Latin, as a language, dates back about 3000 years.  For 1250 of those years it was the language of the the vigorous, expansionist, and organized Roman people.  After the fall of their empire, the Latin language in the lands they had conquered and governed began to evolve into what we call the Romance languages:  Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Romanian.  Though these languages were spoken among the common people of Europe, Latin was prerequisite study for scholars, churchmen, and government leaders for another 1500 years. English, though not a Romance language is made up of 60-75% Latin-derived vocabulary, most of which came through French (see BB1 Introduction, “The French Connection”).

Because of its use and influence, the Latin language can be seen as a kind of fabric from which our Western culture has been cut. The very words we use to formulate and articulate meaning from our reality have their roots in Latin. So, the study of Latin resonates deeply in English or Romance language speakers. I’ve noticed this in the enlightened “ahas” that my students routinely emit as they make an unexpected connection between words they use everyday and the ancient language.

So aside from all its more tangible benefits, the study of Latin enlarges and enriches students by helping them to realize that something as intimate as their very words is a product of millennia of human history, thought, and endeavor. This creates a meaningful sense of connection and purpose beyond the present, which all students benefit from.

I’ve attempted to infuse the LivelyLatin curriculum with a sense of the historicity, vibrancy, and richness reflective of our Latin cultural foundation.    Examples include:

  • Timeline of languages and the story of the French Connection
  • Art prints to illustrate Roman history and enliven vocabulary and grammar study.
  • Countless references to Rome’s enduring legacy in our architecture, governmental forms, art, literature, etc.
  • Latin word studies in scientific, medical, and everyday terms.
  • Use of culturally important artifacts to illustrate Latin vocabulary, e.g. Famous Saxa  = Stonehenge


To see actual samples, view the LivelyLatin BigBook 1 and BigBook 2 sample books.