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Latin Literature

Three Main Dialects of Ancient Speech

Umbrian, Oscan, Latin


Spoken from about 800 BC in a small area of Latium, became enriched by features of local Sabine and Etruscan speech and mostly by Greek.

Latin Alphabet

contained twenty-one letters, came to the Romans from Greece by the way of the ancient Etruscans, Y and Z taken from greeks, adapted from etruscan alphabet, K,X,Y,Z used only in greek words, J variant of I, U variant of V

Latin Literature

written to be read or spoken aloud,


the inner part of the bark of a tree which was used as writing tablets by the Ancient Italians


our equivalent of books, means Roll


changes in the form of a word to indicate:gender, number, case,person,degree,voice,mood, or tense.

Iambic Pentameter

a poetic meter that is made up of 5 stressed syllables each followed by an unstressed syllable

Dactylic Hexameter

line of poetry: 6 feet per line, each is either a dactyl (long-short-short) or spondee (long-long), except the 5th foot, which must be a dactyl. equivalent line in Latin Poetry.


A line of verse with 11 syllables used by Catullus and Martial


can never totally recapture all aspects of the original, but it can reflect its spirit: the meaning, flower, and often the flow. craft of creative imagination

Quintus Ennius

239-169 BC, regarded as the father of Latin poetry. "Chaucer of Roman literature"

Lyric Poetry

the composer presents their personal thoughts or feelings. In Ancient Rome, two main contributors: 1) Catullus and Horace.


87-54 B.C. Roman poet. Master at refining and adapting greek forms to produce emotions. Wrote about political figures, social costumes, death, love.


a prominent poet. He wrote about "funny tidbits" (human weaknesses) of the Romans. In Satires, he attacks job dissatisfaction and human greed.(65-8 BC)


lived during Augustus reign, was the greatest of the Roman poets. His epic poem, the Aeneid, tells the story of Aeneas, a prince of Troy. (70-19)

Elegiac Poetry

a type of lyric poetry where the loss of someone or something is mourned. two main contributors: Propertius and Ovid

Sextus Propertius

50-15 BC. much of his poetry is filled with academic allusions and pervaded with melancholy, but the emotions read as though they are sincerely expressed


Roman poet who wrote love lyrics and the Metamorphoses, remembered for his elegiac verses on love (43 BC - AD 17), Roman poet exiled by Augustus for sensual poetry considered out of touch with the imperial policies stressing family virtues


means inscription. in verse, on a tombstone or accompanying an offering. eventually would stand for any poem.


form of literature in which irony, sarcasm, and ridicule are employed to attack human vice and folly. Two main writers. Martial and Juvenal

Marcus Martialis

(AD 40-104) Spaniard from Bilbilis who came to ROme in AD 64 and was taken up by his literary fellow Seneca.


Roman satirist who denounced the vice and folly of Roman society during the reign of the emperor Domitian (60-140)


Roman satirist. wrote the Satyrican (novel). Provided vivd recreation of early empire and behavior of Roman people. He served as consul in 62 CE and was thought to have been the author of Satyricon. He ultimately took his own life after being falsely-accused of treason. (d. AD 66) best known for Trimalchio's Dinner Party


He wrote about Cupid and Psyche; most famous work was "Metamorphoses." (b.AD 125)


conqueror of Gaul and master of Italy (100-44 BC)


Roman historian whose history of Rome filled 142 volumes (of which only 35 survive) including the earliest history of the war with Hannibal (59 BC to AD 17)


A Roman historian who presented the facts accurately. He wrote about the good and the bad of imperial Rome in his Annals and Histories.


Roman historian who had access to imperial records and recorded the expulsion of the Jews in Rome who followed Jesus


Roman statesman and philosopher who was an advisor to Nero ((4 BC- AD 65)

Pliny The Elder

Roman author of an encylclopedic natural history (23-79) died while observing the eruption of vesuvius.

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