An Advanced Summer Latin Experience

Latin is really hard: there's no point in denying it

Even when you have put a lot of time (and money) into studying it, often a great insecurity remains: most texts remain difficult or inaccessible, and it's not even clear what you need to do to get better. You've studied the grammar, you know your forms, but the level of fluency you desire remains elusive.

Maybe you have come to feel that you need one more class to lock it in, but what kind of class is right for that? Can you even find the time and money to do so, especially when it usually means traveling somewhere else and living there for a few months?

I have been there

I was in that space of discouragement I just described. I felt ashamed and embarrassed that I wasn't better at reading Latin, and I was afraid the problem was with me (maybe I was just unable to learn it for some reason). I didn't know how I could fix it, short of leaving my graduate program to study Latin full time. I suspected that I had just started too late to ever get really good at it. In desperation I heaved a hail Mary: I applied to study with Father Reginald Foster in Rome.

In his great charity, he accepted me. In that summer, the magister magistrorum systematically broke down my expectations of how Latin works and ushered me into a deep appreciation of its logic and beauty. In his masterful hands, the language came alive in my mind and in my soul, and it lives on there to this day.

Sub Arboribus is designed for you

In this course, I will pass on what I learned those many years ago in Rome, seasoned by my own continued reflection and experience with the language since then. And while I am no match for the master, there are nevertheless clear truths and practices that can smooth the way for any Latin student. In a short time I can help you break through the barriers that you feel are hindering your advancement in the language, and accelerate you along the path to fluency in reading Latin of all ages, and especially post-classical Latin.

  • Graduate Students and Scholars: Sub Arboribus will give you the tools you need to tackle primary texts in Latin and analyze them with the precision and rigor required to support scholarly arguments.
  • Teachers: This course will strengthen your skills and offer new pedagogical perspectives. Not only will you deepen your joy in Latin, which is your most powerful teaching tool; you will also see new models of presentation and be inspired with practices you can take back to your classroom in the Fall.
  • Amateurs (in the truest sense): If you love Latin or the Western tradition and long to be able to read your favorite texts in the original, this course can put success in your reach.

Unparalleled Flexibility

Unfortunately, we will not literally gather under the stately trees of Rome. But what we lose in idyllic setting we gain in flexibility: the online platform for this course allow us you to target this critical area of your training without asking you to reorganize your life around it or move for a few months. And it is also robust enough to permit us to come together from afar and enjoy a rich fellowship. Excellence at Latin is within your reach.

The Plan

We will read Latin of all periods, with special attention given to Medieval and Renaissance Latin. You will learn advanced syntactical and structural analysis, grounded in the idiomatic forms and rhythms of Latin. You will learn the principles that reduce complex sentences to workable ones, and sharpen the precision with which you read the moods and tenses of verbs, and the deployment of the cases. Together, these will allow you to read any Latin text confidently.

So, let's get you to your Latin dreams!

Exemplum Rerum Agendarum

Mondays: Res grammaticas (deep dive into one or more grammar concepts: uses of the subjunctive, conditionals, etc.)
Tuesdays: Ludi corrigendi et discutiendi (reviewing weekly ludus assignments)
Wednesdays: Optimi auctores omnium temporum (reading practicum)
Thursdays: Lectiones rapidae (reading longer stretches of text, reading context)
Fridays: Ars scribendi (composition practicum)

This course is suited for intermediate and advanced students. As a minimum, the student ought to have completed a complete course of Latin grammar (typically 2 or 3 semesters of college Latin, the equivalent of finishing Wheelock or Moreland and Fleischer). This course is intended for college and older students, but exception may be made for a well-qualified high school student.

June 3 - 28, 2024, 9:00 - 11:30 am CT

$500 / student

  • There comes a point (hopefully!) when the myriad of concepts floating around in the mind, fully mastered individually, but tenuously connected, begin to meld together, begin to become parvi rivi linguae fluentis, then joining to become unum magnum flumen viventis linguae. Did Sub Arboribus do this for me? YES! It began to make Latin breathe for me, to come to life. There is something there for everyone who has invested the hours to harvest the fruit, to imbibe of the wine, whether one be on the very threshhold, as I was, or an experienced teacher.

  • I studied Latin intensely in college under excellent professors and taught it for five years at the high school level. However, my reading remained slow and highly dependent on translations and dictionaries. One paragraph of solid Latin prose translation could mean hours of work. Sub Arboribus changed all of that. Professor Johnson taught me how to analyze and process a Latin sentence (of any length!) reliably and comprehensibly....

  • ...I now approach Latin texts with a newfound confidence and enthusiasm. Anyone with even a shred of insecurity about their Latin reading ability will benefit immensely from this class. Taking the course has provided a great feeling of relief and excitement about Latin, and I now find myself wanting to dive into any text I can get my hands on—the tougher, the better. I highly recommend it!

  • As a veteran Latin teacher, the Sub Arboribus course was a wonderful opportunity to add to my own understanding of Latin and its complex grammar topics.  The instruction gave me the chance to consider new approaches for introducing and teaching various aspects of Latin to students.  The class pushed me to interact with Latin from a variety of authors and eras while Junius' engaging teaching style created lively sessions filled with interesting texts, thoughtful questions, and productive discussions.  It was a rewarding experience for me both as a scholar and as a teacher of Latin.

  • I had a great experience taking Sub Arboribus with Junius. I grew much more confident with my Latin knowledge and translation skills, including sight-reading, which hitherto had always terrified me. I really enjoyed being able to engage with other academics and teachers in a non-competitive environment where our mistakes and shortcomings could be freely acknowledged and learned from. If anyone has qualms about their Latin and wants to become more comfortable reading it, they should definitely take this course!

  • This course provides a great framework for an intensive Latin review. It encouraged me to go back to basics as well as set new goals for reading and translating. As a medievalist, I found the focus on post-classical prose especially helpful. Recommended!

  • I highly, highly recommend Sub Arboribus! Our meetings and assignments were rigorous, personal, lively, and fun. Our class was comprised of graduate students, Latin teachers, and amateur enthusiasts, and Junius was able to engage everyone across a variety of strengths, weaknesses, and interests. While discussing the idiosyncrasies of Latin grammar, we'd often organically segue into theories of language development, interesting etymologies, and philosophies of learning and teaching...

  • ...Junius is an incredible font of knowledge and a kind, funny instructor -- who will nevertheless hold your feet to the fire if the situation calls for it. I looked forward to our Zoom meetings every day and was sorry when our course wrapped up! I studied Latin in high school and college, but I hadn't had any formal study in several years. Sub Arboribus helped me shake off the rust and take on concepts that I'd long gotten away with misunderstanding. The class is challenging, and the rewards are high!

  • Simply put, Junius Johnson is the best Latin teacher I have ever experienced in my many years of supervising education. He is a true scholar of the Latin language from the classical period to the neo-Latin present; he has success teaching every age and skill level. Junius is compassionate with those who are less gifted than he, but still manages to stretch his students in a friendly and inviting manner. I wholeheartedly recommend him to you as your teacher. Trust me, the encounter will be memorable.

  • Junius has such a robust understanding of the language, and his passion is contagious. His approach invites parents, educators, and students to re-imagine how they think about Latin, moving from merely transactional to experiential. He’s also not afraid to address many of the “why” questions that all too often go unanswered. Highly recommend!