Reading Plautus – Latin Course

Latin Fifth Experience = Readings in Latin: Plays by Plautus

In Person only: 12 – 23 August 2024, weekdays

Image of Jonathan Day

Jonathan Day

Titus Maccius Plautus (c. 254 – 184 BC) had an enormous influence not only on Latin literature but on writers over the centuries, including Shakespeare, Molière, and modern comedies such as A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Much of his writing was in an everyday style, unlike the later and more formal work of Ovid, Virgil, or Cicero, but his plays also include lengthy songs, written in poetic meters, rich in word play. Like Cicero, like Shakespeare, he liked to make up new words and change the meanings of old ones. He was far more than a writer of crude comedy. His plays provide insight into how Latin was actually spoken on the street.

Over two weeks, we will read Mostellaria (“The Ghost”, or “The Haunted House”), focusing primarily on Plautus’ Latin, but also touching on the text as a play. We will follow the approach developed by Reginald Foster, seeking a deep understanding of the language. Plautus presents fascinating challenges not only because his style had idiosyncrasies, but also because syntax was much less stable in his time than it became later on.

Participants should be familiar with the forms and uses of the subjunctive. Foster’s Third Experience, offered at Ealing as LA 611 Intermediate Latin, would be a good prerequisite. This reading course is intended to be taken concurrently with LA711 Advanced Latin.

We will end the two weeks with a partially dramatized reading of the play.

We’ll meet for two hours daily, including a short break.

This reading course is intended to be taken concurrently with LA711 Advanced Latin or L711 Proficient Latin for Liturgists (and Canonists).

Cost: £200 (discount available if paying for Adanced / Proficient Latin course)

Not for credit – no exams.

Enrol. To enrol or enquire please contact Clare Cogswell at at this linked email address or by using the contact information at the bottom of this page.


♦ LEWIS, C.T. – C. SHORT, A Latin Dictionary, Oxford UP, Oxford – New York 1879, or any later reprint.

♦ FOSTER, R.T., – D.P. MCCARTHY,  Ossa Latinitatis Sola ad mentem Reginaldi rationemqueThe Mere Bones of Latin according to the thought and system of Reginald, (Latinitatis Corpus 1), Catholic University of America Press, Washington DC 2016. Available in print and digital form from the publisher; and in print form from or from

cover image The Mere Bones of Latin

♦ GILDERSLEEVE, B.L, – G. LODGE, Gildersleeve’s Latin Grammar, Bolchazy-Carducci, Wauconda IL 2003, reprint of 31895 (GL).


Clare Cogswell, Registrar
Benedictine Institute
74 Castlebar Road, Ealing, London W5 2DD, UK

enquiries: +44 (0)20 8194 2320
E-mail Clare, the Registrar at this linked E-mail address.
Location on Google Maps is found here.

Location on Google Maps is found here. More information on travel to Ealing by air, train or tube and on accommodation at or near Ealing Abbey is available on the web-site of the Liturgy Institute under the button: Registration.© C Cogswell. 12 October 2023