Martial and Seneca
Latin Students

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For my students at Cardinal Gibbons High School, I have prepared annotated texts of some of the simpler and cleaner epigrams of Martial and (in one case) Seneca. None includes any subjunctive verbs, much less gerunds or supines, and most do not contain any passives. Since they were chosen for ease of reading, not all are particularly funny.

Each of the following links goes to a one-page Word 2000 for Windows file. Except for the Seneca, which takes up the whole page, each file contains two copies of a half-page text, side by side in landscape mode. Making the handouts 8.5" x 5.5" saves paper and avoids intimidating the less adventurous students. I have used acute accents to mark the long syllables, since (a) that is what the Romans used, and (b) they work with any printer. I asked my Honors students to do some of the work of compiling the notes, so their last names are tucked in under some of the texts.

Readers are welcome to use these files as they please for legitimate non-profit educational purposes, as long as they do not:

  1. Claim copyright for themselves,
  2. Add anything of substance without my express permission, or
  3. Subtract anything essential.

Readers are welcome to delete vocabulary that students in a particular course are supposed to know, or to fiddle with the heights and widths of the tables to make them fit metric paper sizes. Other changes should not be made without consulting me first.

Here are the files I have finished (more are on the way):

  1. Martial 1.47. One of my nephews works as a vespillo.
  2. Martial 1.64. Four lines instead of two, but with some verbal repetition.
  3. Martial 2.15.
  4. Martial 4.36. The adjective niger may require careful explanation. The fact that it is the etymon of the nations of Niger and Nigeria should help prove to skeptical students that it is not offensive, even if it looks so.
  5. Martial 5.81.
  6. Martial 6.90.
  7. Martial 7.59. The notes assume they have already read 12.30. Perhaps I should change them.
  8. Martial 7.94. Four different tenses (all except future and future perfect) in two lines. A bottle of Vietnamese fish sauce will help illustrate the nature of garum. It's best not to let the students touch the bottle, since a spill would make the classroom uninhabitable.
  9. Martial 10.69.
  10. Martial 12.30. So simple it can be read in the first semester of most Latin programs. The only verb forms are est and laudo, and the noun and adjectives are all second declension nominative or accusative singulars.
  11. Martial 12.46.
  12. Martial 13.48. Porcini mushrooms are the appropriate accompaniment to this epigram.
  13. Seneca, De Qualitate Temporis. Eight lines, with a lot of vocabulary that they will find useful later if they do not already know it, straightforward syntax, and an interesting apocalyptic theme.

Please e-mail if you have any corrections or suggestions. I am particularly interested in improving the questions at the end of each.