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NB: NB means nota bene or "note well" (in other words, pay attention to it)

Review of verbs from Lesson 3:

6 principle parts (PP): e.g. amo, amare, amavi, amatus, -a, -um (to love)

Find the root of the word: Remove the -re from the second PP, resulting in ama-, note the final vowel.

Add personal endings to the root: e.g. He/she/it loves: amat; you (pl.) love: amatis

A good thing to get stuck in your head is: Amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant. Say it out loud a few times and you will never forget it.

If you remember this is the Present Active Indicative conjugation of the word amo, amare, meaning “to love”. It is pretty much the standard word for beginning Latin students to learn. (Watch the movie “Empire of the Sun” with Christian Bale, rated PG, as a youngster if you don't believe me!)

Throughout our talk about verbs, I will give examples using amo, amare.


There are 7 cases of nouns, which you need to know in order to fully "decline" a noun (complete the paradigm):

Nominative (nom)- The “subject” of the sentence; denotes what does the action (verb) or, in a passive sentence, receives the action.

Genitive (gen)- possesive case; for our current purposes, denotes possession or ownership of an object like “apostrophe s” in English (e.g. Harry's wand, Dobby's socks, man's treasure, her wisdom, my feelings)

Dative (dat)- indirect object, tells what receives the action of the verb but indirectly

Accusative (acc)- the direct object of the sentence; the object that receives the action directly in an active sentence; also used with some prepositions

Ablative (abl)- uses “by, with, from” and some prepositions to show a special connection with another part of the sentence

Locative (loc)- denotes place or location (loco= place), especially where towns, cities and small islands are concerned; this case Never uses prepositions (it's the way to not use words like “in” and “ad”).

Vocative (voc)- used when speaking to a person: e.g. in English “Ron, wipe your feet!” “You! Stop there!” In all cases except the masculine, 2nd declension, nominative, singular it is the exact same as the nominative case endings.

In this lesson we will focus on learning Nominative and Accusative with a smattering of Vocative in order to make more complicated sentences. Remember, though, that dictionary entries use Nominative and GENITIVE when referring to nouns in order to establish the root or stem of the word! I will give you the entire paradigm and let you try it if you desire.

I will start by giving you examples in English and then giving the Latin to introduce you to the way sentences are formed.

Grammar: nominative verb [Direct Object]

English: The girl (subject) loves [the dog].

Latin: puella amat [canem].

English: The cat is smart.

Latin: felis est callida.

Grammar: nominative verb (predicate) nominative

Genders: feminine, masculine, neuter ('without gender')


1st declension- mostly feminine gendered nouns

S Pl







Gen -ae -arum

Dat -ae -is

Acc -am -as







2nd declension-masculine (ending -us, -er) and neuter(ending -um) gendered words

S Pl

S Pl
Nom -us, -er -i
Nom -um -a
Voc -e -i
Voc -um -a
Gen -i -orum
Gen -i -orum
Dat -o -is
Dat -o -is
Acc -um -os
Acc -um -a













3rd declension-can be masculine, feminine, or neuter and the nom. singular can be most any ending. Use the genitive to determine the word's root and declension.
**NB: The paradigm below is for masculine and feminine in the third declension.  For neuter nouns the Acc is the same as the Nom, with the plural endings being -a**

S Pl

Nom ---- -es (-a)

Gen -is -um

Dat -i -ibus

Acc -em (---) -es (-a)







Example paradigms:

1st declension

puella, puellae= girl, maiden, (female) child

S Pl
Nom puella puellae
Gen puellae puellarum
Dat puellae puellis
Acc puellam puellam
Abl puella puellis

2nd declension

puer, pueri= boy, (male) youth/child, young man canum, cani= wicker basket

S Pl

S Pl
Nom puer pueri
Nom canum cana
Voc puere pueri
Voc canum cana
Gen pueri pueroum
Gen cani canorum
Dat puero pueris
Dat cano canis
Acc puerum pueros
Acc canum cana
Abl puero pueris
Abl cano canis

3rd declension
carmen, carmenis =song/music; poem/play; charm; prayer; incantation

S Pl
Nom carmen carmena
Gen carmenis carmenum
Dat carmeni carmenibus
Acc carmen carmena
Abl carmene carmenibus


So, being that pretty much every culture in the world has some holiday or special day during December, we're going to take this opportunity and let you explore a few...and What they have to do with Rome, of course! (This is the time where your creative, think-outside-the-box juices can get flowing, too.) Just like cultures today, Romans celebrated many holidays, including a number during December and throughout the year.

For the Roman holidays and festivals went hand in hand and were common affairs. Unlike all first world countries today, Romans did not work on weekdays with weekends off-- There was no such thing as a “week end”! Instead, during festivals, everyone (except for the actors and priests of course!) had the day (or days) off. There would theatrical productions, sporting events, gladiatorial combats. Festivals would last anywhere from one day to two weeks, depending on the importance (and patronage) of the festival.

Festivals and holidays were heavily supported and funded by rich Romans and even foreigners. There were many reasons for this but mostly to raise public support. Support of the common man was important to wealthy Romans because it allowed them to win everything from political office to court cases. Political positions were also not paid, but they came with huge amounts of notoriety and the possibility to move up the ladder (“cursus honorem”- lesson one). At the top of that ladder was the proconsulship, otherwise known as a Governor of a colony. The more popular you were, the better and richer the colony you were given, and the more money you could make off of the taxes you took from the people. In other words, Romans rose up the ladder not for the journey, but for the lucrative destination.

Some Roman holidays and festivals:

Saturnalia- December 17- Originally this was a one day, winter solstice festival in honor of the god Saturn, but by the close of the first c. A.D. It had extended to a seven day celebration. It could in some ways be called “Topsy Turvy Day” as one of the traditions was to roast pigs and then the masters served the slaves the meal and did everything else that the slaves said to do. A “Saturnalian King” was chosen by luck of the dice roll as well from all present, including slaves. This King had complete power during the celebration and everyone had to submit to his whims, however, ridiculous. Story goes that Nero, in 54 A.D., used this tradition and loaded dice to humiliate the Emperor Claudius' son, Britannicus. Wealthy and important Romans would also take on much of the appearance of slaves and the poor by donning much more comfortable clothing with the exception of adding a felt hat to show their status. This was kind of like the traditional Boxing Day of Europe, where originally masters gave their servants gifts (sometimes said to be the gifts that the masters did not want anyway; the origin of the modern 26 December being a day for returns to the store).

Lupercalia- February 15- A fertility ritual to the god Lupercus that included a foot race done by young men, who would slap onlookers with strips of lambskin.

Parilia- April 21- A celebration of the founding of Rome.


We've gone over Classical Latin pronunciation in previous lessons, but Latin carols are pronounced somewhat differently, using what is called “Church or Ecclesiastical Latin”. Unfortunately there are many variations in these pronunciations, so what you read here (or at any one source) is not, as they say, sacrosanct. The differences include the following, primarily different in consonants. (Check out the more full explanation found in the links at the bottom.) There are many differences between English and Latin pronunciations but these are the main ones to remember.

c (only before e, ae, oe, I, y) = soft “chuh” (e.g as in the “ch” in “church”)

cc= “t-chuh” as in “focaccia” or “stitch” (Latin: ecce= “et-cheh” instead of “ek-keh”)

sc= “sh” as in “shed”

v= hard vee (unlike Classical “wuh”/soft)

g (only before e, ae, oe, I, y)= soft “juh” (e.g. as in the 'g' in 'generosity')

Here are a few songs, both original Latin (“wedding song” from Rome and neoclassical Latin) and songs that are originally English, translated into Latin.

The Greek and Roman god of weddings was Hymen and the wedding or bridal song sung at all weddings to ensure a happy marriage was called a Hymenaeus (or, from the Greek, Hymenaios). Catullus recorded the lyrics in his Carmen Nuptiale (“Wedding Song”).

Hymen, O Hymenaeus, Hymen ades, O Hymenae!

Plautus also describes a wedding procession in his Comedies, which includes the variation:

Io, Hymen! Io, Hymen! Hymenae! Io, Hymen!

You might also note the differences in form between Hymen and Hymenae, with “Hymen” being in the vocative case.

"De Brevitate Vitae" ("On the Shortness of Life") -18th century from a 13th c. manuscript, used as a graduation song for many European universities.


Gaudeamus igitur
Juvenes dum sumus.
Post jucundam juventutem
Post molestam senectutem
Nos habebit humus.
Ubi sunt qui ante nos
In mundo fuere?
Vadite ad superos
Transite in inferos
Hos si vis videre.
Vita nostra brevis est
Brevi finietur.
Venit mors velociter
Rapit nos atrociter
Nemini parcetur.
Vivat academia!
Vivant professores!
Vivat membrum quodlibet;
Vivant membra quaelibet;
Semper sint in flore.
Vivant omnes virgines
Faciles, formosae.
Vivant et mulieres
Tenerae, amabiles,
Bonae, laboriosae.
Vivat et respublica
et qui illam regit.
Vivat nostra civitas,
Maecenatum caritas
Quae nos hic protegit.
Pereat tristitia,
Pereant osores.
Pereat diabolus,
Quivis antiburschius
Atque irrisores.
O Fortuna (“OH, Fortune”)- first movement of the Carmina Burana (“Songs of Beurn”) by Carl Orff.
O Fortuna
velut luna
statu variabilis,
semper crescis
aut decrescis;
vita detestabilis
nunc obdurat
et tunc curat
ludo mentis aciem,
dissolvit ut glaciem

One of my favourite songs: Pax Deorum (“Peace of the Gods”) by Enya

Omnem crede diem tibi diluxisse supremum.
Omnem crede diem tibi diluxisse supremum.

AAAAAAANNNNDDDD...a Christmas carol because I promised something translated into Latin...
Rudolphus (“Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer”)
Reno erat Rudolphus
Nasum rubrum habebat;
Si quando hunc videbas,
Hunc candere tu dicas.

Omnes renores alii
Semper hunc deridebant;
Cum misero Rudolpho
In ludis non ludebant.

Santus Nicholas dixit
Nocte nebulae,
"Rudolphe, naso claro
Nonne carrum tu duces?"

Tum renores clamabant,
"Rudolphe, delectus es!
Cum naso rubro claro
Historia descendes!"


This will help you in the lesson to follow.

premo, premere, pressi, pressus pursue, chase; press, press hard; oppress; overwhelm
amicus, amici friend, ally, disciple; loved one
aquila, aquilae eagle; standard of a legion (determine based on context)
canis, canis dog; hound; subordinate
canto, cantare, cantavi, cantatus sing; play; recite
canum, cani wicker basket (used for food/flowers and in sacrifices)
carmen, carmenis (neuter)
song/music; poem/play; charm; prayer; incantation
felis, felis cat; marten/ferret/polecat/wild cat; thief
hyrax, hyracis hyrax, rock rabbit, rock badger; (a rodent)
leo, leonis lion
magnificus (adjective) splendid, excellent, sumptuous, magificent
pater, patris father
puella, puellae girl; (female) child/ daughter; maiden
puer, pueri boy, (male) youth/child, young man
serpens, serpentis snake, serpent
sportula, sportulae food or money given by patrons to clients


A PDF with a full break down and explanation of both nouns and adjectives- http://www.slu.edu/colleges/AS/languages/classical/latin/tchmat/grammar/s-gram1.pdf

Includes concise, helpful introductions for all 7 cases, including locative and vocative- http://www.dl.ket.org/latinlit/grammar/cases/nominative.htm

List of Roman Holidays and Festivals with descriptions- http://histmyst.org/festivals.html


List of (modern) Holidays and Special days in December- http://familycrafts.about.com/library/spdays/bldecdayslong.htm

The St. Louis Metro Singers have this info page about Chuch Latin pronunciation-


Excellent, easy to read, full explanation with charts on the complexities and history of Latin pronunciation, demystified :) - http://www.ai.uga.edu/mc/latinpro.pdf

This page has links to many holiday songs in Latin, including Hannukah songs!- http://gaudium-mundo.blogspot.com/2005/11/complete-calendar.html

Subpages (1): Assignment 4