Achievement Course: Latin
Recommended Ages: 10-18 years of age
Approximate Completion Time Frame: 6-9 months


St. Jerome was born around the year 342 in Dalmatia and was brought up in the Christian Faith. St. Jerome was sent to Rome at an early age and quickly became a scholar. He learned to speak both Latin and Greek languages. While in Rome and surrounded by pagans he struggled to hold close to the Christian Faith. Although, in 360 he was baptized by Pope Liberius. After his baptism his faith continued to deepen with studies and over the time spent with the monks in Antioch. Pope Damasus turned to him for counsel and dealings concerning the Antioch schism. While in Bethlehem, he undertook the difficult and laborious task of translating most of the Old Testament from Hebrew into Latin. This translation set into motion the pathway for the Vulgate, which is the Catholic Church’s Latin version of the Old Testament. He is one of the Catholic Doctors of the Church for defending the Divine Word and is the patron saint of librarians and translators.

“The use of the Latin language prevailing in a great part of the Church affords at once an imposing sign of unity and an effective safeguard against the corruptions of true doctrine.” Venerable Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei, 1947, Sec. 60

“The day the Church abandons her universal tongue [Latin] is the day before she returns to the catacombs.” Pope Pius XII

Objective: To learn the basic level of spoken and sung Latin with proficiency.


Latin is the official language of the Catholic Church, and the sacred language of the Western Catholic Churches and Rites (Roman, Ambrosian, Dominican, etc.). It is the language of the official Bible of the Church, the Latin Vulgate. Many Popes and Saints have urged Catholics to learn, use, and love the Latin language. It is truly a Catholic (universal) language, spanning the entire Church around the globe.

As the Troops of Saint George are both an international and a Catholic movement, we wish to respond to the calls of the Popes and inculcate a love of the Latin language into our Cadets and Tribunes. This Achievement Course is designed to introduce a basic level of spoken and sung Latin proficiency. Because of this focus, you won’t find any requirements here dealing with grammatical concepts like declensions and conjugations. By introducing Latin in a less formal and academic way, we are aiming to instill a love of the Church’s language, with the hope that many of our Cadets and Tribunes will go on to pursue a deeper study of Latin.

Prayer to Venerable Pope Pius XII
O Venerable Pope Pius XII, who had on earth great courage to preach the word of God, vigor to repel the enemies of the Church, and zeal for the Holy Name, pray for us poor sinners. May we, O Pius, have a double portion of thy righteous qualities in defense of our holy Church. May we never abandon our duty to defend the faith, with fortitude, wherever we are and in whatever state God hath put us. Venerable Pius, may we, like thee, show the radiant glory of our Holy Lord in everything we do and say. And this, through the graciousness of the Divine Majesty, to Whom we humbly ask thee to pray for our benefit and protection. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

“Latin is the immutable language of the Western Church.” Pope Saint John XXIII

“For the Church, precisely because it embraces all nations and is destined to endure until the end of time … of its very nature requires a language that is universal, immutable, and non-vernacular.” Pope Pius XI, Officiorum Omnium, 1922

Note that there is a lot of memorization required for this Proficiency Course. We recommend that Cadets not attempt to memorize everything at once, and that they incorporate some of the prayers and songs into their personal and Troop prayer traditions to help retain what they have learned.

A full course with video lessons is forthcoming, but in the meantime a pronunciation guide and many of the prayers and songs listed here can be found on the Thesaurus Precum Latinarum (http://www.preces-latinae.org/index.htm).

Requirements


  1. Read Pope Saint John XXIII’s Encyclical Veterum Sapientia (in English translation), and write a 2-page or longer essay (in English) on it, addressing the following points:
    • Why do you think Pope St. John XXIII wrote this Encyclical?
    • What are three reasons St. John XXIII gives for the importance of Latin to the Church?
    • What are three actions commanded by St. John XXIII to preserve and promote Latin in the Church?
    • What does St. John XXIII say the relationship between Latin and Greek is? What part of the Roman Rite is in Greek (hint: it’s one of the 4 below in requirement II.)?
    • What can you do to help promote the use and study of Latin:
      • In your home
      • In your Troop
      • In your Parish
  2. Recite from memory these parts of the Roman Mass:
    • Confiteor
    • Kyrie
    • Sanctus
    • Agnus Dei
  3. Recite, without stumbling and with the text in front of you, the following:
    • Gloria in excelsis (from Mass)
    • Symbolum Nicaenum (Nicene Creed)
    • Symbolum Apostulorum (Apostles’ Creed)
  4. Recite from memory all the prayers of the Rosary, namely:
    • Signum Crucis
    • Pater Noster
    • Ave Maria
    • Gloria Patri
    • O Mi Jesu (Fatima Prayer)
  5. Sing (yes, sing) the following traditional Latin songs in their traditional plainchant:
    • Salve Regina (from memory)
    • Regina Caeli (from text)
    • O Salutaris Hostia (from text)
    • Tantum Ergo (from text)
  6. Perform a short dialogue in elementary Latin, either alone or with another, and answer simple extemporaneous questions (“what is that?”, “Do you have it?”). An actual dialogue that can be memorized is forthcoming, but you can use:
    • Common nouns like baculum (stick), rosa (rose), and calamus (marker)
    • Simple adjectives like meus (mine), tuus (yours), magnus( big), albus (white)
    • Use the simple verbs sum (I am), volo (I want), habeo (I have), do (I give), carpo (I take) in the present tense.
  7. Know and define the following Latin phrases by defining each of the following in the presence of your parent or TSG officer. Have your parent or officer read the Latin phrase and respond by translating and/or explaining what it means:

Latin Phrases


a posteriori from the latter  – knowledge or justification is dependent on experience or empirical evidence


a priori from what comes before – knowledge or justification is independent of experience


acta non verba – deeds, not words


ad hoc – to this; improvised or made up


ad hominem – to the man; below-the-belt personal attack rather than a reasoned argument


ad honorem – for honor


ad infinitum – to infinity


ad nauseam – used to describe an argument that has been taking place to the point of nausea


ad victoriam – to victory; more commonly translated into “for victory,” this was a battle cry of the Romans


alea iacta est – the die has been cast


Alias – at another time; an assumed name or pseudonym


Alibi – elsewhere


alma mater – nourishing mother; used to denote one’s college/university


amor patriae – love of one’s country


amor vincit omnia – love conquers all


annuit coeptis – He (God) nods at things being begun; or “he approves our undertakings,” motto on the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States and on the back of the United States one-dollar bill


ante bellum – before the war; commonly used in the Southern United States as antebellum to refer to the period preceding the American Civil War


ante meridiem – before noon; A.M., used in timekeeping


aqua vitae – water of life; used to refer to various native distilled beverages, such as whisky (uisge beatha) in Scotland and Ireland, gin in Holland, and brandy (eau de vie) in France


arte et marte – by skill and valour


astra inclinant, sed non obligant – the stars incline us, they do not bind us; refers to the strength of free will over astrological determinism


audemus jura nostra defendere – we dare to defend our rights; state motto of Alabama


audere est facere – to dare is to do


Audio – I hear


aurea mediocritas – golden mean; refers to the ethical goal of reaching a virtuous middle ground between two sinful extremes


auribus teneo lupum – I hold a wolf by the ears; a common ancient proverb; indicates that one is in a dangerous situation where both holding on and letting go could be deadly; a modern version is, “to have a tiger by the tail”


aut cum scuto aut in scuto – either with shield or on shield – do or die, “no retreat”; said by Spartan mothers to their sons as they departed for battle


aut neca aut necare – either kill or be killed


aut viam inveniam aut faciam – I will either find a way or make one; said by Hannibal, the great ancient military commander


barba non facit philosophum – a beard doesn’t make one a philosopher


bellum omnium contra omnes – war of all against all


bis dat qui cito dat – he gives twice, who gives promptly; a gift given without hesitation is as good as two gifts


bona fide – good faith


bono malum superate – overcome evil with good


carpe diem – seize the day


caveat emptor – let the buyer beware; the purchaser is responsible for checking whether the goods suit his need


Circa – around, or approximately


citius altius fortius – faster, higher, stronger; modern Olympics motto


cogito ergo sum – “I think therefore I am”; famous quote by Rene Descartes


contemptus mundi/saeculi – scorn for the world/times; despising the secular world, the monk or philosopher’s rejection of a mundane life and worldly values


corpus christi – body of Christ


corruptissima re publica plurimae leges – when the republic is at its most corrupt the laws are most numerous; said by Tacitus


creatio ex nihilo – creation out of nothing; a concept about creation, often used in a theological or philosophical context


cura te ipsum – take care of your own self; an exhortation to physicians, or experts in general, to deal with their own problems before addressing those of others


curriculum vitae – the course of one’s life; in business, a lengthened resume


de facto – from the fact; distinguishing what’s supposed to be from what is reality


deo volente – God willing


deus ex machina – God out of a machine; a term meaning a conflict is resolved in improbable or implausible ways


dictum factum – what is said is done


disce quasi semper victurus vive quasi cras moriturus – learn as if you’re always going to live; live as if tomorrow you’re going to die


discendo discimus – while teaching we learn


docendo disco, scribendo cogito – I learn by teaching, think by writing


ductus exemplo – leadership by example


ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahunt – the fates lead the willing and drag the unwilling; attributed to Lucius Annaeus Seneca


dulce bellum inexpertis – war is sweet to the inexperienced


dulce et decorum est pro patria mori – it is sweet and fitting to die for your country


dulcius ex asperis – sweeter after difficulties


e pluribus unum – out of many, one; on the U.S. seal, and was once the country’s de facto motto


Emeritus – veteran; retired from office


Ergo – therefore


et alii – and others; abbreviated et al.


et cetera – and the others


et tu, Brute? – last words of Caesar after being murdered by friend Brutus in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,” used today to convey utter betrayal


ex animo – from the heart; thus, “sincerely”


ex libris – from the library of; to mark books from a library


ex nihilo – out of nothing


ex post facto – from a thing done afterward; said of a law with retroactive effect


fac fortia et patere – do brave deeds and endure


fac simile – make alike; origin of the word “fax”


flectere si nequeo superos, acheronta movebo – if I cannot move heaven I will raise hell; Virgil’s Aeneid


fortes fortuna adiuvat – fortune favors the bold


fortis in arduis – strong in difficulties


gloria in excelsis Deo – glory to God in the highest


habeas corpus – you should have the body; a legal term from the 14th century or earlier; commonly used as the general term for a prisoner’s legal right to challenge the legality of their detention


habemus papam – we have a pope; used after a Catholic Church papal election to announce publicly a successful ballot to elect a new pope


historia vitae magistra – history, the teacher of life; from Cicero; also “history is the mistress of life”


hoc est bellum – this is war


homo unius libri (timeo) – (I fear) a man of one book; attributed to Thomas Aquinas


honor virtutis praemium – esteem is the reward of virtue


hostis humani generis – enemy of the human race; Cicero defined pirates in Roman law as being enemies of humanity in general


humilitas occidit superbiam – humility conquers pride


igne natura renovatur integra – through fire, nature is reborn whole


ignis aurum probat – fire tests gold; a phrase referring to the refining of character through difficult circumstances


in absentia – in the absence


in aqua sanitas – in water there is health


in flagrante delicto – in flaming crime; caught red-handed, or in the act


in memoriam – into the memory; more commonly “in memory of”


in omnia paratus – ready for anything


in situ – in position; something that exists in an original or natural state


in toto – in all or entirely


in umbra, igitur, pugnabimus – then we will fight in the shade; made famous by Spartans in the battle of Thermopylae and by the movie 300


in utero – in the womb


in vitro – in glass; biological process that occurs in the lab


incepto ne desistam – may I not shrink from my purpose


intelligenti pauca – few words suffice for he who understands


Invicta – unconquered


invictus maneo – I remain unvanquished


ipso facto – by the fact itself; something is true by its very nature


labor omnia vincit – hard work conquers all


laborare pugnare parati sumus – to work, (or) to fight; we are ready


labore et honore – by labor and honor


leges sine moribus vanae – laws without morals [are] vain


lex parsimoniae – law of succinctness; also known as Occam’s Razor, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one


lex talionis – the law of retaliation


magna cum laude – with great praise


magna est vis consuetudinis – great is the power of habit


magnum opus – great work; said of someone’s masterpiece


mala fide – in bad faith; said of an act done with knowledge of its illegality, or with intention to defraud or mislead someone; opposite of bona fide


malum in se – wrong in itself; a legal term meaning that something is inherently wrong


malum prohibitum – wrong due to being prohibited; a legal term meaning that something is only wrong because it is against the law


mea culpa – my fault


Meliora – better things; carrying the connotation of “always better”


memento mori – remember that [you will] die — was whispered by a servant into the ear of a victorious Roman general to check his pride as he paraded through cheering crowds after a victory; a genre of art meant to remind the viewer of the reality of his death


memento vivere – remember to live


memores acti prudentes future – mindful of what has been done, aware of what will be


modus operandi – method of operating; abbreviated M.O.


montani semper liberi – mountaineers [are] always free; state motto of West Virginia


morior invictus – death before defeat


morituri te salutant – those who are about to die salute you; popularized as a standard salute from gladiators to the emperor, but only recorded once in Roman history


morte magis metuenda senectus – old age should rather be feared than death


mulgere hircum – to milk a male goat; to attempt the impossible


multa paucis – say much in few words


nanos gigantum humeris insidentes – dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants; commonly known by the letters of Isaac Newton: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”


nec aspera terrent – they don’t terrify the rough ones — frightened by no difficulties, less literally “difficulties be damned”


nec temere nec timide – neither reckless nor timid


nil volentibus arduum – nothing [is] arduous for the willing


nolo contendere – I do not wish to contend — that is, “no contest”; a plea that can be entered on behalf of a defendant in a court that states that the accused doesn’t admit guilt, but will accept punishment for a crime


non ducor, duco – I am not led; I lead


non loqui sed facere – not talk but action


non progredi est regredi – to not go forward is to go backward


non scholae, sed vitae discimus – we learn not for school, but for life; from Seneca


non sequitur – it does not follow; in general, a comment which is absurd due to not making sense in its context (rather than due to being inherently nonsensical or internally inconsistent), often used in humor


non sum qualis eram – I am not such as I was; or “I am not the kind of person I once was”


nosce te ipsum – know thyself; from Cicero


novus ordo seclorum – new order of the ages; from Virgil; motto on the Great Seal of the United States


nulla tenaci invia est via – for the tenacious, no road is impassable


obliti privatorum, publica curate – forget private affairs, take care of public ones; Roman political saying which reminds that common good should be given priority over private matters for any person having a responsibility in the State


panem et circenses – bread and circuses; originally described all that was needed for emperors to placate the Roman mob; today used to describe any entertainment used to distract public attention from more important matters


para bellum – prepare for war; if you want peace, prepare for war—if a country is ready for war, its enemies are less likely to attack


parvis imbutus tentabis grandia tutus – when you are steeped in little things, you shall safely attempt great things; sometimes translated as, “once you have accomplished small things, you may attempt great ones safely”


pater familias – father of the family; the eldest male in a family


pecunia, si uti scis, ancilla est; si nescis, domina – if you know how to use money, money is your slave; if you don’t, money is your master


per angusta ad augusta – through difficulties to greatness


per annum – by the year


per capita – by the person


per diem – by the day


per se – through itself


persona non grata – person not pleasing; an unwelcome, unwanted or undesirable person


pollice verso – with a turned thumb; used by Roman crowds to pass judgment on a defeated gladiator


post meridiem – after noon; P.M., used in timekeeping


post mortem – after death


Postscriptum – thing having been written afterward; in writing, abbreviated P.S.


praemonitus praemunitus – forewarned is forearmed


praesis ut prosis ne ut imperes – lead in order to serve, not in order to rule


primus inter pares – first among equals; a title of the Roman Emperors


pro bono – for the good; in business, refers to services rendered at no charge


pro rata – for the rate


quam bene vivas referre (or refert), non quam diu – it is how well you live that matters, not how long — from Seneca


Quasi – as if or as though


qui totum vult totum perdit – he who wants everything loses everything; attributed to Seneca


quid agis – what’s going on? what’s up, what’s happening, etc.


quid pro quo – this for that; an exchange of value


quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur – whatever has been said in Latin seems deep; or “anything said in Latin sounds profound”; a recent ironic Latin phrase to poke fun at people who seem to use Latin phrases and quotations only to make themselves sound more important or “educated”


quis custodiet ipsos custodes? – who will guard the guards themselves? commonly associated with Plato


Quorum – of whom; the number of members whose presence is required under the rules to make any given meeting constitutional


requiescat in pace – let him rest in peace; abbreviated R.I.P.


rigor mortis – stiffness of death


scientia ac labore – knowledge through hard work


scientia ipsa potentia est – knowledge itself is power


semper anticus – always forward


semper fidelis – always faithful; U.S. Marines motto


semper fortis – always brave


semper paratus – always prepared


semper virilis – always virile


si vales, valeo – when you are strong, I am strong


si vis pacem, para bellum – if you want peace, prepare for war


sic parvis magna – greatness from small beginnings; motto of Sir Frances Drake


sic semper tyrannis – thus always to tyrants; attributed to Brutus at the time of Julius Caesar’s assassination, and to John Wilkes Booth at the time of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination; whether it was actually said at either of these events is disputed


sic vita est – thus is life; the ancient version of “it is what it is”


sola fide – by faith alone


sola nobilitat virtus – virtue alone ennobles


solvitur ambulando – it is solved by walking


spes bona – good hope


statim (stat) – immediately; medical shorthand


status quo – the situation in which or current condition


Subpoena – under penalty


sum quod eris – I am what you will be; a gravestone inscription to remind the reader of the inevitability of death


summa cum laude – with highest praise


summum bonum – the supreme good


suum cuique – to each his own


tabula rasa – scraped tablet – “blank slate”; John Locke used the term to describe the human mind at birth, before it had acquired any knowledge


tempora heroica – Heroic Age


tempus edax rerum – time, devourer of all things


tempus fugit – time flees; commonly mistranslated “time flies”


terra firma – firm ground


terra incognita – unknown land; used on old maps to show unexplored areas


vae victis – woe to the conquered


vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitas – vanity of vanities; everything [is] vanity — from the Bible (Ecclesiastes 1)


veni vidi vici – I came, I saw, I conquered; famously said by Julius Caesar


Verbatim – repeat exactly


veritas et aequitas – truth and equity


Versus – against


Veto – I forbid


vice versa – to change or turn around


vincit qui patitur – he conquers who endures


vincit qui se vincit – he conquers who conquers himself


vir prudens non contra ventum mingit – [a] wise man does not urinate [up] against the wind


virile agitur – the manly thing is being done


viriliter agite – act in a manly way


viriliter agite estote fortes – quit ye like men, be strong


virtus tentamine gaudet – strength rejoices in the challenge


virtute et armis – by virtue and arms; or “by manhood and weapons”; state motto of Mississippi


vive memor leti – live remembering death


vivere est vincere – to live is to conquer; Captain John Smith’s personal motto


vivere militare est – to live is to fight


vox populi – voice of the people