Latin: A Fresh Approach

Latin: A Fresh Approach

by Mike Seigel

Paperback(First Edition, 1)

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The second volume of Mike Seigel's new three-volume course aims to present grammar in the clearest possible way and build upon the lessons of Book 1. The language content is supported by detailed insights into the history and culture of Ancient Rome, with stimulating full colour pictures to help bring the Roman Empire to life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781898855262
Publisher: Anthem Press
Publication date: 12/01/1999
Series: Anthem Learning Series
Edition description: First Edition, 1
Pages: 152
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 6.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Mike Seigel studied Classics at New College, Oxford. He was Head of Classics at Colet Court from 1976-1987, taught at St Paul's School and is also a former Head of Rokeby Prep School. He currently teaches Classics at Tiffin Boy's School, Kingston.

Read an Excerpt

Latin A Fresh Approach Book 3

By Mike Seigel, Tony Harrison

Wimbledon Publishing Company

Copyright © 2002 Mike Seigel
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-898855-27-9



In the previous book you learnt three tenses; the Present, the Imperfect and the Future. These three tenses are formed from the Present stem of verbs,







In this and the next two chapters you will learn three more tenses, which are formed from the Perfect stem of verbs. Perfect stems are not as predictable as the Present stems, and do not always conform to the four different conjugations.

Many, but not all, verbs like amo and audio add a v- to form their Perfect stem; other verbs add an s-, and some change the vowel of the verb's Present stem – you can see these variations in the Perfect stems of the five verbs above:



rex- (formed from reg + s)



The first tense for you to learn is the Perfect. This tense in Latin is the equivalent of two tenses in English, one which we call the Past, describing a single action in past time (e.g. I loved, I saw, etc,) and the other which we sometimes call the True Perfect, describing an action which has happened in the past but which still has a result in the present (e.g. I have loved, I have seen, etc.)

The endings for this tense in Latin are as follows:







And so the Perfect tenses of the four conjugations, plus capio, are as follows:

amavi vidi rexi audivi cepi
amavisti vidisti rexisti audivisti cepisti
amavit vidit rexit audivit cepit
amavimus vidimus reximus audivimus cepimus
amavistis vidistis rexistis audivistis cepistis
amaverunt viderunt rexerunt audiverunt ceperunt

Learn these new verb endings before doing the following exercises:


1. amavistis.

2. ceperunt.

3. vidi.

4. reximus.

5. audiverunt.

6. paravi.

7. vidit.

8. rexisti.

9. portavit.

10. cepimus.


1. We captured.

2. They have loved.

3. He ruled.

4. I heard.

5. You (sing) have prepared.


1. hostes urbem celeriter ceperunt.

2. nonne cenam amavistis, pueri?

3. ubi patrem vidisti, Tullia?

4. quis navem paravit?

5. tune verba patris audivisti, Gai?

6. cives in forum festinaverunt.

7. secundo die castra hostium oppugnavimus.

8. miles equum hasta vulneravit.

9. pueri tabulas in ludum portaverunt.

10. Tarquinius urbem Romam non bene rexit.

Now learn the Perfect stems of the following verbs before doing the next exercises:

iuvo (1)
I help iuv-
veto (1)
I forbid vetu-
deleo (2)
I destroy delev-
doceo (2)
I teach docu-
iubeo (2)
I order iuss-
maneo (2)
I remain mans-
moneo (2)
I warn monu-
respondeo (2) I reply respond-
duco (3)
I lead dux-
venio (4)
I come ven-


1. hiuverunt.

2. nmansi.

3. urespondit.

4. qdocui.

5. tvenistis.

6. cduxi.

7. siussit.

8. mdelevisti.

9. pvetui.

10. Tmonuistis.


1. They have waited.

2. We replied.

3. I warned you.

4. He taught me.

5. You (sing) have helped them.


1. puellae matrem in casa iuverunt.

2. quis regi respondit?

3. magister bonus filium senatoris docuit.

4. in foro cum amicis mansimus.

5. pater me in silvas ambulare vetuit.

6. hostes pontem antiquum deleverunt.

7. leones saevi in arenam venerunt.

8. pater me de periculis belli monuit.

9. cur matrem non iuvisti, Marce?

10. senex servum pecuniam invenire iussit.


Write the following sentences out with the verbs in the Perfect tense, and then translate into English.

1. servi cibum et aquam portant.

2. puella matri non respondet.

3. clamores civium audimus.

4. multos pueros doceo.

5. cur in theatro manes?

6. multi milites trans pontem veniunt.

7. tempestas nostram navem delet.

8. quinque puellae in horto ambulant.

9. cum quattuor comitibus Londinium festino.

10. hostes celeriter superamus.


1. We walked towards the temple.

2. The schoolmaster praised the good children.

3. Three ships remained in the harbour.

4. Why didn't you reply to your father, Julia?

5. I have hidden the money behind the house.


1. Horatius in ponte solus mansit.

2. Scaevola castra hostium fortiter intravit.

3. Cloelia trans flumen celeriter natavit.

4. Coriolanus matrem suam subito vidit.

5. audivistine id carmen Vergilii, Marce?

6. dei Aeneam non semper iuverunt.

7. Troiani ad Italiam post multa pericula tandem advenerunt.

8. multos gladiatores in amphitheatro vidimus.

9. Androcles leonem in Africa curavit.

10. Hannibal exercitum ingentem in Italiam duxit.


In the last book you read about legends of Rome. Now we move on to some of the well-known stories of ancient Greece. These stories are sometimes called 'legends' or more often 'myths'. Some of you may already know several Greek myths, and a few of the more commonly told stories will be described to you in this book.

But what is meant by the word 'myth', and why were the Romans interested in the myths of the Greeks, and why do these stories still hold an appeal for people today?

The word 'myth' comes from a Greek word meaning 'story'. The original meaning of this Greek word is 'anything handed down by word of mouth', and shows just how these 'myths' probably started. Many myths would be told to young children by their parents, and then the children, having grown up, would pass on the same stories to their children. Of course, as these stories were retold by different people, they might be altered in small ways, and this explains why we often find various versions of the same story.

Several Greek myths, like the legends of early Rome, were a blend of fact and fiction – such as the stories of Theseus or Hercules which you will read about in later chapters. These stories might have had some basis of truth from actual historical figures. Other stories may have an even earlier origin, and were used to explain how the world began and developed.

One such myth – used to explain the different seasons of the year – is the story of Pluto and Persephone. You may recall that Pluto was the God of the Underworld. The goddess of the crops was Demeter, and she had a beautiful daughter called Persephone.

The story goes that Persephone used to spend her days in the fields with her young friends gathering flowers for her mother, always happy and singing and dancing while she carried out her tasks. One day Pluto, who had no wife in the gloomy Underworld, came up to earth and was driving along in a chariot when he saw the attractive Persephone amidst her happy band of friends.

Attracted by this especially lovely girl, he seized Persephone and dragged her into his chariot, and plunged back down into the Underworld with her. Demeter was, not surprisingly, completely distraught when her daughter did not return to her. She travelled far and wide to try to find her, but without success, and because of her worry and her grief, she neglected her duties and the crops began to fail.

At last, however, she found out what had happened to her daughter and went to Zeus, the king of the gods, to plead that he should help get her daughter back. Zeus was very moved by the mother's sorrow, and agreed to persuade Pluto to send her back for six months of the year.

So for six months of the year Demeter was happy, and attended to the crops and the fruits of the earth – this thus explains the coming of spring which leads into summer. But then each year Persephone had to return, and her mother would neglect her duties in looking after the earth – and so came autumn and then winter.


1. Why do you suppose that a story like this was in very ancient times thought to explain the four seasons of the year? Do you imagine that the Romans believed it?

2. Can you think of any other myths you know from any other source that are in any similar?

3. Do you think that what we call 'fairy stories' count as myths?



Another tense formed from the Perfect stem is the Pluperfect tense. This tense means 'more than Perfect' and describes an action that happened even before another one in the past. In English we always use the word 'had' in this tense.

e.g. Before consuls were elected, seven kings had ruled in Rome.

The endings for the Pluperfect in Latin are the same as the Imperfect tense of sum, i.e.







And so

amaveram means I had loved
viderant means They had seen
ceperamus means We had captured

And the Latin for the second half of the sentence above is

septem reges Romae rexerant.


1. audiveram.

2. rexerat.

3. laudaverant.

4. ambulaveras.

5. iusseram.

6. amaverat.

7. videramus.

8. monueram.

9. responderatis.

10. duxerant.


1. I had walked.

2. We had ruled.

3. You had warned me.

4. I had seen you.

5. We had asked them.


1. dux aciem iam paraverat.

2. cives de ea re non audiverant.

3. Marcus patrem in foro non viderat.

4. in primo gradu theatri sederamus.

5. exercitus sex oppida deleverat.

6. castra hostium celeriter occupaveramus.

7. omnes gladiatores fortiter pugnaverant.

8. pueri meam fabulam non audiverant.

9. magister eos pueros laborare iusserat.

10. decimo anno Graeci urbem ceperant.


Write out Exercise 1.6 but put each of the verbs into the Pluperfect tense, and then translate into English.

Learn the following Perfect stems before doing the next exercises, which will contain a mixture of Perfect and Pluperfect tenses:

do (1)
I give ded- sto (1)
I stand stet- moveo (2) I move mov- sedeo (2) I sit sed- timeo (2) I fear timu- terreo (2) I frighten terru- cado (3)
I fall cecid- curro (3) I run cucurr- mitto (3) I send mis- facio (3) I do, make fec-


1. dedi.

2. timuit.

3. ceciderat.

4. miseramus.

5. sederant.

6. fecerunt.

7. terrueras.

8. cucurristis.

9. steterunt.

10. moveram.


1. I fell.

2. We had stood.

3. They had sent.

4. They frightened us.

5. I moved the table.


1. in gradibus tres horas steteram.

2. pueri domum non venerant.

3. cives pecuniam senibus dederunt.

4. in agris multos dies laboraveram.

5. puella cum cane in hortum cucurrit.

6. cur taurum necavisti?

7. cur puer de arbore ceciderat?

8. Roma Athenas decem diebus iter fecimus.

9. consul exercitum ad flumen duxerat.

10. cur epistolam ad reginam misisti?


1. I had heard the boy's story.

2. The farmer came into our house.

3. Why didn't you give food to the children?

4. I sent another letter to my brother.

5. I had not ordered you to leave.


This exercise contains all five of the tenses that you have now learnt. Pick out the verb from each sentence and say what tense it is, and then translate into English.

1. ipueri epistolas ad amicos mittunt.

2. pmilites hastis et sagittis pugnabant.

3. csenex ante templum stetit.

4. icur cibum e triclinio portabas?

5. ptheatrum novum in oppido aedificavimus.

6. ciuvenis flores sorori dabit.

7. cfemina pecuniam in culina celaverat.

8. Rcur me in hortum vocavisti, Iulia?

9. caliam fabulam mox audietis.

10. magnum taurum in agro iam videram.


Another famous myth, well-known to both Greeks and Romans, was that of Perseus and Medusa. Perseus was the son of a princess called Danae, and Medusa was one of three monsters, called theGorgons.

The Gorgons were thought to be winged females, who lived on an island in the middle of the sea. They had beautiful faces, but their bodies were scaly and hideous like dragons and – worst of all – their heads were covered not with hair but with hundreds of writhing and hissing snakes. More terrible even than this was their eyes, for these were so powerful that they could turn anyone who looked at them into stone!

Perseus and his mother lived with a cruel king, who wanted to marry Danae, and therefore thought of a way to get of rid of Perseus. So he ordered him to get the head of Medusa – thinking that he would never survive!

The gods, however, wanted to help Perseus: Pluto lent him his helmet to make him invisible, Athena gave him her shield which shone like a mirror, and Hermes gave his winged sandals enabling him to fly.

First Perseus needed to find out where the Gorgons lived, and he had to go to visit three old women called theGraeaewho had only one eye and one tooth to share between them! Perseus stole these valuable items from them, and thus persuaded them to tell him where Medusa lived.

At last Perseus flew to the island of the Gorgons, but dared not look down for fear of being turned into stone. Using Athena's mirror, he was able to see their reflection and with amazing skill (and luck!) he cut off Medusa's head as she slept. He flew up, carrying the awful head but without looking at it! The snakes on the head were still hissing, and the other two Gorgons were woken by their noise. However, since he was invisible thanks to the helmet, Perseus was able to escape their evil clutches.

On his way home, Perseus rescued and married Andromeda. Danae was of course delighted to see her son safely returned, but the king was utterly amazed. Perseus, to prove that he had killed Medusa, produced her head from his bag, and the king, on seeing it, was immediately turned to stone!

This myth was ingrained in popular belief, and it was thought that Perseus then gave the head of Medusa to Athena, for her shield was always depicted with the Gorgon's head in the middle of it.


Read the following passage carefully, and then answer the questions below:

Perseus cum matre in urbe habitabat. rex eius urbis erat crudelis et matrem Persei in matrimonium ducere cupiebat. iuvenem igitur in magnum periculum mittere constituit. eum ad insulam Gorgonum misit, et caput Medusae reportare iussit.

dei tamen Persea iuvare constituerant. Athena scutum ei dedit, et in eo Perseus formam Medusae vidit. eam gladio necavit, et caput removit. cum capite domum revenit, et id regi monstravit. caput saevum ferocibus oculis regem in lapidem vertit.

Persea the Accusative of Perseus
scutum, i (n) shield
forma, ae (f) shape
lapis, lapidis (m) stone
verto, ere, verti (3) I turn

1. Translate the first paragraph.

2. a) What had the gods decided to do (lines 4-5)?

b) How did Perseus see the shape of Medusa (lines 6-8)?

c) How did he kill her (line 8)?

d) What did he then do (lines 8-9)?

e) What did Perseus show the king, and with what result (lines 9-10)?

3. From the second paragraph write down:

a) A noun in the Dative case.

b) A preposition followed by the Accusative case.

c) A preposition followed by the Ablative case.

d) An infinitive.

e) A verb in the Perfect tense.

f) A verb in the Pluperfect tense.

4. Find English derivations from the following Latin words, and write a sentence for each which clearly shows its meaning:

iuvenem, caput, ferocibus.

5. Translate the following sentences into Latin:

a) A cruel king had ruled that city.

b) I ordered the young man to help his mother.

c) I showed the sword to the king.

6. Why do suppose that stories about heroes and monster appealed to the Greeks and Romans? Do you think that they still have appeal today?


Excerpted from Latin A Fresh Approach Book 3 by Mike Seigel, Tony Harrison. Copyright © 2002 Mike Seigel. Excerpted by permission of Wimbledon Publishing Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Revision of Nouns; Third Declension Nouns; More Third Declension Nouns; Neuter Nouns; The Present Tense - All Four Groups; The Infinitive; Personal Pronouns; More Adjectives; Adverbs; The Imperfect Tense; The Future Tense; Verbs Like Capio; Fourth Declension Nouns; Fifth Declension Nouns; Time; Place; The Locative; More on Pronouns; Vocabulary

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