New novel written in Latin

I heard today that there is a (nutty?) college professor in Seattle called Stephen Berard who has written and published a 600 page murder fantasy novel in Latin.

The title is: “Capti: Fabula Menippeo-Hoffmanniana Americana” (It is available on Amazon.)

Apparently it is written in fine classical Latin prose, but is set in modern day America. I guess this might be of great interest to advanced learners of Latin?

(Prof Berard plans to write a whole series of these books, I believe.)

Thanks for sharing this, Jay. I will check it out.

@IT: “…How hard can it be to read Latin if someone already knows some Italian (hint)?”

Mmm…non lo so…leggere un libro in Latino sarebbe secondo me molto difficile, anche per chi sa leggere abbastanza bene l’Italiano.

So leggere un po’ in Italiano, anch’io, ma di sicuro non riuscirei mai a capire due rige di Latino, a meno che io lo avessi (?) imparato prima come “beginner’s language”! (Come si dice questo? “lingua per pricipianti”…?)

A me piacerebbe molto leggere e scrivere Latino, ma ci vorrebbero probabilmente 5 anni di studio - purtroppo!


You’re welcome :wink:

Übrigens: ich habe dieses Buch von Prof Berard auch im Internet bestellt - für den Fall, dass ich es doch irgendwann mal schaffe, Latein zu lernen. :smiley:

(Aber eine Sprache wie Latein oder Altgriechisch lässt sich nur langsam und mit unglaublich vieler Mühe beherrschen, denke ich.)

Thanks! I just purchased a copy from Amazon:">

@ polyglot2 :
Your link is an “Amazon referral code”, isn’t it ? :wink:

You’re welcome. (Und viel Spaß beim Lesen!)

Jay, Thanks! for the ref. And thanks for the link, polyglot2. I’d never heard of this new book, and I’ll definitely buy a copy. This is great, especially if Prof. Berard will write more.

IT > a summer school/workshop where people are learning to speak Latin with the best Latin speakers available . . .

You probably mean the Conventiculum Latinum Lexingtoniense, which is the best known of these in the U.S. , but Stephan Berard, the author of the book Jay mentioned, runs another such, which is well known: . There are several others around the U.S., in Europe, and even in the Far East. Here’s a page w/ many of them listed: . Most have already taken place this year, but there is always next year.

Another “modern” (100 years ago) mystery, translated into Latin; is the Mysterium arcae Boulé ; it is linked to from this page, Arcadius Avellanus: Insula Thesauraria - De vita et operibus Avellani , where other good translations by the same person, Arcadius Avellanus, are listed, with links–Treasure Island; a seafaring story about the Phoenicians (originally written in French); a collection of fairy tales, etc. All these books are available as publish-on-demand books from, too. And there is also this, CirLaLu - C. Tiburtii Dextri memorabilia (which I have not read yet, but it looks good; the “folia” are composed in page order; those marked “liber” are arranged for printing, w/ pages out of order; or select “in computatro”; those listed to the right have facing French translations).

However, I’d say the S. Berard book would be the book to buy. Living authors should be encouraged!

[edited to add link to C. Tiburtii Dextri Memorabilia in the penultimate paragraph, which I’d left out.]

Thanks for the links, Ernie :wink:

(If I ever did get into Latin, these would be excellent resources - especially the translations of modern works.)

You’re welcome. I hope you enjoy them. Notice that a link to online material was added to the 2nd-to-last paragraph of that post, which was left out, originally.

BTW I see that the well respected “Lingua Latina” series also includes a concise grammar of the language which is written completely in simple Latin:

(An online preview can be found at Amazon’s UK site,

There are certainly some interesting Latin resources out there!

Good stuff, Jay. This is a book very much in the spirit of LingQ, if the audio recordings are used. You can get a very good idea of its method by looking here: and clicking on “See Table of Contents / Excerpt”; click forward to page 7, as a reading of the text should soon commence, and you can follow along.

That’s it–just the text, and recordings if you buy them. The recording on the website is what is on the CD that can be purchased from the (American) publisher’s site, or amazon, etc. The book has gone up in price somewhat, now that it is a full-color edition (which adds nothing, really), but it is still well worth the price, and there are all sorts of ancillary materials offered nowadays. Note that the book is the first half (or so) of the method; things grow rather more complex in the second part. But I bet anyone who completes this first book will be hooked on Latin.

For someone who does not like the grammar-translation way of learning, Lingua Latina provides one of the few ways in English, at least, to tackle Latin from the beginning.

Another is this: A Practical Grammar of the Latin Language; with Perpetual Exercises in ... - George J. Adler - Google Books , with key: A Key to the Exercises Contained in Adler's Practical Grammar of the Latin ... - George J. Adler - Google Books . There are amateur audio recordings available for it as well: Latinum Institute: Adler. A Latin Language Immersion Course. . Click on “Buy this DVD” to see a list of Latin recordings available. (Michele, the pronunciation is a sort of relaxed “Restored Pronunciation,” w/ a definite British or South African flavor, IIRC.)

Will either of these methods work? I don’t know, as I can’t try them ab initio, but they would certainly be worth trying if you want a more LinqQ-like experience.

There is another non-traditional method available in English, without recordings: THE MASTERY SERIES LATIN : THOMAS PRENDERGAST : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive . This is definitely not like LingQ.

As ever, my apologies to those not in the U.S. if these links do not work. If they don’t but you are interested, drop me a message on my wall; we can probably work something out by e-mail, as i have downloaded/bought all of these materials, other than the audio for the Adler method.

I’d like to learn Latin, as I am already learning two Latin based languages, but my goodness, how can I keep from getting it mixed up with my Spanish and Portuguese? :stuck_out_tongue: Some people say the way to not get two similar languages mixed up is to use them every day, but who speaks Latin in their daily life nowadays?

Steve M.,

how can I keep from getting [Latin] mixed up with my Spanish and Portuguese?

By waiting until you will not be doing 3 related languages at once. However, you may find Latin with Spanish and Portuguese to be no problem. It it’s what you want to do, try it, figuring that you can put Latin aside for later if it turns out to be too confusing.


The Adler textbook and the recordings look very interesting. Do you happen to know what the Mp3 downloads contain? I see that there is a massive 200 hours of audio in total - but is this all done in Latin? And what kind of content is it, I wonder? (Storyline? Example sentences?)

Something like this could be very good indeed - especially if it were in the nature of a Linguahone or Assimil course.

Of course, Assimil actually has (or used to have) a Latin course in their range - but the recordings were a big let down, I hear.

Ray, The recordings for the Adler book may be still available online. They used to be part of a blog, I think. As they are now for sale, perhaps there are samples to be found. If I come across something like that, I’ll post it on this thread. I at one point saw a You Tube presentation that was related . . . well, this isn’t what I meant, but it may be of some help: . Ah, here is what I remember: . I think this is taken from the beginning of the Adler book. For the audio (non-video) recording, I suppose he simply reads the Latin, but that is purely a guess.

Assimil . . . the recordings were a big let down, I hear.

You probably heard that from me in another thread on LingQ. Assimil has had two Latin courses. The first (by Desessard), from the mid 1960s, was very well thought of by many. To me the recordings were disappointing, as the actors had very strong French accents, and the Exercises were not recorded. But the recordings were much better than nothing, and the course itself was typical of the older Assimil materials. Assimil issued a new course (by Ducos-Filippi) a few years ago, allowing the older course to go out of print (although supplies of the Italian version of the book may still not have been exhausted). I’ve not seen it, and have only heard from fans of the older course, who disliked the new method intensely. Neither of these courses has been officially translated into English, that I know of.

There’s a group that works through the older Assimil course (taking a year or two, depending on the section). You can find out about them here, I think: SCHOLA LATINA EUROPÆA & UNIVERSALIS. Latiné loqui disce sine molestiá! Learn to speak Latin with ease! ¡Aprende a hablar latín sin esfuerzo! Apprenez à parler latin sans peine! Impara a parlare latino senza sforzo! Lernen Sie Latein zu sprechen ohne Mühe! . The course is very well set up, and I would recommend it, although I am not familiar w/ the current instructor. IIRC, their next run-through starts in September. You MUST have the recordings and book to sign up with them. If you’re interested, get in touch with them. They’re generally very nice people.

If you are interested in the ASSIMIL Desessard course, you can find it in the Italian edition now. It was printed few years ago and they recently added the recordings, where both classical and ecclesiastical pronunciations are used.

Thanks for the links. (You are a real goldmine of online classical resources!)

That is very interesting news. Do you know whether the new recordings are good? (BTW Ecclesiastical is basically the same as modern Italian, right?)

That is super. Thanks for mentioning it, Michele. Have you heard the recordings? If so, what do you think? (I mean the classical ones. I know you prefer the ecclesiastical.) It’s very generous and quite far sighted to provide recordings w/ both pronunciations.

It is odd that Assimil kept the Italian version in print, but not the French. I don’t see an Italian translation of the new Ducos-Filippi version mentioned on the French Assimil site. Perhaps it is not considered worth translating? And perhaps they’ll reissue the Desessard when the current run of the Ducos-Filippi set is exhaused. The old Desessard book is a v. good example of the Assimil method, and w/ better recordings than the old ones it would be excellent.

[added] You’re welcome, Ray. Hope you find something that suits you.

You know, at this rate you guys are going to motivate me to add Latin to my (already very optimistic) list of target languages! :wink:

Ernie, the guys at Assimil Italia told me they decided to adapt the French version of the Desessard method because the new French version was not so good. They also added that Assimil France regretted publishing this new course, so maybe they will reprint the Desessard course in the future.
I still haven’t listened to the lessons you referred to because I don’t have that course yet.

Jay, do add Latin to your list and you won’t regret it!