entire civilization. Students conclude their major study of grammar by exploring subjunctive verb forms and the many constructions that employed the subjunctive. By the end of the year, students could sit for the SAT II Subject Test in Latin. Prerequisite: Latin II. For new students placement in the sequence is determined by examination.
  • Latin IV

    Latin IV marks a transition in Latin study, shifting focus from mastering grammar and syntax to reading and evaluating Roman literature in its cultural and historical context. These real-life texts serve as the catalyst not only for solidifying students’ understanding of the way the language works, but also for exploring the nature of rhetoric and artistic representation with the written word. Reading selections may come from Vergil, Catullus, Ovid, Cicero, Caesar, Livy, and Horace (or other texts as chosen by the instructor). In addition to poetic scansion and literary devices, students will explore the social, cultural, and political context of these authors. For students interested in sitting for the AP Examination in Latin, arrangements must be made at the start of the year with the instructor to prepare according to the syllabus for that exam, which does not coincide with the syllabus for this course.
  • Advanced Latin V/VI

    Students build upon their reading and analytical skills form Latin IV by reading, writing, and discussing upon a rich array of works on a variety of subjects, including mythology, politics, satire, law, and philosophy, usually drawn from a list of well-known authors. Students often will read “beyond the text” by examining literary criticism and deep contextual aspects of each work. Reading selections may come from Vergil, Catullus, Ovid, Cicero, Caesar, Livy, and Horace (or other texts as chosen by the instructor). Students will not repeat readings throughout their time in Latin IV, V, and VI. For students interested in sitting for the AP Examination in Latin, arrangements must be made at the start of the year with the instructor to prepare according to the syllabus for that exam, which does not coincide with the syllabus for this course.
Address: 6500 St. Stephen's Drive Austin, Texas 78746
Phone: 512-327-1213