Latin Spring 2021

Latin Spring 2021 is an introductory course in the Latin language held during the Spring semester 2021 at the:


Latin in English

PIL course number: 101032

15-19 February 2021
22-26 February 2021
1-5 March 2021
8-12 March 2021
15-19 March 2021
22-26 March 2021
Easter holiday

Instructor: Daniel P. McCarthy

photo of Fr Daniel P McCarthy OSB

Brief description

If you wish to understand the Latin language and its literature for the past 2,500 years, and you wish to study in English, this course will provide its bones, how the language is structured and connects together. The course is part of the preparatory year of linguistic study at the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy at Sant’Anselmo, Rome, although other people are welcome to enrol and join our study.

We shall use the system developed by Fr. Reginald Foster, OCD, papal Latinist for four popes over 40 years, as presented in the volume Ossa Latinitatis Sola. We presume no prior knowledge of the Latin language, but require dedicated personal study and daily application.

Students wishing to join this experience are to enrol before our first session on Monday 15 February 2021. Shortly thereafter new students will not be allowed to join our course already in progress.


By the end of the course participants will have …

1. developed a clear understanding of the structure of the Latin language and its modes of expression,
2. rendered Latin texts into clear English and English texts into good Latin,
3. understood the ambiguities of each language.


Daily encounters will be held from 9:20 until 10:00 (proposed) on every lecture day of the Spring semester 2021 from 15 February 2021 until 28 May 2021.

Because one semester of study is not sufficient, students wishing to pass the proficiency exam in Latin should expect to continue their studies throughout the summer in preparation for taking the exam at the end of September or beginning of October 2021.

Structure of the Course


Our daily 40-minute encounters are too brief to include a full presentation of the material. So, participants are requested to read carefully and fully consider before each daily session the Encounter assigned to that day from the Ossa volume; they are strongly advised to come to the encounter with their questions ready.


During our encounters we shall read authentic Latin texts from every era and genre of the language for a patient and careful understanding, and we shall render them into clear English. We shall also work with them to produce our own expressions in Latin.

By the end of each encounter the instructor will present a ludus domesticus for the participants to complete daily, on their own, not working together, so that each person has to wrestle with their own understanding of the language until the concepts become clear. These are not typical homework exercises, but really are games to lead us in the adventure of learning.

Ludus domesticus

Each ludus shall be handed in either on the following day or on the day after that – we’ll have to see what works best. The instructor will review them and hand them back in a subsequent encounter for discussion.

In this way, with a bit of guidance from the instructor, the participants will teach themselves to understand the Latin language.


The Ossa volume has 105 Encounters intended to be spread out over three years of learning Latin so that the mind may take its time to learn the material well. Because several of the ludi domestici are doubled-up, there are a total of about 98 of them for this entire program of study. We have only 64 Encounters in this semester so we shall get through perhaps two-thirds of the material. This means it is all the more important for the participants to apply themselves to private study daily.

There is essential material to learn especially in Encounters 71-73 and Encounter 77 as well as the rest. Whatever we do not cover during the course of our time together, the participants will have to do on their own. At the end of our semester together, the instructor will hand out ludi domestici which participants may complete during their own private and continuing study throughout the summer in preparation for taking the proficiency exam at the beginning of the autumn term 2021.

Learning activities

  • Private preparation by reading the encounters of Ossa.
  • Group sight reading, understanding and rendering into English,
  • Group sight rendering into Latin,
  • Private study using the ludi domestici,
  • Group review of corrected ludi domestici,
  • Regular and frequent consultation of the dictionary,
  • Learning how to use the dictionary,
  • Learning how to continue


Each participant must have two essential books:

  1. FOSTER, R.T. – D.P. McCARTHY, Ossa Latinitatis sola ad mentem Reginaldi rationemque: The Mere Bones of Latin according to the thought and system of Reginald(Latinitatis corpus 1), Catholic University of America Press, Washington DC 2016. Available in Rome at several places mentioned below.
  2. SIMPSON, D.P., Cassell’s Latin Dictionary: Latin – English, English – Latin, Houghton – Mifflin – Harcourt, Boston – New York 1968 with later reprints. Also available in Rome at several places mentioned below.

Cassell’s dictionary mentioned above is intended for the beginning student. It has the essential material needed without overburdening.

Recommended for advancing students

As students advance, they may want to invest in the Lewis and Short Latin dictionary which will serve for the rest of their career.

♦ LEWIS, C.T.,- C. SHORT, A Latin Dictionary, Oxford UP, Oxford – New York 1879, thereafter reprinted. The printed volume is advantageous, but the resource is available online in several formatts (not without some difficulties)

Online resources
Parsing tool with Lewis and Short Dictionary

♦  Latin Work Study Tool with the Lewis and Short dictionary available here: Enter an inflected form of your word in the field under the heading “Dictionary Entry Lookup”, located in the column on the right.

Lewis and Short dictionary search tool

♦ LEWIS and SHORT entry word search: This is another version of the above entry word search. This one is well laid-out for easier reading. Enter the dictionary entry for your word in the field at the top left of the page.

image of the search page for Logeion

Even more Latin dictionaries are available on Logeion, including Lewis and Short. Enter the dictionary entry for your word in the field at the top of this page. If the search produces entries from several different dictionaries, they are listed first and you can choose which one you wish to consult.

English to Latin for advanced students

A complete English to Latin dictionary is: W. SMITH – T.D. HALL, A copious and critical English-Latin dictionary, Harper & brothers, New York 1850, is available in PDF format for download here, and in several versions from the Open Library here.

Recommended for full Latin reference

GILDERSLEEVE, B.L, – G. LODGE, Gildersleeve’s Latin Grammar, Bolchazy-Carducci, Wauconda IL 2003, reprint of 31985.

Contact information

The instructor requests that you not phone him. Rather, please contact him via email at: danielmccarthyosb AT mac DOT com.

Pathway of Study

15 February 2021, Monday

Read and prepare before class Encounter 1 in Ossa.
Hand out: Experience I, Ludus 01
This is an example page of how I approached the work here. We’ll do this first sentence together during our Encounter, just to help you see how to complete a lusus domesticus.

16 February 2021, Tuesday

Read and prepare before class Encounter 2 in Ossa.
Hand out: Experience I, Ludus 02
Due today: Experience I, Ludus 01.
Encounter 2 PDF
Encounter 2 docx

17 February 2021, Wednesday

Read and prepare before class Encounter 3 in Ossa.
Due today: Experience I, Ludus 02
The instructor will review and hand back today Experience I, Ludus 01 which we may review together.
Hand out: Experience I, Ludus 03
003 Experience I, Encounter 3 PDF

18 February 2021, Thursday

Read and prepare before class Encounter 4 in Ossa.
Hand out: Experience I, Ludus 04

19 February 2021, Friday

Read and prepare before class Encounter 5 in Ossa.
Due today: Experience I, Ludus 03
Hand out: Experience I, Ludus 05

22 February 2021, Monday

Read and prepare before class Encounter 6 in Ossa.
Due today: Experience I, Ludus 04
Hand out: Experience I, Ludus 06

23 February 2021, Tuesday

Read and prepare before class Encounter 7 in Ossa.
Hand out: Experience I, Ludus 07

24 February 2021, Wednesday

Read and prepare before class Encounter 8 in Ossa.
Hand out: Experience I, Ludus 08

25 February 2021, Thursday

Read and prepare before class Encounter 9 in Ossa.
Hand out: Experience I, Ludus 09

26 February 2021, Friday

Read and prepare before class Encounterss 10-11 in Ossa.
Hand out: Experience I, Ludus 10-11

1 March 2021, Monday
2 March 2021, Tuesday
3 March 2021, Wednesday
4 March 2021, Thursday
5 March 2021, Friday

8 March 2021, Monday
9 March 2021, Tuesday
10 March 2021, Wednesday
11 March 2021, Thursday
12 March 2021, Friday

15 March 2021, Monday
16 March 2021, Tuesday
17 March 2021, Wednesday
18 March 2021, Thursday
19 March 2021, Friday

22 March 2021, Monday
23 March 2021, Tuesday
24 March 2021, Wednesday
25 March 2021, Thursday
26 March 2021, Friday

12 April 2021, Monday
13 April 2021, Tuesday
14 April 2021, Wednesday
15 April 2021, Thursday
16 April 2021, Friday

19 April 2021, Monday
20 April 2021, Tuesday
21 April 2021, Wednesday – FEAST OF ST ANSELM – NO ENCOUNTER
22 April 2021, Thursday
23 April 2021, Friday

26 April 2021, Monday
27 April 2021, Tuesday
28 April 2021, Wednesday
29 April 2021, Thursday
30 April 2021, Friday

3 May 2021, Monday
4 May 2021, Tuesday
5 May 2021, Wednesday
6 May 2021, Thursday
7 May 2021, Friday

10 May 2021, Monday
11 May 2021, Tuesday
12 May 2021, Wednesday
13 May 2021, Thursday
14 May 2021, Friday

17 May 2021, Monday
18 May 2021, Tuesday
19 May 2021, Wednesday
20 May 2021, Thursday
21 May 2021, Friday

24 May 2021, Monday
25 May 2021, Tuesday
26 May 2021, Wednesday
27 May 2021, Thursday
28 May 2021, Friday


This course is offered in English at the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy housed at:

Piazza Cavalieri di Malta, 5
00153 Roma, Italia

See map below.


You may purchase Ossa in print in several bookstores in Rome. You may also purchase the pdf version for use on your device directly from the publisher here.

You may purchase our books at the English desk at:

Pauline multimedia
via del Mascherino, 94
00193 Roma
Tel. 06.6872354
Fax: 06.68308093
contact Silvia:
General enquiries:


You may also purchase materials at Libreria Sole, located directly across the street from the Gregorian University:

Libreria Sole
Via dei Lucchesi 20
00187 Rome, Italy
Tel.: +39 06 679 06 75

Cassell’s Latin dictionary is also available on here.

Latin resources

I have begun to develop a page of resources for the Latin language including: dictionaries, grammars, resources, texts, links.

© D.P. McCarthy, created on 5 February 2021.