Review by: Kathy Conklin, Latin-bestpractices Yahoo! group - April 26, 2006
I love Latina Mythica!! It's great for first years. The vocab is on the corresponding pages, so you don't have to go through and keep flipping to the back. The beginning stories are definitely on a level which is accessible for them and they are enjoyable. Good brief intro to mythology in Latin. The kids (even my high schoolers) enjoy reading the myths. They groan at the Latin, but really enjoy the topic. It's also great for comparisons-I teach at a Catholic school, so when we did the
chapters with the creation story we talked about the bible's creation story.
I also have to admit I sit and read the stories myself :-) We aren't very far into the book, so just how difficult it gets I'm not sure-but what I have used of it, I really enjoy. I have my kids do the grammar and reading questions as well to keep them a little more on task.
Review by: Tracy Deline, Bryn Mawr Classical Review - April 24, 2006
Bonnie A. Catto, Latina Mythica. Wauconda, IL: Bolchazy-Carducci,
2006. Pp. xiv, 201. ISBN 0-86516-599-8. $24.00.
Reviewed by Tracy Deline, University of British Columbia
Word count: 829 words
To read a print-formatted version of this review, see
Latina Mythica is a graduated Latin reader designed for pedagogical
use. It contains twenty stories, in prose, of varying length (17-91
lines) based on Greek and Roman mythology, from the birth of the gods
to the prelude to the Trojan war. The grammar assumed is based on the
first twenty-two chapters of Wheelock's Latin.[] Students of any
standard Latin text, however, will find this work accessible. All
vocabulary is provided on the facing page or in the vocabulary at the
end of the book. Some vocabulary is repeated from one chapter to the
next for those who wish to read selected stories rather than reading
the entire book sequentially. C.'s preface (p. ix) details precisely
which grammatical constructions are assumed and which are not (e.g.
ablative absolutes, indirect speech, and subjunctives). The text
includes macrons throughout.
Each chapter includes a number of features: (a) an introductory
paragraph outlining the context for the myth, a feature which is very
helpful for all those students who do not have a strong background in
Classics; (b) a list of the ancient sources for the myth, mainly
poetic, from which C. has drawn material for her version of the story;
(c) grammar and comprehension questions; (d) discussion questions; (e)
a brief section on the cultural influence of the myths. The grammar and
comprehension questions are the sort that an instructor would ask in
class; the presence of the questions already in the book will encourage
students to learn to ask these questions of the text on their own. The
discussion questions aim to engage students in an appreciation of the
wider issues brought up in the stories, from ancient culture tidbits
(e.g. What animal was normally sacrificed to Jupiter? ch. 4) to broad
and provocative issues that could easily derail the class (e.g. Compare
the Ovidian version of the flood with those in the Epic of Gilgamesh
and the Bible. ch. 7). The final section in each chapter is a selective
list of post-classical cultural influences of the myth on art,
literature, and music, which reminds students that classical subject
matter has influenced western culture for centuries and is still
relevant in our modern world.
C. has succeeded in providing a series of stories that are dynamic and
intrinsically interesting as well as culturally and linguistically
enlightening. The stories are paced well and have sufficient
information for clarity and enough detail for interest. The stories are
almost entirely narrative in form, so the lack of more complex syntax
does not harm the presentation of the myth.
My main criticism of C.'s reader is that the progression of increasing
grammatical complexity is quite slow. This could be seen as either a
strength, since students can read with speed and confidence through the
early sections of the book and focus on enriching their vocabulary
skills, or a weakness, since, in a course where new grammatical skills
are presented continuously, a reader that does not progress at a
matching pace is difficult to use in the classroom. A helpful feature
might be to include a note with each chapter that specifies what new
grammar is included, thereby allowing an instructor to see at a glance
which chapters would be suitable to use at a given point in their class
(analogous to that given in 38 Latin Stories).[] Because the more
complicated grammar is generally glossed, this reader would be an ideal
tool for a student studying independently.
A few quibbles. In a few instances, a vocabulary listing has migrated
from its designated place to the opposite column on the page (twice in
chapter 3). There are also a few instances in which glosses were
wanting, as for example, an idiomatic use of the verb duco in chapter
7. Most proper names are glossed; all should be glossed. In my
experience, students have difficulty predicting the nominative form and
the declension pattern of proper names, particularly Greek names (which
abound in C.'s stories).
A note about methodology. C. states explicitly that constructions which
do not occur in the first twenty-two chapters of Wheelock's Latin will
be glossed throughout the text. For example, since knowledge of
indirect statement is not assumed, the indirect statement in line one
of chapter 1 is glossed, but by line 23 of chapter 3 an indirect
statement is present without a gloss, and subsequently simple indirect
statements are used with some frequency. On the other hand, there is
not a single ablative absolute in the entire text (a construction
introduced in Wheelock's Latin before indirect statement). Having said
that, it is very clear that C.'s reader is meant to be a resource
alongside a textbook and does not intend to teach new grammar.
On the whole, this reader is a success, and the content of the stories
themselves balances out any minor shortcomings in syntactical content.
I look forward to using Latina Mythica in my own teaching. The book is
pleasing in size and appearance, and the price is within reach of
1. Wheelock's Latin, sixth edition, revised by Richard A. LaFleur.
New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2005.
2. Groton and May, 38 Latin Stories. Wauconda, Illinois:
Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Inc., 2001.
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Review by: James Cox, Midwest Book Review - April 1, 2006
Bonnie A. Catto
1000 Brown Street, Unit 101 Wauconda, IL 60084
0865165998 $TBA www.bolchazy.com
Enhanced with illustrations from Christopher J. White, Latina Mythica by Bonnie A Catto (Professor of Classics, Assumption College, Worcester, Massachusetts) is a highly accurate collection of classic Roman Mythology excerpts in Latin. Inclusive of grammar and comprehension questions, discussion questions, cultural influences of each myth in art, music, ballet, and literature, ten original black and white illustrations, map of place names mentioned in the myths, genealogical charts, list of ancient sources cited, bibliography, and an end vocabulary, Latino Mythica is a superb learning tool, and very strongly recommended for all students of the Latin language, as well as Roman culture and myth. Also strongly commended to Latin Studies collections is Professor Catto's earlier work, Lucretius. Selections From De Rerum Natura.