Please read carefully the following information about the Latin IV/AP course and class policies.  When you and your parent(s)/legal guardian(s) have read and understood these points, please sign, date, and return the form to Mr. Abney.  This handout is not intended as a contract, but rather as a good faith attempt to avoid any unpleasant surprises during the year.


            Because of student interest, district curriculum, and to avoid repeating last year’s content, we will use as our basic syllabus this year the AP Latin literature authors Catullus and Ovid. These authors are not inherently more difficult than others we might choose to read in regular fourth- or fifth-year Latin.  Following the AP syllabus, however, provides students with the opportunity to take one of the two available AP Latin exams at the end of this year.  No one is required to take the AP examination.  In fact, students have until March to make up their minds.  Both Latin IV and AP Latin are weighted grade classes.  Students in Latin IV and AP will cover the same material and take the same examinations. 


            It is important that students and their families understand both the serious commitment of a college level course and the nature of the material studied.  The district-approved curriculum brings students into contact with Roman writers of a more advanced and mature level than they have heretofore encountered.  The poets Catullus and Ovid write about love and relationships in frank tones and with frequent disregard for such concepts as monogamy and abstinence.  Although the AP syllabus avoids the more extreme poems in the poets’ bodies of work, it does not ignore an accurate reflection of the ancient pagan culture in which Catullus and Ovid lived and wrote.  Students of all beliefs and backgrounds are welcome to participate in exploring these hightly influential authors.  They are expected to read and evaluate this material in a mature, critical, and open-minded fashion, and I have every reason to believe that they will do so.  Please understand that the syllabus cannot be adjusted on the basis of individual objections to the subject matter.


            As noted above, students enrolled in Latin IV/AP are not required to take the AP examination, but have the option to do so if they wish.  Students who score a 3 or better (out of 5) on the AP exam are eligible for advanced placement and retroactive college credit at many post-secondary institutions.   Students need to consult their prospective colleges for details about recognition of the AP exam.  The acceptance of the AP exam and the awarding of credit remain the purview of individual colleges, not of Marquette or myself.  It is also the responsibility of students to meet all AP registration deadlines.


            Both Latin IV and AP share the same objective.  Students will be able to read, translate, analyze, and demonstrate comprehension of classical Latin literature through reading AP authors.


Specifics of the Catullus-Ovid Class


1.   Students must have  a) a Latin dictionary, but not a mini-dictionary, which they will need every day;

b) a separate notebook or section of a keeper, which must be kept filled with all class materials and an ample supply of paper and be  

    brought to class daily;

                                    c) pencils and pens, which must be brought daily, no metallic ink, please;

                                    d) English translations of Catullus’s poems, Ovid’s Amores, and Ovid’s Metamorphoses, which may be purchased at most bookstores or

    checked out from libraries and must be brought daily (either prose or poetic translations are acceptable).  The teacher will inform

    students which text/s to bring;

e) and the Latin texts being studied at the time.


2.   Students are responsible for coming to class prepared and participating frequently.  Our syllabus builds in periodic sight reading (deemed a must by prior AP students), occasional opportunities to catch up, review periods of varying length prior to the first semester exam, the AP exam or the final exam.  I have designed the syllabus to encourage successful completion of modest assignments throughout the year with densely packed review at the end (AP students have said that the most important thing is to complete the syllabus).  The more extra time we can find throughout the year, the more we can accommodate review, other readings, discussion or time to work with individuals at their own pace. Unprepared students will cost us these precious opportunities and necessitate after school make-up sessions, which all students will be expected to attend.


3.   Students who are absent are expected to make every effort to keep up with assignments.  For AP purposes, we need to read an average of about 50 lines of text per week.  Divide accordingly.  Students who wish to go over missed material with the instructor after an absence will need to make arrangements to cover the material outside the regular school day.


4.   All missed tests and quizzes must be made up outside the regular school day.


5.   Our basic syllabus is subject to change according to schedule conflicts, student preparedness, AP requirements, or class interest.  Students preparing to take the AP exam may expect the instructor to mandate critical articles, written analyses, discussion groups, and cram sessions, exactly like a regular college course.  From time to time, these activities may not conclude with the end of 3rd hour, particularly as the exam date approaches.  For example, on the current schedule we must review an average of about 240 lines per week in the six weeks prior to the AP examination.  AP candidates who walk out the door with 20 lines yet to be reviewed will not find themselves adequately prepared for the exam.


6.   Students not taking the AP exam will nonetheless be expected to have a basic familiarity with the "AP approach" to Catullus and Ovid, in both assignments and testing.  All students will be held to AP style for translation purposes.


7.  The instructor reserves the right to insert additional quizzes beyond those listed on the syllabus.


8.   Expect to write another research paper.


A final note.  The accompanying syllabus is not yet another of Mr. Abney's mad schemes to force students to work.  It is based on a syllabus developed by Patsy Ricks, then of Jackson Preparatory School, Mississippi, for the Catullus-Ovid exam prior to 1999 and 2005.  It appears on pages 60-61 of the 1995 edition of the College Board's booklet Teacher's Guide to Advanced Placement Courses in Latin.  I have made two basic alterations: 1) I have integrated the two recent sets of changes to the Ovid curriculum and 2) I have attempted to make the syllabus follow a more chronological sequence.   All AP Catullus-Ovid students worldwide will cover this same material.


Please sign and date when you have read this material.  Feel free to contact me at 636-537-4300 with any questions you may have.




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                               (Student signature)                                                                        (Date)





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                     (Signature of parent/s or legal guardian/s)                                                      (Date)



More Details on the AP Latin Literature Examination


[The following material is reproduced with permission from pages 27-32 of the Advanced Placement Program Professional Development for Latin, © 2003 by College Entrance Examination Board.]


      The examination will test some or all of the following abilities:

1.   to write a literal English translation of a Latin passage on the syllabus;

2.   to explicate specific words or phrases in context;

3.   to identify the context and significance of short excerpts from Catullus’ poetry and

      selections from Cicero, Horace, or Ovid, as indicated by the chosen syllabus;

4.   to identify and analyze characteristic or noteworthy features of the authors' mode of

      expression, including their use imagery, figures of speech, sound and metrical effects (in

      poetry only), as seen in specific passages;

5.   to discuss particular motifs or general themes not only suggested by specific passages but

      also relevant to other selections;

6.   to analyze and discuss structure and to demonstrate an awareness of the features used in

      the construction of a poem or an argument;

7.   to scan the meters specified in the syllabus.




The instructions for the translation questions, "translate as literally as possible," call for a translation that is accurate and precise.  In some cases an idiom may be translated in a way that makes sense in English but is rather loose compared to the Latin construction.  In general, however, students should remember that:

·         the tense, voice, number, and mood of verbs need to be translated literally;

·         subject-verb agreement must be correct; participles should be rendered precisely with regard to tense and voice;

·         ablative absolutes may be rendered literally or as subordinate clauses; however, the tense and number of the participle must be rendered


·         historical present is acceptable as long as it is used consistently throughout the passage.


Format of the AP Latin Literature Examination


Multiple-Choice Section: Reading Latin Poetry and Prose


The format of the multiple-choice section is as follows:


        50 multiple-choice questions in 60 minutes

        4 passages: 3 sight passages, at least 1 poetry and at least 1 prose

                          1 syllabus-based passage

                          (Latin Literature booklets will contain a Catullus passage.)

        The questions on the Catullus passages test knowledge of grammar and syntax, reference, context, meter, and figures of speech as well as background knowledge.  The meter questions on the Catullus passage may test the hendecasyllabic line or either line of the elegiac couplet.


Free-Response Section


The time alloted for this section includes a 15-minute reading period and one hour and 45 minutes of testing time.  The format will be as follows:


            Required Questions on Catullus  

            Question LL1: a 10-minute translation

            Question LL2: a 30-minute long essay

            Question LL3: a 20-minute short essay        


            Choice Questions on Cicero, Horace, or Ovid   

            Question LL4, LL7, or LL10: a 10-minute short identification

            Question LL5, LL8, or LL11: a 15-minute translation

            Question LL6, LL9, or LL12: a 20-minute short essay


Using Latin Text to Support an Argument


In the free-response section, when students are asked to refer specifically to the Latin to support their answers, they must write out the Latin and/or cite line numbers.  They must also translate, accurately paraphrase, or otherwise make clear in their discussion that they understand the Latin.  If students are referring to a relatively long portion of Latin text, they may prefer to cite line numbers or to use ellipsis (“word . . . word”).  When referring only to words or phrases, students should write them out.  The responsibility rests with the student to convince the reader that the student is drawing conclusions or support from the Latin text and not from a general recall of the passage.


Scansion and Figures of Speech


Students should know how to scan dactylic hexameter, elegiac couplet, and hendecasyllabic.  Scansion includes indicating elision and the metrical qualities of syllables [the AP exam does not indicate macrons; students must figure out vowel quantities for themselves].  Students should also be familiar with the figures of speech commonly used by Catullus and Cicero, Horace, or Ovid.