Humanities › History & Culture Memorize a Chunk of Vergil (or Virgil) Make a Bit of Latin Your Own Share Flipboard Email Print Carlo Raso/Flickr/Public Domain Mark 1.0 History & Culture Ancient History and Culture Ancient Languages Figures & Events Greece Egypt Asia Rome Mythology & Religion American History African American History African History Asian History European History Genealogy Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By N.S. Gill Ancient History and Latin Expert M.A., Linguistics, University of Minnesota B.A., Latin, University of Minnesota N.S. Gill is a Latinist, writer, and teacher of ancient history and Latin. She has been featured by NPR and National Geographic for her ancient history expertise. our editorial process N.S. Gill Updated March 08, 2017 One technique that may help if you are trying to re-learn Latin is to memorize a chunk of Latin poetry and make it your own. For this purpose, you might want to memorize the first 11 lines of Vergil's (or Virgil's) Aeneid. Arma virumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab orisItaliam, fato profugus, Laviniaque venitlitora, multum ille et terris iactatus et altovi superum saevae memorem Iunonis ob iram;multa quoque et bello passus, dum conderet urbem,inferretque deos Latio, genus unde Latinum,Albanique patres, atque altae moenia Romae.Musa, mihi causas memora, quo numine laeso,quidve dolens, regina deum tot volvere casusinsignem pietate virum, tot adire laboresimpulerit. Tantaene animis caelestibus irae? Listen to Robert Sonkowsky reading this passage to get a sense of the pronunciation and rhythm of Classical Latin. After you have begun to learn the passage, read a translation and try to make the translation and the Latin go together. What you do with this chunk of Latin is up to you. You may just keep it in mind as a reminder of the word order in Latin – the first clause is “arms and the man I sing,” with the verb at the end. Or the fact that certain sentences, like the final question, don’t require an expressed verb at all. Or you may keep the whole passage in mind to remember the names, (Juno, Lavinia, Latium, Italia, Troy, and Alba). Or to try to make sense of the early legendary history of Rome. But here is my suggestion. After you have the passage down cold, try writing your own translation into good English. Then try reverse translating back into Latin prose. The purpose is not to do worry too much about the syntax but to see how different your phrase structure is from Vergil’s . If nothing else, this should give you an appreciation for the variety provided by the Latin language. Example: I sing about arms and the manarma et virum ego cano.