BMCR 2007.09.10

A Horace Workbook. With a separate Teacher’s Manual

, , A Horace workbook. Teacher's manual. Latin literature workbook series. Wauconda, IL: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, 2006. xvi, 271 pages ; 23 cm.. ISBN 9780865166493. $22.00 (each).

1 Responses

Bolchazy-Carducci has produced a series of Latin workbooks which have the primary purpose of helping students prepare for the Advanced Placement Latin Exams.1 The workbook and accompanying teacher’s manual for Horace have been quite ably put together by David J. Murphy and Ronnie Ancona. This workbook is based upon Ancona’s Horace: Selected Odes and Satire 1.9.2 Ancona’s original workbook also focussed on the Latin AP, especially in its selection from Horace’s Odes which comprises the Latin AP Horatian syllabus.3

The student workbook consists of Satire 1.9 and the 20 Odes in the Latin. Each passage is followed by the same menu of exercises: short answer, multiple choice, a short translation, short analysis, an essay and a scansion exercise.

The short answer questions are something of a warm-up and help the student focus on the grammatical points in the passage that will help with understanding. There are also questions on figures of speech and the occasional item of vocabulary. Apart from the scansion exercise, this is the only exercise which has no suggested time limit. The number of questions varies with the length of the poem, generally between 20 and 40. Example: What is the case and use of manu ? ( Sat. 1.9.4).

The multiple choice questions mirror the Latin AP in their format (four choices) and their subject (vocabulary, grammar, content, and figures of speech). There is a suggested time limit of 15 minutes to answer the 12-14 questions for each passage. Example: Horace’s mood in lines 8-11 is best described as; a. desperate, b. frightened, c. sad, d. angry ( Sat. 1.9).

There is a timed (10-15 minutes) translation exercise of a six to eight line passage drawn from the poem under study. Example: lines 22-26 of Sat. 1.9.

This is followed by a section of four to seven timed short analysis questions. The answers are expected to be only about two lines, as this is the space given. The questions are on figures of speech and content. Example: Where are the family members of the person talking to the speaker? ( Sat. 1.9.4).

There is also a short essay question on the ode under study with a suggested 20 minute time limit. Example: an essay on the character of Aristius Fuscus and how it contributes to the satire’s humour ( Sat. 1.9). All of the essays expect specific references from throughout the text with Latin translated or closely paraphrased.

Finally there is a scansion exercise. The lines to be scanned are written bold and double-spaced (except for gobbet from Ode 2.7) for the student’s convenience.

The workbook also contains an appendix of four passages (one each of Cicero, Catullus, Vergil and Ovid) accompanied by 12-13 multiple choice questions with a suggested 15 minute time limit.

Finally there is a 21-page vocabulary with approximately 1,200 entries. This lexicon displays some eccentric choices. The verb sum is given, but the noun inuleus (Ode 1.23) is omitted. My imagination is insufficient to picture a student who would be expected to know inuleus, but not sum, especially as the form hinnuleus is the one found in the standard dictionaries. The teacher’s manual is the same with an additional preface as well as the answers to the exercise questions and some sample essays. The teacher’s manual is printed in a smaller format (6″ x 9″ as opposed to 8.5″ x 11″ for the student’s workbook), since students need the space to write out their answers.

The workbook and teacher’s manual are very well laid out and the production values are quite high. This is something of a surprise in the workbook, considering that the it is produced as a one-time use text, with space provided for the students to write in their answers. Although the editor suggests that this book can be used at the college level, this is really exclusively an AP Latin Exam prep book and for this purpose, it is an excellent resource. However this does result in a very narrowly constructed resource, since the AP Exam is always uppermost in the minds of the author and editor. Some of the ways that the workbook demonstrates its AP focus:

– Although macrons are given in the vocabulary at the back, there are none in the exercises themselves.

– No translation assistance is provided with the passages since this would limit the value of the exercises for testing practice.

– There is no supplementary material on Horace, ancient Rome or lyric poetry at all. The workbook is expected to be used in conjunction with some other Horace textbook, presumably one that is AP oriented.

– The material examined is strictly that tested for on the AP Latin Exam, which could have the effect of narrowing the student’s appreciation of Horace to what the AP test designers select. This could be compounded in the case of students who are confronted with the workbook during their preparation for the AP and then again in university.

Bolchazy-Carducci may have done themselves a bit of a disservice by focussing this workbook series on the Latin AP to such an extent. The AP Latin Literaure Exam was attempted by only 3,333 students in 2006.4 On the other hand, over 130,000 tried the various levels of the National Latin Exam.5 Even given attrition, this suggests that the Latin AP market is a relatively small part. Having said that, I still feel this is a very good Latin teaching resource and offers some excellent methods. LeAnn Osburn has edited a series of Latin Workbooks for Bolchazy-Carducci which offer students and teachers alike a unique opportunity to read a Latin author while at the same time developing both their grammar and vocabulary. I could see this providing a paedagogical template for other presses to produce textbooks which not only offer a Latin author with the customary notes and vocabulary, but also exercises which ask the questions which encourage the reader to focus on the grammatical and vocabulary elements which are key to a successful reading of the passage. I would certainly recommend a judicious use of this workbook and I look forward to seeing resources which utilize the general methodology of this series, but for a wider intended audience.

[For a response to this review by David J. Murphy and Ronnie Ancona, please see BMCR 2007.09.25.]


1. The other authors on the AP Latin Exam are Catullus, Cicero, Vergil and Ovid. The Cicero workbook has recently been reviewed for this journal by David W. Madsen and Nora MacDonald (BMCR 2007.07.17).

2. The first edition of Ancona’s book was reviewed for this journal by Shannon N. Byrne ( BMCR 1999.09.14). A second edition was published in 2004.

3. The AP Latin syllabus for Horace is Satire 1.9 and Odes 1.1, 5, 9, 11, 13, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 38; 2.3, 7, 10, 14; 3.1, 9, 13, 30; 4.7.

4. The College Board (consulted July 15, 2007).

5. National Latin Exam (consulted July 15, 2007).