It is sometimes hard to convince students that they will profit from studying a ‘dead’ language. But there is nothing dead about a city and civilization that continues to shape our fundamental conceptions about science, law, government, civic life, not to mention our language. That civilization, the direct inheritor of the wonders of Greece, fashioned its own distinctive vision of what it means to be truly human, and that vision is preserved in the supple expressiveness of its language, which remains to this day the standard by which all other languages are judged. Our program strives to perpetuate this language in its richness and depth in the minds of good students.
Our purpose is to stimulate students - to awaken an interest in the history, politics, art and architecture of Rome, while engaged in advanced study of Latin and the people who spoke it. Most of the places we visit will be the immediate subject of the tutorial sessions. In such a setting, grammar becomes a map to a familiar place, and vocabulary a newly discovered old friend. Above all, we strive to preserve what some have called a "dead language" in living minds. And, as you probably know, such study has always been thought to be the irreplaceable foundation of a truly liberal education.
The Latin texts are taken from four or five ‘major’ authors, but also include inscriptions and other small texts, related to the sites we visit. The Latin readings are supplemented with passages read in translation, that focus upon the Roman constitution and the earlier history of Rome, the founding era, and the growing awareness, in the time of Cicero, of the possible loss of that past.
In small group tutorials of five or six apiece, we try to sharpen and deepen each student’s command of the Latin language, both by the variety of the readings and by learning fundamentals well. By ‘fundamentals’ is meant not only grammar but even the humblest forms (inflections, principal parts, pronouns, etc.); for these too are important (though often neglected) and have their own beauty. We try to show students that grammatical understanding is a means to precision of thought, and to teach them how to translate into expressive, living English.
To note: students who participate in Latin in Rome and later enroll as an undergraduate at the University of Dallas will be eligible for a $4,000 scholarship ($1,000 per academic year). Effective for study abroad program participants beginning in 2015.
Many students come to Rome; most can only gape in speechless awe. Our program, however, seeks to ensure that students think about what they see. It is a college Latin course from which a good student can earn three credits. On the one hand, we make many trips to sites in and around Rome; we visit Cicero’s lovely birthplace, Arpino; near Naples we climb the summit of Vesuvius, and explore Oplontis and Pompeii. We take a day-trip to Capri and walk up to Tiberius' villa. To animate our reading of Virgil, we also visit Cumae and the Cave of the Sibyl. We also view some of the wonders of post-imperial Rome, with visits to St. Peter's, and other extraordinary churches. But our students are not mere site-seers; they also read, study, and reflect on the record of Roman greatness, written in their Latin language. Thus they try hard to understand the otherwise mute and crumbling stones, which we see as we walk among the ‘ruins’ of ancient Rome.
Here are links to some of the many sites we may visit in Rome and beyond:
An additional site visit to the ancient Latin city of Gabii may be possible. Dr. Elizabeth Robinson, the Art History professor for the University of Dallas Rome Program, is part of a team leading excavations with the help of students from UD, Yale and the University of Michigan. Learn More.
Each year, University faculty and top students from our Classics Department lead Latin in Rome. Over the years, Latin in Rome directors and instructors have included program creator Dr. David O. Davies, Dr. Karl Maurer, Associate Professor of Classics, and Dr. David Sweet, Chairman of the Classics Department.
UD’s beautiful Eugene Constantin Rome Campus at Due Santi is located on the western slopes of the Alban Hills, about twelve miles southeast of the center of Rome, in one of the city’s most attractive suburbs. Less than two miles away, in the small town of Castel Gandolfo, is the Palazzo Papale, a majestic palace that serves as the Pope’s summer residence. Thanks to this unique location and the comfortable and well-provided Due Santi campus itself, UD Rome is a perfect place for students, faculty, and staff to get to know one another, to learn together, and to explore the many attractions of Italy.