00489 - Latin Grammar

Academic Year 2022/2023

  • Docente: Lucia Pasetti
  • Credits: 12
  • SSD: L-FIL-LET/04
  • Language: Italian
  • Moduli: Lucia Pasetti (Modulo 1) Elisa Dal Chiele (Modulo 2)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo 2)
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Humanities (cod. 8850)

Learning outcomes

Knowledge to be obtained by the end of the course: 1) the student knows the morphosyntax of the Latin language at an intermediate level
 2) he knows some basic elements of Latin metrics
 3) he knows some basic elements of the history of the Latin language aimed to provide a full understanding of the main syntactic structures. 

Skills to be obtained by the end of the course: 1) he can recognize and describe appropriately the main morphosyntatic structures
 2) he can read Latin metrics scanning the texts listed in the programme 3) he can produce simple sentences in Latin
 4) he can translate and analyze previously seen texts.

Course contents


The injurious speech in court: Cicero, In Pisonem (read in full); Apuleius, Apologia (6-8, 74-78).

After an introduction dedicated to the forms of injourious language and its organisation in the rhetoric of blame, we will propose a reading of Cicero's oration and a selection of passages from Apuleius' Apologia; it will thus be possible to explore the typical forms of invective in oratory, between the Republican and the early Imperial age.

PART 1 (prof. Lucia Pasetti); start: February 1st

 Introduction to injurious speech, reading and analysis of the first part of Cicero's In Pisonem 

PART 2 (prof. Elisa Dal Chiele); start: March 22nd

Reading of the second part of Cicero's In Pisonem and of the passages from Apuleius' Apologia mentioned in the programme


Latin grammar (particularly syntax) will be examined at an advanced level; basic knowledge of historical grammar will be consolidated


students are required to read in original language all the texts presented in the special focus course.

HANDBOOK, see below, Bibliography.

one out of the essays listed below, in Bibliography.

N.B. non-attending students are required to take two critical readings and the chapters 79-102 of Apuleius' Apologia (i.e., De magia); for self-study of the text, we recommend Apuleio, La magia, edited by C. Moreschini, Milano BUR 1990. The rest of the programme remains unchanged.

Students who intend to choose the course as a single exam, or outside the options of their course of study, are requested to contact the teacher BEFORE making their choice final.



For the text and commentary of In Pisonem, see:
M. Tulli Ciceronis In L. Calpurnium Pisonem oratio, ed. with text, introd. and commentary by R. G. M. Nisbet, Oxford 1961, available in electronic format at
https://www.oxfordscholarlyeditions.com/classics (accessible through the University Library System).


M. Tulli Ciceronis In Lucium Calpurnium Pisonem Caesoninum oratio, edited by E. Scuotto, Rome, Ferraro, 1976 (available on Virtuale)

For the Italian translation, see Le Orazioni di M. Tullio Cicerone, edited by G. Bellardi, vol. 3, Torino, UTET, 1975, pp. 735-837 (available on Virtuale).
Teaching materials will be provided for the selection of passages from the Apologia.

Morphology and basic syntax: Dionigi – E. Riganti – L. Morisi, Il latino, Bari, Laterza 2011 (= Verba et res. Morfosintassi e lessico del latino, 2 voll., Bari, Laterza, 1999).

Syntax at an upper-intermediate level: A. Traina - T. Bertotti, Sintassi normativa della lingua latina (Patron) 2015.

Historical linguistics: A. Traina - G.B. Perini, Propedeutica al latino universitario, Bologna (Patron) 1995, capp. I-V.

Students are required to select one of the following readings /further readings will eventualy indicated during the classes):

- V. Bonsangue, Il cipiglio del console: allusioni e riscritture comiche nell'«in Pisonem » di Cicerone, Pan 2004 22, 201-221

- M.T. Griffin, Piso, Cicero and their audience, in C. Auvray-Assayas, D. Delattre, Cicéron et Philodème, in La polémique en philosophie, Paris 2001, 85-99

- L.A. Hofmann, La lingua d'uso latina, Bologna, Patron, 2003, pp. 1-69.

- T.D. McCreight, Invective techniques in Apuleius'Apology, in Groningen Colloquia on the Novel, III, Groningen 1990, 35-62

- L. Pasetti, L'arte di ingiuriare: stilistica e retorica dell'insulto in Apuleio, Lexis 33, 2015, 363-399.

Teaching methods

Lectures; interactive lessons with exercises and readings of Latin texts in the original language, aimed to control the learning proces. A laboratory on grammar will be activated.

Assessment methods

-The final examination consists of a conversation with the examiner; the student will demonstrate to meet the learning objectives, in particular:

1) to have acquired an adequate knowledge of Latin grammar (phonetic, morphology, syntax) at an intermediate level, both from a synchronic and a diachronic point of view: therefore, to pass the examination it is required a good basic knowledge of Latin Language.

2) to know the content of the thearical essays included in this program.

3) to be able to apply theoretical knowledge in practical situations, by performing translations and analysis of the Latin texts listed in the course contents.

Assessment guidelines:

-failing grades: lack of basic linguistic knowledge and inability to produce a correct translation and interpretation of the text

-passing grades: basic linguistic knowledge, translation and interpretation of texts mostly correct, but inaccurate and lacking in autonomy.

-positive grades: language proficiency at an intermediate level; translation and interpretation of the texts fully correct, but not always accurate and autonomous.

-excellent grades: language proficiency at an intermediate-hight level; translation and interpretation of the texts non only correct, but autonomous and accurate

Teaching tools

Materials to sopport teaching, whether in paper or electronic format, will be provided during classes or made available online

Office hours

See the website of Lucia Pasetti

See the website of Elisa Dal Chiele


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This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.