Erasmus Academy Spring ‘21


Third Semester Latin: Reading Pliny’s Letters

Jan. 27–April 21, 2021

Third Semester Classical Latin Online                   Instructor: Dr. Ben DeSmidt

Reading Pliny’s Letters                                              Preceptor: Sierra Rose Stange


This course provides training in intermediate Latin reading and grammar review which is equivalent to standard third semester college Latin courses. We will learn about and discuss the history and culture of the Roman Imperial period by studying, reading and translating selected letters of Pliny the Younger. The course includes a review of Latin grammar, as exemplified in the letters of Pliny. This course also offers an introduction to the use of Latin dictionaries and standard grammars through resources available online.

This semester course is designed for college or graduate students desiring to expand their reading skills in Latin beyond the level reached in a first-year college course. Other adults may enroll in this course, as well as highly motivated secondary school students. It is assumed that persons enrolling in this course will have had the equivalent of a first year of college Latin. Following this course, a participant would be equipped to enter a fourth semester college Latin course. 

Course Structure

As a distance learning course, students may take this class from any location or from the convenience of their home. They will need to have access to the Internet. The course meets in “real time” and participants are expected to attend all the scheduled sessions. Each student participates fully in each class by listening and speaking, translating and posing questions. Assignments are emailed to the Instructor. The 12-week course meets once a week (Wednesdays), 6:15 pm – 9:15 pm EST; it comprises 36 hours of instruction. Each 3-hour session includes grammar review, strategies for analyzing and reading the letters of Pliny the Younger, sight-reading, and quizzes. Presuming 2 hours of outside preparation for each hour in class, 9 hours (3+6) a week should be available for study. This class meets every Wednesday evening between Jan. 27th and April 21, 2021, except on Wednesday, March 17 (the week of Spring Break).  


Students will have the option of attending precept sessions, which are held on each    Tuesday during the course, 5:00-6:00 pm ET. During these weekly sessions, Sierra Rose Stange, the course preceptor, will present the historical context for the specific letter(s) to be translated that week. You will thereby gain a better understanding of what the letters reflect in terms of personal circumstances or historical or cultural events in the larger Roman empire. These preceptor sessions are offered as part of the course, for which there is no extra charge. 

Registration Deadline:   Jan.15, 2021

For information and inquiries, contact the Instructor:

Dr. Ben DeSmidt

Tel. 608-354-7761

You may register and make payments online:



Click here to download: ENROLLMENT FORM