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Latinitium: Year in Review 2019

This article has been reviewed in accordance with our editorial policy.

Legentibus-Latin-audiobooks-and-ebooks

As one year ends and anoth­er one begins, it is only prop­er to reflect on the past year and appre­ci­ate what has been and, at the same time, get excit­ed over what is to come. This time around we not only leave a year behind, but an entire decade as we step into the 20’s. Let’s hope it will be roaring!

2019 was for Latini­tium a year of ups and downs. We began with an up hav­ing just launched our first book and audio­book in easy Latin: Pugio Bru­ti – A Crime Sto­ry in Easy Latin. It was a great feel­ing! The book was so well received we felt quite over­whelmed. Let’s just say the feel­ing kept us warm all through the cold Swedish winter.

How­ev­er, we did not rest on our lau­rels but kept on work­ing and a few months into the new year, we were final­ly ready to release an online course to go with the book. We want­ed to make this course not only suit­able for Latin learn­ers, but also for teach­ers want­i­ng to use it and the mate­ri­als it con­tains in school.

The year has not all been about Pugio Bru­ti, though.

Far from it.

How to learn Latin and the blessing of guest authors

One of the most impor­tant things we did this year was writ­ing and pub­lish­ing an arti­cle on how to learn Latin. The arti­cle, called How to learn Latin: Moti­va­tion, Goals, and Habits, is the first part of a planned three-part series. Daniel has sort­ed through his many years of expe­ri­ence in learn­ing and teach­ing Latin, to make an ulti­mate guide for every­one who wants to learn, or is already learn­ing Latin. 

This first part focus­es on the impor­tance of hav­ing moti­va­tion for your stud­ies, set­ting goals, and devel­op­ing habits. I can strong­ly rec­om­mend read­ing or re-read­ing it now when a new year is about to begin. Part two and three are on-route for 2020. 

We have also been graced by a few guest authors this year; Dirk Sacré, Tom Kee­line, and Peter Barrios-Lech. 

Dirk Sacré gave us a great arti­cle in Latin called De flo­ri­le­gi Latini­tatis neo­ter­i­cae a Mile­na Minko­va appa­ra­to. Tom Kee­line, assis­tant pro­fes­sor of Clas­sics, caused quite a stir with the head­line of his arti­cle Is “read­ing” Latin impos­si­ble? From asso­ciate pro­fes­sor of Clas­sics Peter Bar­rios-Lech, we got to dive into dif­fer­ences between the use of the sub­junc­tive and indica­tive in indi­rect ques­tions in his thor­ough arti­cle The indi­rect ques­tion in Latin

Out of the “office”

Just like last year, Latini­tium left Swe­den on a few occa­sions to attend con­fer­ences and sem­i­nars. Dur­ing the sum­mer, we went to Rome, where Daniel attend­ed the Acad­e­mi­ae Latini­tati Foven­dae con­fer­ence. There he was elect­ed mem­ber of the Acad­e­mia, and gave a brief ora­tio ini­tialis in Latin.

Once the con­fer­ence was over, we stayed in Italy but head­ed south to vis­it the amaz­ing arche­o­log­i­cal dig of Her­cu­la­neum. This town was, just like Pom­peii, buried as Mount Vesu­vius erupt­ed in 79 A.D. Not only did we vis­it the site, but we brought our cam­era and filmed a doc­u­men­tary for you. You can find it here:

Dur­ing the fall we went to Valen­cia to par­tic­i­pate in Col­legium Latini­tatis sem­i­nar­i­um Fac­ta Romano­rum Mem­o­ra­bil­ia at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Valen­cia, Spain. Daniel held a speech called Lit­ter­ae per saec­u­la sepul­tae about a very spe­cial text by Dic­tys Creten­sis and taught a class about the part in Satyri­con with were­wolves. Both the speech and the class were filmed by Col­legium Latini­tatis. You will find them below:

Speak­ing of film­ing and videos, we nat­u­ral­ly kept our tra­di­tion once we’d returned from Spain, and made scary video for Hal­loween. This year we turned to sup­pos­ed­ly real events that took place between  a Swedish ghost and a pas­tor in the fall of 1632.

The downs

So far we’ve only spo­ken about ups, we did have a big down this year though:

The chat we called Exedri­um

We want­ed to cre­ate a place where peo­ple could meet and prac­tice their Latin in real time. As the Latin com­mu­ni­ty is spread out over the world, it is some­times dif­fi­cult to find some­one to talk to, some­one to prac­tice with, and at times you are com­plete­ly on your own. Many of you have voiced a desire to have a plat­form, or some­thing to com­mu­ni­cate or find pen­pals through or some­thing of the like. 

Great idea!

So, we rolled up our sleeves and went to work. After a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (ok, per­haps not that dra­mat­ic, but after a lot of work), we cre­at­ed a cha­t­room where peo­ple could meet and chat in Latin. We were so excited. 

And it worked!

It took off like a rock­et. It was amaz­ing to watch. But, it only worked for a short while. Sev­er­al things were against us, the most impor­tant one per­haps being time itself. 

As the Latin com­mu­ni­ty is spread out accross the world, we keep dif­fer­ent times. When it’s evening here, it’s mid­day, morn­ing, or night in oth­er parts of the world. Get­ting enough peo­ple to show up in the chat at the same time proved to be dif­fi­cult when the ini­tial buzz had died down. We tried to sug­gest times, but in the end the chat emp­tied and we made the dif­fi­cult deci­sion to shut it down. Per­haps it will return in the future. 

Back to fun stuff now!

A digital anthology for the 21st century

As Sep­tem­ber began and leaves start­ed to turn red and orange on the trees out­side, we launched our biggest project yet: a dig­i­tal anthology.

This anthol­o­gy will go through 2000 years of Latin prose. We began with a “chap­ter” about Ennius c. 200 B.C. and have now reached Cicero (watch out for Julius Cae­sar as he is next up).

We want­ed to do this prop­er­ly, not only as an ordi­nary anthol­o­gy with a text and a few lines about the author. Instead, we decid­ed to write prop­er arti­cles about each author, choose a text from said author and pro­vide you with both an audio record­ing, a video of that text along with an Eng­lish trans­la­tion, and a com­men­tary. That way, the anthol­o­gy can work as a way of learn­ing about Roman authors as well as a way to dis­cov­er new excit­ing texts and authors, and as study­ing mate­r­i­al for learn­ing Latin. 

Improvements (to say the least!)

With 2000 years of Latin Prose out, it was time for the next big thing: an update for our Latin dic­tio­nar­ies.

Pre­vi­ous­ly we’ve pro­vid­ed you with two digi­tised Latin dic­tio­nar­ies. Now, we updat­ed this with two more, and made it pos­si­ble to search them all at once, from one site. All thanks to the amaz­ing work of our dear friend Johan Winge. 

We also realised, with all these new things on the web­site, that we need­ed to clean up a lit­tle bit. So many things have hap­pened since 2016 when we were new­borns – so many videos, so much audio, arti­cles, books, resources, links. So we rearranged it and made things eas­i­er to find. 

Membership community

We have not only pub­lished a lot of great things on Latinitum.com, but on our mem­ber­ship site.

For those of you who are not aware: We have a mem­ber­ship site via Patre­on where you can sup­port Latini­tium to help us going. There, you can also cre­ate a habit of watch­ing Latin videos every week, get access to more audio, ear­ly access to the audio­books we pro­duce, video lessons, and a lot more. You can learn more about it here.

This year, we pub­lished quite a lot:

Every Fri­day (!), we record­ed a week­ly mes­sage in Latin talk­ing about what’s hap­pened, or not, dur­ing the week, and giv­ing you an insight into our work. These videos are also try­ing to get mem­bers to get into the habit of lis­ten­ing to Latin atleast once a week. 

Most Fri­days we also record­ed a longer video les­son where Daniel explained a text, told a sto­ry, talked about an expres­sion, or some­thing like that. We also brought you along on some adven­tures when we went look­ing for a Roman tomb and a cave.

Dur­ing late fall, we also start­ed to pub­lish easy Latin sto­ries. A lot of our mate­r­i­al has not been for begin­ners in Latin, which is some­thing that’s been trou­bling us for a long time. So, now we’ve start­ed to cre­ate beginner’s Latin with easy sto­ries. They’re audio record­ings accom­pa­nied by a tran­script of the text as well as an Eng­lish trans­la­tion and some vocab­u­lary. We chose to release this to our mem­bers as they take quite a lot of time to pro­duce. We are also look­ing for some feed­back so that we can bring some easy Latin out­side of the mem­ber­ship site at a lat­er stage. 

December = Launch

We seem to have a thing for launch­ing things in Decem­ber, and this year it was time for the final part of the audio­book to the book Ad Alpes – A Tale of Roman Life. Through­out the year, we’ve pub­lished Ad Alpes the audio­book. We split it into three parts. And, in Decem­ber, it was time for the final part.

It was a long and bumpy road lead­ing up to the release – it took much longer than we antic­i­pat­ed due to whin­ing dogs, drilling neigh­bours, elec­tric nois­es, bro­ken micro­phones, soft­ware updates and so on and so forth. For a long time it felt like Ad Alpes was cursed, that we were not meant to turn it into an audio­book. But, as we say in Swe­den: ”skam den som ger sig” (shame on the one who gives up). And it is now final­ly out: 7 hours and 19 min­utes of Latin audio! 

Great way to end a year!

More years and more Latin to come

As we step into a new decade, we would like to take the oppor­tu­ni­ty to thank all of you for the sup­port, the reads, the vis­its, the use of our site, the com­ments and shout outs, the newslet­ter read­ing, the enthu­si­asm for our books and audio, for all the sup­port from our mem­bers, for all of it. We are so great­ful to have an audi­ence such as you!

We have a lot of hopes, dreams, and ideas for the new year, well for the new decade – a lot of them (but not all) con­cerns Latin. You’ll see.

Hap­py New Year! And Hap­py New Decade!

Amelie Rosengren

Amelie Rosengren

Amelie Rosengren, M.A. and co-founder of Latinitium, is a published author, illustrator and historian. She specializes in daily life, has a soft spot for historic curiosities, and works as a museum educator at the world’s oldest open air museum, Skansen.
Written by Amelie Rosengren

Written by Amelie Rosengren

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