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A Latin Epic Reader: Selections from Ten Epics

Series: BC Latin Readers
Author: Alison Keith
Product Code: 6862
ISBN: 978-0-86516-686-8
Pages: 214
Availability: In stock.
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Epic crowned the classical hierarchy of genres, in large part because of the prestige of its subject matter—the establishment and maintenance of divine and human order. In ancient Rome, epic’s significance begins with Ennius, who adaptated Greek dactylic hexameter into Latin, securing the genre’s primacy as a narrative vehicle for celebrating Roman achievements. From these beginnings Latin hexameter was refined in the poetry of Lucretius and Catullus; the form flourished in the hands of Vergil and his successors.


This edition offers twenty-seven selections from a rich corpus of ten Latin epic poets. Though the focus is on republican and Augustan epic, a sample of later imperial epic allows exploration of the full expanse of Rome's responses to her own history and political culture, and to the art, history, and literature of ancient Greece.


Special Features

  • Introduction to the Latin epic genre and its authors, Latin style, and meter
  • 624 lines of unadapted Latin text selected from ten epics: Ennius, Annales 34–50, 72–91, 175–79; Lucretius, De rerum natura 1.1–43, 1.936–50; Catullus, carmen 64.50–93; Vergil, Aeneid 1.1–11, 1.148–56, 1.338–68, 4.1–30, 4.160–72, 6.14–33, 6.179–82, 6.456–66, 8.625–34, 12.697–724; Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.1–20, 1.89–112, 4.706–39, 8.155–82, 8.741–76; Manilius, Astronomica 5.574–615; Lucan, Bellum Civile 2.1–15; Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 2.497–537; Statius, Thebaid 1.401–27, 6.84–117; Silius Italicus, Punica 1.1–28
  • Notes at the back and complete vocabulary
  • Suggested readings, glossary of literary terms, and three maps

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Review by: Sharon Kazmierski, The Classical Outlook - June 1, 2009
GOOD THINGS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES Bolchazy-Carducci has recently commenced launching the first titles in its Latin Reader series, a new collection of innovative high intermediate and advanced Latin readers, specifically designed for college-level study. Under the expert guidance of series editor Ronnie Ancona, Professor of Classics at Hunter College and The Graduate Center, City University of New York, these small, duodecimo-sized paperbacks are intended to introduce authors and genres to students in upper division undergraduate courses. Written by recognized experts, each book will include approximately 500-600 lines of authentic Latin text, accompanied by a thorough introduction, bibliography of suggested reading, annotated commentary, and full vocabulary. There are currently two volumes available, A Lucan Reader: Selections from Civil war (ISBN 978-0865166615) by Susanna Braund and A Terence Reader: Selections from Six Plays (978-0865166783) by William S. Anderson. According to the Bolchazy website, seventeen additional volumes are currently scheduled to be issued. Upcoming authors include Plautus, Sallust, Cicero, Sueconius, Tacitus, Vergil, Caesar, Martial, Apuleius, and Livy. Topics co be covered include Roman Women, Roman Verse Satire, Latin Epic, and Roman Army. Additional authors and themes are under consideration. The inaugural volume, A Lucan Reader, is an introduction to the Silver Age epic poem (often referred to as Pharsalia) retelling the events of the Civil War between Julius Caesar and Pompey. Rarely studied by third and fourth-year college Latin students, this reader provides the opportunity for advanced undergraduates to sample some difficult but fascinating Latin. Following a detailed and compelling introduction, Braund has selected high interest passages: the causes of the Civil war, Caesar at the Rubicon, the abandonment of Rome, the necromancy of Erichtho, Pompey's visitation by Julia's ghost, and Caesar in Troy. I have never read Lucan, bur now find myself intrigued. The second volume, A Terence Reader, released just this summer, is an introduction to Roman Comedy. Following a consistent format, Anderson's introduction provides essential background for students and a brief history of Roman Comedy. He then proceeds to explain what made Terence's plays unique, original and thought-provoking. Selections in this volume include excerpts from Andria, Heauton, Phormia, Hecyra, Eunuchus, and Adelphoe, followed by commentary to put the passages in context and provide grammatical assistance. There is also a helpful appendix, with information regarding comic meters. Fans of comedy will be happy to know that the next volume in the series, to be released later this year, will be A Plautus Reader: Selections from Eleven Plays (ISBN 978- 0-86516-694-2) by John Henderson. Given the size of these short readers, teachers and professors should find them useful when customizing a course. Professor Ancona notes that they are ideal for use in combination. I observe that they are inexpensive ($19.95) compared to many college textbooks. Instructors can feel free to mix and match authors and themes to suit their curriculum without causing too much damage to their students' bank accounts. Motivated readers of Latin can sample new authors and themes with expert guidance. Secondary school teachers may even wish to challenge their skilled Advanced Placement students after completing the exam, using some of these selections as a follow-up to the anticipated Caesar/Vergil syllabus. To discover more about this intriguing new collection, visit the BC Latin Readers website at http://www.bolchazy. com/readers/ where you can find out more about what will be included in each volume as well as read a short biography of each series author. To see Bolchazy's complete catalog, visit the main website at http://www.bolchazy.com. Questions may be directed to their customer service at info@bolchazy.com. You may also write their headquarters at Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Inc., 1570 Baskin Road, Mundelein, Illinois 60060, Tel, (800) 392- 6453, Fax: (847) 526-2867. -Sharon Kazmierski The Clearing House, Classical Outlook Fall 2009
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