The Gate to Caesar


Book Details

Author  Julius Caesar William Coe Collar
Publisher  Forgotten Books
Publication Date   July 5, 2012
Pages  166

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Caesar is a diilicult author. Some parts of his Gallic War are as hard, or nearly as hard, as any prose Latin that has come down to us. Yet it has somehow strangely enough become the fashion to read that work first in a Latin course. My own conviction is that for young learners a yearâs reading in easier Latin is not too much before taking up the less diflicult books of the Gallic War. Even then the transition to Caesar comes with something of a shock; for the learner is soon and often brought face to face with sentences that seem to him of most bewildering intricacy, however they may, as commentators sometimes remark, beautifully illustrate most important principles of Latin order and construction. There is a sentence in the second book, by no means the most difficult one to be found, that extends through eighteen lines,-that is, something more than half a page,-containing twenty-one distinct ideas, and having the verb separated from its subject by ninetyfour words. I know no more disheartening task than that of undertaking to carry a class unprepared in age and knowledge of the language through Caasarâs Gallic War. Yet it is precisely this disheartening task that thousands of teachers are set to do, or set themselves to do, every year. The results are often dismal enough. Teachers are blamed, they blame themselves, they blame their pupils. Pupils may sometimes be stupid, teachers may lack knowledge of the language and the subject, but the fault may also lie wholly with the author or with the Latin language itself; if with the latter, there is no help. Latin, it must be confessed, is an exceedingly diflicult language to learn. All the more reason then why, in attacking it, every unnecessary obstacle should be removed.
(Typographical errors above are due to OCR software and don't occur in the book.)

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