Pharr-formatted Augustine’s Confessions Bk 1 now available as a pdf

J. S. has written a Pharr-formatted commentary for Book 1 and graciously made the book available as a free download here on his website. A revised edition will appear in paperback  in the next month or two.

The book is well worth a look–and a much-needed redirection for those of us consumed by the daily news cycle.

Xenophon’s Anabasis Book 3 is also available in beta on the Xenophon page.

Teachers working from home: What do you need?

Just as many of you, I am preparing to switch to online classes with my students for the foreseeable future. If you are using any of the materials on this website, and I can supply a file or ancillary to make your task easier, do not hesitate to ask.

In an earlier post I recommended various ways to use the pdf to enhance instruction. Below is one approach that I plan to use with my own students as I make the transition to online instruction.

Several times a week I have my students sight-read in groups and encourage them to ask their peers or, as last resort, me about words that they do not know (LLPSI is our primary text). Since students at home will not be able to rely on their peers or me, I have decided to annotate their Latin passages to make their reading experience a little smoother and less frustrating–for high and low performing students alike.

My approach is simple: (1) I annotate a copy of the free pdf of the text, (2) take a screenshot of a selected passage to create a conveniently sized jpg, and finally (3) insert the jpg into an online assignment or test (e.g. Google Classroom, Blackboard, Canvas, Schoology, etc.). Sometimes I just annotate a pdf page, skip the jpg conversion, and insert the pdf into the assignment. Below is an example from Ritchie’s Fabulae Faciles:


Annotating a pdf or jpg and inserting it into an online or in-class exercise is one of the easiest ways to anticipate and address questions students will have as they work alone at home. I can tailor my notes to the needs of that specific group of students. In addition, the ability to carve up a full-size pdf page into a selected passage (whether jpg or pdf) allows me to create exercises and tests for the desktop where students have enough room to read the passage above and still have room below to answer short answer questions, complete multiple choice, or even write out translations without scrolling.

The best part about this approach is that it just takes minutes to create from start to finish. For those of us who are teaching six classes and four preparations and now have to adjust to online instruction, there is only so much time to work each day. Annotating the pdf and creating a jpg for online assignments can be an elegant way to keep the students reading.

Livy’s Ab Urbe Condita Book 1 now in paperback

This commentary is 7 x 10 in. (17.8 x 24.4 cm), the same trim size as College Caesar and Cicero’s First Catilinarian but twice as thick. The book has more of the look and and feel of a  textbook than the other slimmer volumes in this series, but the size is necessary to accommodate the Latin text as well as the numerous vocabulary entries and grammatical notes on each page.

I encourage you to download and review the pdf for the 1st edition on Livy page before you consider purchasing the volume on (14.95 USD).



Eutropius’ Hannibal added, Ovid’s Icarus and Daedalus updated (beta editions)

Eutropius’ Hannibal (Bk 3 of Breviarium Historiae Romanae) is an early beta edition that includes a running core vocabulary, 12 pages of commentary, 6 text-only pages with Ørberg-style notes, and an alphabetized core vocabulary.

Eutropius’ prose is very accessible, and this selection is often read in 3rd and 4th year Latin classrooms to help students prepare for more challenging readings in Caesar and Cicero . While some readers and teachers may want to use the text-only pages exclusively, others can prepare a reading by using the commentary pages and then use the text-only pages in a classroom setting for review.

Livy recounts these same events in much greater detail in Books 21-30 of his Ab Urbe Condita.



How teachers can use the pdf to enhance instruction

Teachers have contacted me and offered a number of ways that they use the pdf to enhance instruction. Below are a few tips worth passing along:

(1) Enlarge the pdf on your desktop and connect the computer to a projector to create a quick and easy presentation.

(2) Enlarge the pdf on the desktop and take screenshot images of the selected text (Mac: shift-command-4, Windows: Snipping tool) to insert in presentations, quizzes, and tests. (Enlarging the pdf improves the image resolution.) This is a very easy way to maintain formatting between the book, presentations, and tests.

(3) Copy and paste the Greek or Latin text to insert in translation quizzes and tests.

(4) Use the search function in the pdf to find relevant grammar constructions throughout the commentary: e.g. search “subj” to find all labeled subjunctive constructions and “dat” to find labeled dative constructions.

(5) If the students have mastered the core vocabulary, copy and paste selected dictionary entries from the corresponding vocabulary sections (e.g. word occurring 3-8 times) as you read to create vocabulary lists for students to review and memorize.

(6) In a secondary school setting, post the pdf (or a link to the pdf) on your class website and ask that students use the paperback in class and pdf at home or vice versa and not carry the book in their book bags. This is an easy way to discourage daily wear-and-tear on your books and yet ensure that students always have access to the commentary.

(7) If you wish to add selected vocabulary to Quizlet or Anki to make flashcards, Quizlet and other programs allow you to copy and paste lists of vocabulary and then ask what punctuation you wish to use to divide up the word from the definition. Choose “:” and within seconds you will convert the vocabulary list copied from the pdf into a functional set of flashcards. Then, simply copy the link to the flashcard set and send it to your students.

If you have any other suggestions to add to this list, please let me know.