Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The New AP Latin Curriculum

The big news at this year's ACL Institute was the new AP Latin curriculum for the May 2013 exam. This summer's announcement brought some relief to those who were bewailing the Vergil-Caesar combination, particularly after some suggestions were given for teaching by theme.

The new requirements for Vergil's Aeneid (rather, the pared-down list) are:
  • Book 1: lines 1-209, 418-440, 494-578
  • Book 2: lines 40-56, 201-249, 268-297, 559-620
  • Book 4: lines 160-218, 259-361, 659-705
  • Book 6: lines 295-332, 384-425, 450-476, 847-899

The mention was made that this selection of lines was made with much soul-searching, tears, and regret. More regrettable, though, is the announcement that the student is required to read only Books 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 12. Why not the whole Aeneid? I may still require that the student read the entire work in order to completely appreciate this important piece of literature. I'm intrigued by the inclusion of Book 8.

The required lines for Caesar's Bellum Gallicum are:

  • Book 1: chapters 1-7
  • Book 4: chapters 24-35 and the first sentence of chapter 36
  • Book 5: chapters 24-48
  • Book 6: chapters 13-20

The required reading in English is the entirety of Books 1, 6, and 7.

I plan to take a much closer look at these lines later in the summer.

I am pleased, though, with the suggestion of themes for this new combination of authors. I was initially disappointed, maybe even let down, with the announcement of Caesar as the author who would be paired with the vates, but these suggestions are exciting:

  • literary genre and style
  • war and empire
  • view of non-Romans
  • history and memory
  • Roman values
  • leadership
  • human beings and the divine

I am most interested in the last four items of the list, particularly Roman values and the relationship between humans and the gods. As I become more familiar with these lines, I will be able to make a better stab of their application.

I am hoping that there are good textbooks produced to make this combination of authors interesting and exciting. I'd write my own, bu there are other things to do.

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