AP Latin


(Prerequisite: Latin IV or determined eligibility, not sooner than 10th grade)

The following content is adapted from the College Board’s course description for AP® Latin:

AP Latin is designed to provide advanced high school students with a rich and rigorous Latin course, approximately equivalent to an upper to intermediate (typically fourth or fifth semester) college or university Latin course. Students who successfully complete the course are able to read, understand, translate, and analyze Latin poetry and prose. AP Latin students prepare and translate the required Latin readings with an accuracy that reflects precise understanding of the Latin in all its details; they also read and comprehend passages at sight, even if not with full understanding of every detail. These two types of study powerfully reinforce each other. The course thus allows time for regular, sustained, and integrated practice at sight reading.

Throughout the course, students develop their language skills through various activities: precise, literal translation of prepared poetry and prose; reading with comprehension of sight passages, both poetry and prose; and written analyses that demonstrate the results of critical reading in clear and coherent arguments supported by textual examples. Another important aspect of reading Latin lies in the mastery of the many terms that have been devised by scholars and teachers over the years to describe and analyze Latin grammar, syntax, and literary style. Linguistic competence, important as it is, does not exhaust the goals of studying Latin.

The Latin language is also the best route to learning about the history, literature, and culture of the ancient Romans. With this in mind, texts have been chosen that will allow students to encounter some of the important people, events, and literary genres of Roman times, focusing on the core periods of the late Republic and the early Principate. Vergil’s Aeneid, arguably the most influential work of Latin literature, is both a model of Latin poetic style and a profound meditation on the meaning of Roman history and civilization. Caesar’s Gallic War, for generations a standard school text, is still rightly admired both for its pure and straightforward Latinity and for its historical interest, as it engages with controversial issues of war and peace, empire, ethnicity, leadership, and the roles and purposes of historiography. English readings from Vergil’s Aeneid and Caesar’s Gallic Warare also included in the required syllabus in order to put the Latin excerpts in a significant context. The course exposes students to and develops skills characteristic of the methods of classical philology, with its rigorous attention to linguistic detail coupled with critical interpretation and analysis.