UCL Summer School


Sermonis Latini Peritia atque Doctrina [Latin Usage: Idiomatic Proficiency and Teaching]

Key Information

Module code
Taught during
Session One
Module leader
A. Gratius Avitus
Standard entry requirements with a good level of Latin
Assessment method
Essay (65%), Practical Assessment (20%), Presentation (15%)
Download syllabus (PDF)
Sermonis Latini Peritia atque Doctrina [Latin Usage: Idiomatic Proficiency and Teaching]

Module overview

Latin is a perennial language with a native and learned production spanning almost three millennia. Its vigorous roots are in the classical standards of Terence (colloquial speech), Cicero (elaborate prose), and Virgil (superlative poetry). Written composition in Latin endures at the best British universities as the most efficient means to master these standards, and spoken engagement is a nimbler enhancement of that same active pursuit.

This module delves into the theoretical issues regarding classical Latin usage and idiom in the light of the latest scholarship (Dickey & Chahoud). It offers instruction in oral and written production after such parameters, through academic discussion of the classical sources (Terence, Cicero, Virgil) alongside their various Latin commentators (Donatus, Macrobius, Servius). It further provides Latin teacher training in the direct method (Ørberg) with a communicative approach (Harmer).

All teaching, coursework, and assessment, will be in Latin. Students will be progressively coached into confident usage.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, students will:

  • Be academically and practically familiarised with matters of idiomatic usage, register and style in Latin
  • Be able to express themselves in good Latin on subjects of philological relevance
  • Have enhanced their knowledge of classical society and politics, philosophy, language and literature
  • Have explored important areas of the ensuing classical tradition
  • Have developed skills to teach Latin communicatively

Module prerequisites

This is a level one module (equivalent to first year undergraduate). No prior content knowledge is required for this module, and students are not expected to have experienced speaking Latin before; but they should have a solid knowledge of Latin accidence, and a confident knowledge of at the very least the standard AS Level Latin vocabulary (http://www.ocr.org.uk/Images/221507-as-level-gce-latin-h043-defined-vocabulary-list.pdf).

Module hours

Classes (usually three or four hours per day) take place on the Bloomsbury campus from Monday to Friday any time between 9am and 6pm.


  • 10-minute presentation of a theoretical aspect of Latin usage (15%)
  • 15-minute teaching practice demonstration (20%)
  • 1,000-word essay on a literary topic (65%)

Module leader

A. Gratius Avitus has a Licenciatura in Classical Philology (Zaragoza, focus on language), an MA in Classics (London, focus on literature), and an MA in Sanskrit (Delhi, focus on philosophy), plus a recognised language teacher training qualification (International House, ITTI, London) and more than two decades of teaching experience at UCL for Spanish, Latin, Greek, Sanskrit, and Classical Culture, and participation in the MA in Translation of the University of Westminster. He has contributed to conversational Latin language methods, and is currently preparing his own, as well as a book on the enduring history of Latin. He regularly attends international Latin conferences, where he has delivered lectures, and has also published in Latin. His fluency in the language is widely acclaimed.

Application information

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