Part of the larger site called The Classics Page at Ad Fontes Academy, The Latin Library is an extensive and growing collection of Latin texts from early classical times through the golden age and silver Latin. The texts are presented in their entirety, in a clear, straightforward design. The purpose of the site is to give easy access to texts for either on-line use or for downloading. The texts are not annotated, which can be preferable for the corpus linguistics researcher.
Type of Material:
Collection of digital texts in Latin. English indices and menus.
On-line reading, in-class projection (including Smart Board projection and teaching, for which it is ideal), downloading into a word-processing document for instructor annotation and distribution to students in electronic or paper formats.
Any browser and word-processing software.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Teaching or learning Latin language, literature and culture; developing reading and writing competency.
Target Student Population:
Intermediate to advanced, college, and graduate students; Latin teachers and scholars.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
A minimum of one year of Latin or intermediate proficiency in reading and grammar is needed to make the best use of the texts. For more advanced learners and teachers, any "author" oriented course can benefit from this site.
The collection features most of the classical texts used in the curriculum - Vergil, Livy, Tacitus, Ovid, Cicero - plus numerous others that scholars often refer to - Varro, Valerius Maximus, Pliny, to name only a few of these. Under the category "Ius Romanum" the library includes Justinian's Digest, the Institutes of Gaius and the 12 Tables; and under "Christian Latin" Jerome, Tertullian, and many others, including a number of Papal Bulls. The Latin Library even contains some works from the early modern and contemporary period. The collection continues to show most of its growth in the contemporary period.
These online texts are a goldmine for all Latin students beyond the elementary level, for teachers at those levels, and for researchers at all levels. Ten years ago one had usually to start from scratch, with scanning or keyboarding in the texts. Additions to the collection have been extensive over the recent years, and are conveniently listed in reverse chronological order by month for the current year, and then by year going back to 1998, so the researcher eager for new digital texts can quickly check for the latest additions to the corpus of Hydatius or Tertullian.
1. Some of the more recently added texts are not complete, and users need to be aware that many errors remain in these texts. For example:
Cicero, In Cat. 4. 8: ?horribiles cnstodias? , and Cicero, In Cat. 4.21: ?et no bilissimus Perses honestavit? where somehow an extra space has crept in, and 4.23: ?quae dunn erit in vestris fixa mentibus? , dunn being a scanning error for dum. A close examination of these often read texts of Cicero will turn about 1 error every 200 words,
a decent effort at scanning, but still an inconvenience for a researcher using this body for corpus linguistics analysis, and confusing for the intermediate undergraduate who might spend needless time searching for "dunn".
2. The different texts, submitted by a host of sources (see http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/cred) have widely varying degrees of accuracy. Suetonius? Nero, which this reviewer has used with a class, is abounding with errors, e.g., Nero 2, ?quod aeneam barbam habret,?; 3.1: ?Reliquit filium omnibus gentis soae procul dubio praeferendum.? 5: ?nihilo modetius vixit;? and many more.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Teachers will find here almost all the texts included in the traditional Latin curriculum. For teaching purposes, except perhaps for Medieval Latin courses and other than for correcting the errors in the digital texts, the collection suffices for most undergraduate and graduate courses.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The simple, consistent design and the absence of graphics, links or other non-textual accessories provides a good environment for on-line reading or in-class projection and makes downloading easier. The entirety of the site can be downloaded, stored locally on even a modest computer, and used in a classroom without the need for a live Internet connection.
1. Searching can be problematic, and limited usually to a single book of a particular author. Titles cannot readily be searched, and even authors can be tricky to find, with two separate menus (one tabular, the other pull-down).
2. The Greek that appears in Latin texts is variously handled; anyone who has scanned Greek is familiar with the gibberish often produced by inadequate OCR software. The author acknowledges that all instances of gibberish have not been corrected in the collection.
Other Issues and Comments:
1. The web site invites new submissions and editors of both existing and newly scanned texts. It might be helpful to indicate, perhaps with an "updated on" date, when corrections have been included into a particular text.
2. There are still some notable areas for addition: the sections under ?Roman Inscriptions? and ?Roman Epitaphs? are notably brief and incomplete.
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