Learning Latin as a Foreign Language in Late Antiquity: How Did They Do It?

Eleanor Dickey

What did ancient Latin learners actually do? How different were their methods from ours? What was hard, and what was easy? To what extent did they actually succeed in learning the language? These questions will be addressed using the evidence of a set of Latin textbooks surviving via the manuscript tradition, the Hermeneumata Pseudodositheana, along with fragments of papyri and ostraca used by Greek and Coptic speakers learning Latin in the Eastern empire.


Eleanor Dickey is Professor of Classics at the University of Reading in England and has published numerous books and articles on the Latin and Greek languages and how they were studied in antiquity, including Learning Latin the Ancient Way (Cambridge 2016) and The Colloquia of the Hermeneumata Pseudodositheana (Cambridge 2012-15). Her introductory Latin textbook Learn Latin from the Romans will be published by Cambridge later this year.