BA Ancient History and Archaeology

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Intensive Latin 1

Course unit fact file
Unit code CAHE20171
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course is designed for students with no previous knowledge of Latin. Those who have studied Latin up to and including GCSE, however, may and should take it as beginners; those who have AS Level in Latin should audit this course and enrol in CAHE30182 Intensive Latin 2 for credit. Those with A-level Latin should take CAHE30110 Advanced Latin 1.


None, but this course may not be taken for credit by candidates who have already achieved a qualification in Latin which is higher than GCSE. You may take this course if you have GCSE Latin. Students with A-Level Latin should take CAHE30110 Advanced Latin 1. Students who are not ready to enrol on CAHE30110 may audit CAHE20171 and take CAHE30182 for credit.

Students hoping to continue the study of Latin in subsequent years are required to register also for CAHE30182. Students taking BA Classical Studies or BA Ancient History are strongly encouraged to register for the units in both semesters

Anti-requisite: Students are not permitted to take CAHE20171 and CAHE20151 (Intensive Greek) in the same academic year.


To introduce students to the basic elements of the Latin language.

Teaching and learning methods

  • 2 x 1 hour lectures per week;
  • 2 x 1 hour seminars per week;
  • 1 dedicated consultation hour per week;
  • Blackboard: extensive course material, blended learning materials, and information.

Lectures introduce new grammatical material which will then be further explained and reinforced in the highly interactive seminars.

Formal written homework is set each week and individually marked. This is a crucial part of the teaching and learning process.

On Blackboard there is also a self-training programme, which consists of a large bank of quizzes, graded by level, on vocabulary, morphology, and syntax. Students are expected to make extensive use of these materials, in order to help them to learn the large amount of new material that they will meet during the course. The programme gives immediate feedback, including scores, correct answers, and, in the case of more complex questions, explanations.

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this course students will have developed the following abilities:

  • knowledge and understanding of the basic workings of a highly-inflected language, Classical Latin;
  • mastery of (roughly half of) the basic Latin forms and constructions (accidence and syntax), together with a vocabulary of several hundred words, and a developing ability to use them both actively and passively;
  • the ability to read a simple Latin text, seen or unseen, with fluency and accuracy;

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course students will have developed the following abilities:

  • subject-specific skills, including an incipient ability to read, understand, translate and write Latin;
  • an insight into the nature of the differences between English and Classical Latin.

Practical skills

By the end of this course students will have:

  • an increasing ability to use language consciously and effectively
  • facility with specific electronic learning mechanisms

Transferable skills and personal qualities

By the end of this course students will have:

  • an increased awareness of the structures and resources of the English language;
  • a developed ability to analyse and to describe linguistic forms and structures;
  • an increased knowledge and understanding of Latin-derived English vocabulary.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Students of ancient languages also learn how to extract key elements from complex information and to identify, make sense of, and solve associated problems.
Written communication
Conscientious study of an ancient language enhances understanding of English grammatical structures and broadens vocabulary, thereby enhancing the ability to communicate clearly, concisely and eloquently.
Time-management, self-discipline, and regular application are particularly important in the study of an ancient language, which cannot effectively be crammed.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 40%
Written exam 60%


Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

in-class feedback on exercises and translation


individual written feedback on weekly written homework; this feedback is provided weekly


consultation hours or other meetings by arrangement


automated feedback through online quizzes


Recommended reading

Perhaps the best preliminary reading would be any good introduction to English grammar, such as Bas Aarts, Oxford Modern English Grammar (2011). If you can find it (there are two copies in the library), you would benefit from Norma Goldman and Ladislas Szymanski, English Grammar for Students of Latin: the study guide for those learning Latin. Second edition, 2000. There are also older copies of the first edition.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Seminars 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 156

Return to course details