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Learning Latin opens a doorway into the past that places the present into context. Much of Western European civilization is built upon the foundations of Rome. Roman roads still crisscross the continent, connecting cities that once were Roman colonies and still employ some Roman customs and laws. The Latin language similarly connected Western Europe for centuries and provided the root for most of the continent’s modern languages. Ancient Roman writers transformed the language of their region, Latium, into a literary giant, filling volumes with stories of gods, love poetry, comedy, tragedy, rhetoric, history, architectural guides, philosophic treatises, and scientific inquiry. Their legacy shaped European culture, literature, and the exploration of the wider world


Why Latin?

  1. As a root language to English, students will gain a greater understanding of the structure and vocabulary of the English language.
  2. Unlike modern languages, Latin at Clemson has no oral component. Students progress through Latin grammar in the first year, moving from textbook to ancient text by the end of the second semester.
  3. In place of a language lab, Latin at Clemson introduces students to aspects of Roman culture, history, literature, and archaeology. Students learn about ancient coinage, pottery, architecture, and get a taste of the Roman diet.
  4. During the second year of instruction, students leave the textbook behind and read texts from the Ancient Roman World. Students can learn pick up lines from Ovid, the philosophy of Marcus Aurelius, the dangers of tyranny with Tacitus (and others), read Cicero’s mail, or find out what it was like to be at ground zero the day Vesuvius blew its top.
  5. The curricula for both LATN 2010 and 2020 are shaped in part by the students themselves. In recent years, students have explored the transfer of power during the Roman principate from one emperor to another (various authors), the Aeneid of Vergil, Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps in the pages of Livy, the private correspondence of Pliny the Younger with his friend, the emperor Trajan, and how Cicero thwarted a coup by the upstart nobleman Catiline.

What Does It Offer?

  1. The Latin program at Clemson consists of four semester courses: LATN 1010, LATN 1020, LATN 2010, & LATN 2020.
  2. LATN 1010 introduces students to the Latin language as well as the history and culture of Rome.
  3. LATN 1020 completes a student’s instruction in Latin grammar and introduces students to ancient authors such as Pliny the Younger and/or Cicero. The class also broadens the scope of the Roman world to consider the shape of the government, the nature of the Roman empire, and the literary world during the time of the emperor Augustus.
  4. LATN 2010 reinforces a student’s instruction in Latin grammar and focuses upon literature from the Roman Republic based partially upon student interest. In past years, LATN 2010 students have analyzed the coup attempt of Catiline in 63 BCE from multiple angles and the campaigns of Caesar in Gaul.
  5. LATN 2020 completes the student’s exposure to Latin by moving to literature of the Roman Empire. Again, based upon student interest, the course focuses upon a particular topic such as the entrenchment of imperial power during the 1st century ACE, the poetry developed under the patronage of Maecenas (Vergil, Horace, and Propertius), or the administration of the Empire during the reign of the Five Good Emperors.

Faculty contact


Office: 361 Humanities Hall

Giving to Latin


Department of Languages
Department of Languages | 717 Strode Tower, Clemson, SC 29634