Latin 121: Fall 2014

Learning about the Ancient Roman World


Dr. Kristina A. Meinking                                                                       

OH: MW 2-4 & by appointment                                                                      x5894 | Carlton 230b


Course Description

What have the Romans ever done for us? This course is intended to answer that question as it introduces students to the Latin language and the cultures which spoke it across the ancient Mediterranean world. Our focus this semester will be on mastering the foundational basics of the language and a core vocabulary, as well as thinking about the relationship between ancient cultures and our own.


Course Goals

Students in this course will

(1) demonstrate mastery of a core set of Latin linguistic and grammatical concepts through reading and writing in the language and

(2) engage with Roman culture through their language study


Course Expectations

I expect that you, the student, will be prompt, actively present in class, respectful of your peers, diligent and thorough in your work, as well as timely in your completion of assignments. You can expect me to make every attempt to help you along, to evaluate your work fairly, helpfully, and as quickly as possible, to challenge and support you, as well as to create and maintain a classroom environment conducive to the exchange of ideas.


Course Components

Two key elements distinguish this course from most others. First, students advance at their own pace, as they demonstrate mastery of the material. Second, and related to the first, is that there is thus no mark for participation or homework, and there are no midterm or final exams. To pass the course, students must instead successfully complete a series of eight challenges. (See "How it Works").


Academic Integrity

An Elon student's highest purpose is academic citizenship: Giving first attention to learning and reflection, developing intellectually, connecting knowledge and experiences, and upholding Elon's honor codes. This course recognizes and adheres to the principles of the Elon Academic Honor Code. Students are expected to be familiar with the code and follow it consistently, regardless of whether the professor is present to enforce it. The Elon Academic Honor Code can be found in the current Elon Student Handbook or you can access it at Questions about possible violations should be directed to the instructor. Suspected violations will be reported to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.


Disability Statement

If you are a student with a documented disability who will require accommodations in this course, please register with Disabilities Services in Duke 108 (278-6500) for assistance in developing a plan to address your academic needs.



You may miss three class meetings without excuse or repercussion. Any and all absences due to the observance of religious holidays will cumulatively be equivalent to one excused absence. You may access the University's official policy at: web/students/religious_life/ ReligiousHolidays.xhtml. If you intend to miss class due to one of the acknowledged holidays, you must complete the Religious Observance Notification form (available at the URL provided above) and submit it online to the Truitt Center for Religious Life no later than 5:00pm on Friday, September 12th. After three absences, each unexcused absence will result in the lowering of the final course grade by one half-step (e.g. B+ to B, B to B-).


How it Works

Most importantly for you, you will be working at your own individual pace. This does not mean, however, that you will be teaching yourself. We will all begin together in the first unit; as some students advance, the instructor's time will be spent teaching each group new material, answering questions, and reviewing work with others. There will be times when you will have to wait and when working with one another on a directed project will be more helpful than having the instructor with you. Thus your primary responsibility is to come to class having prepared the assigned reading or task(s).


To advance through the course, you must master eight units of material, each of which covers three chapters from your book. Your mastery of each unit will be assessed by a challenge. Each challenge will be worth ten points toward the 100 that constitute the course, and will include sections on vocabulary, translation, and reading comprehension. You may only take a challenge in class and with the permission of the instructor. Plan ahead!


A mark of at least 85% on a challenge is required to move on to the next unit; students who score above 85% can earn additional points as follows:


86%-91%                    1 extra point (11 total)

92% and up                 2 extra points (12 total)


You may take a challenge up to but no more than three times, whether you need to improve your score to pass the challenge or because you would like to try for an extra 1-2 points.


You are strongly encouraged to complete one unit every two weeks or so. Some units will undoubtedly and necessarily take more time, effort, and discipline on your part than others, so don't be discouraged if you get stuck here or there. At the same time, other units will seem easy and thus allow you to make up time and practice tricky skills.


Finally, do not to overlook one crucial point: in order to pass the course, you must complete all eight units. If you do not do so, you will fail the course regardless of the number of points you have earned.


Required Text


Orberg, Hans H. Lingua Latina per se Illustrata, Pars I: Familia Romana. Pullins, 2011.


Other Resources


Peer Mentor: Megan Sweeney,

Latin Tutor: Stephanie Driscoll,