This course is an introduction to extended prose reading with Caesar, and to Latin epic poetry based on Vergil’s Aeneid, reflecting the College Board’s most recent curriculum definition for AP Latin.
While it is my intention to prepare students for the Advanced Placement examination, the main goal of the course is and should be to master the material itself as well as possible. The student is not required to take the Advanced Placement exam, nor will its results in any way affect my own evaluation of student performance. I firmly believe that “teaching to the test” is indefensible, and that any course must be justified on the basis of its own content without reference to extrinsic hurdles.
That being the case, I hope to be able to awaken in students an awareness the subtlety and magnificence of Vergil’s achievement in itself, and also to show how it fits into the fabric of western literature — both as a culmination of the ancient epic tradition, and as an ancestor of a range of later literary products. At the same time, we will be pursuing a regular and rigorous review of Latin accidence, syntax, and vocabulary to support the reading. A student who completes this course, irrespective of the AP Exam itself, should be ready for upper-division college work in Latin.