Pro Archia poeta

Symposion

Member
I am at the moment reading De bello gallico VI as my first authentic text in Latin. After Caesar I might go over to Cicero. I am in that case going to read Pro Archia poeta as my second authentic text. Have you read it? What is your opinion about it in that case?
 

Etaoin Shrdlu

Civis Illustris
It's quite short, relatively simple and often used as a beginner's text. This is a good thing as a rule, and doubly so with Cicero, who will expand into any available space with more pompous long-windedness.

(In fairness I should add that there are some people who like Cicero, or at least claim they do, and you may turn out to be one of them.)
 

Araneus

Umbraticus Lector
Pro Archia was one of the first authentic latin texts I read (also after DBG), and I found it quite straightforward and rather interesting. The case in question is pretty simple as well. You should use Wikipedia or something to read up a bit on the background of it first, and then it will make good sense.
 

Aurifex

Aedilis
Staff member
It's quite short, relatively simple and often used as a beginner's text. This is a good thing as a rule, and doubly so with Cicero, who will expand into any available space with more pompous long-windedness.
Cicero is the only Roman orator whose works have come down to us in any significant quantity. It doesn't say a lot about the critical judgement of the scholars of the ancient world who facilitated the transmission of Cicero's works, nor of later scholars who regarded his Latin as exemplary, if Cicero's defining characteristic as a writer is pompous long-windedness.
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
I agree that Pro Archia Poeta is a good starting point for reading Cicero - which makes me wonder why I've never heard of it being read at school around here. All they ever read are the speeches against Verres.

I even find Cicero's texts to be more easily comprehensible than a lot of other Latin texts, but I seem to be quite alone in that judgement ... maybe it's just because it's the Latin I'm used to the most...
 

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
It's not easy, but I find it has a certain interior logic and architectural symmetry that other prose writers don't necessarily share.
 

Symposion

Member
I read it from:

Cicero, Pro Archia Poeta Oratio, 2nd edition, edited by Steven M. Cerutti, Wauconda. I think it was published in 2007.

What do you think of this publication? What have you used?
 

Symposion

Member
It's not easy, but I find it has a certain interior logic and architectural symmetry that other prose writers don't necessarily share.
I agree. This text is not easy! I liked Caesar as he was easier for me to read. This especially as my Latin vocabulary is not as good as it should be at the moment. Is there a way to improve my vocabulary on a daily basis? I am also more interested to read Caesar!

Should I still take this course to read this text by Cicero or try to read Metamorphoses by Ovidius first? I think that I might be more into eading Cicero.
 

Araneus

Umbraticus Lector
If you want to read more Caesar to build up your vocabulary and overall reading skills, there's De Bello Civili. It's shorter than De Bello Gallico, but a bit more difficult, you'll probably find. If you'd like to read some easier Cicero, I'd suggest some of the relatively short moral/philosophical works like Somnium Scipionis (that's book 6 of De Re Publica, but pretty much a self-contained narrative. Very short and interesting.), De Senectute, or De Amicitia. Stay away from Ovid for now.

Reading is surely the safest way to build up your vocabulary. Look up all the new words you run into, and perhaps make a vocabulary list for each paragraph. Rehearse the list a bit, and read the paragraph 2-3 times to rehearse reading and seeing the words in use. It's a bit tedious, but it will help, and of course you don't have to go through the whole texts like that.
 

Symposion

Member
If you want to read more Caesar to build up your vocabulary and overall reading skills, there's De Bello Civili. It's shorter than De Bello Gallico, but a bit more difficult, you'll probably find. If you'd like to read some easier Cicero, I'd suggest some of the relatively short moral/philosophical works like Somnium Scipionis (that's book 6 of De Re Publica, but pretty much a self-contained narrative. Very short and interesting.), De Senectute, or De Amicitia. Stay away from Ovid for now.

Reading is surely the safest way to build up your vocabulary. Look up all the new words you run into, and perhaps make a vocabulary list for each paragraph. Rehearse the list a bit, and read the paragraph 2-3 times to rehearse reading and seeing the words in use. It's a bit tedious, but it will help, and of course you don't have to go through the whole texts like that.
So I should stay away from Ovidius?

After the basics in Latin I tried to master the rudiments of Latin grammar and syntax. Now I am in the stage of trying to build up a vocabulary. For this reason I have now began to read Latin texts like De bello gallico liber VI by Caesar first and then now Pro Archia poeta by Cicero.
 

Araneus

Umbraticus Lector
So I should stay away from Ovidius?
Save him for later. In terms of difficulty, it's not what you would naturally read after Caesar. You can have a look at it here.

If you've only read book VI of Caesar's DBG, I'd suggest you read a bit more of it, unless you found it extremely boring or all too easy. I read the entire work from book I through book VIII, and enjoyed it a lot.
 

Symposion

Member
Save him for later. In terms of difficulty, it's not what you would naturally read after Caesar. You can have a look at it here.

If you've only read book VI of Caesar's DBG, I'd suggest you read a bit more of it, unless you found it extremely boring or all too easy. I read the entire work from book I through book VIII, and enjoyed it a lot.
I see. I might read Ovid later when I have a better grasp of Latin.

Caesar is interesting. This as I am interested in Caesar from a historic perspective as well as his way of writing. I should read more of De bello gallico before moving over to Pro Archia poeta?
 

Araneus

Umbraticus Lector
Caesar is interesting. This as I am interested in Caesar from a historic perspective as well as his way of writing. I should read more of De bello gallico before moving over to Pro Archia poeta?
I'd say you should read all of it as long as you find it interesting.
 

rothbard

Civis Illustris
Staff member
My advice would be to read De Bello Gallico's book I next. I think it's a bit more difficult than book VI, especially due to the long indirect discourses in the later chapters. I wouldn't recommend spending too much time on a single writer however, otherwise you may find yourself a bit lost when reading others if you are unfamiliar with their vocabulary. I agree with Araneus' suggestion of Cicero's philosophical works.
 

Dantius

Homo Sapiens
Staff member
My advice would be to read De Bello Gallico's book I next. I think it's a bit more difficult than book VI, especially due to the long indirect discourses in the later chapters. I wouldn't recommend spending too much time on a single writer however, otherwise you may find yourself a bit lost when reading others if you are unfamiliar with their vocabulary. I agree with Araneus' suggestion of Cicero's philosophical works.
Indeed book I is more difficult, though I personally found it to be my favorite, or at least pretty close, of the De Bello Gallico books. However, I have to disagree with you about spending time on a single writer — personally I think it is very good to read entire works rather than just excerpts or parts of things. You'll also by the end have a good grip on the style of that writer and similar styles
 

Symposion

Member
My advice would be to read De Bello Gallico's book I next. I think it's a bit more difficult than book VI, especially due to the long indirect discourses in the later chapters. I wouldn't recommend spending too much time on a single writer however, otherwise you may find yourself a bit lost when reading others if you are unfamiliar with their vocabulary. I agree with Araneus' suggestion of Cicero's philosophical works.
I think that the oratio Pro Archia poeta is a bit too difficult for me. I think that I need to use Latin more and learn more grammar and words to be able to read that text! :(

If you'd like to read some easier Cicero, I'd suggest some of the relatively short moral/philosophical works like Somnium Scipionis (that's book 6 of De Re Publica, but pretty much a self-contained narrative. Very short and interesting.), De Senectute, or De Amicitia.
I am as an historian interested in political culture. This has made me interested in the ways political culture of ancient Rome is expressed in the speeches of Cicero rather than his philosophical texts. These could of course also be inspiring. Is De oratore easier than Pro Archia poeta? Another work that I am curious about is Epistulae ad Quintum fratrem.
 

Dantius

Homo Sapiens
Staff member
I haven't read any of those that you mention, but at a quick look De oratore and Pro Archia poeta seem about the same difficulty. The Epistulae ad Quintum Fratrem seem a bit more difficult.
 

Aurifex

Aedilis
Staff member
The Epistulae ad Quintum Fratrem seem a bit more difficult.
Yes, Cicero's letters aren't easy for a novice Latinist, not least because you have to be conversant with the minutiae of Cicero's personal and public life to get much out of them.

But Symposion, you're not a novice, are you? You've been learning Latin since 2011. Or is it that your university studies these past five years have not actually required you to know Latin, and you've been doing it all this time on an entirely voluntary basis?
 
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