Liturgy Institute London

For a detailed and peaceful study of Liturgy

Cicero’s Letters

Latin Fifth Experience = Readings in Latin: Cicero’s letters


Reading Latin

Summer Term

16-27 August 2021


Dan with Foster

Using the teaching method developed by Reginald Foster, Cicero’s Letters will offer a patient, detailed reading of letters that Cicero wrote to friends, fellow leaders and family members. Unlike his orations, Cicero’s letters have a spontaneous, flowing style. Yet they provide an ideal encounter with the language in its full and natural glory.

Participants should have enough Latin before joining the course that they are familiar with all of the forms and normal uses of the subjunctive. The content of the Intermediate (Third Experience) course would be an good prerequisite. We will ideally read between 12 and 20 letters over the two weeks together. But we will adapt the program to each participant’s interests and needs, going as quickly or slowly as people prefer.

A patient and detailed reading of selected letters Cicero wrote to family and friends leads students to appreciate the almost spontaneous thought of Cicero as he jotted down these letters, which in ordinary letters provide a synthetic review of the entire language as it was naturally written. We strive for a clear understanding of the multiple and even exceptional usages of the subjunctive in their natural occurances in this literature, as well as the use of indirect discourse, gerunds and gerundives along with the natural meaning of participles.

A familiarity with all the forms of the subjunctive and many of its normal uses is expected of participants in this course.

Reginald Foster. Our method of teaching the Latin language was developed by Fr Reginald Foster, former papal Latinist who tought Latin to many generations in Rome. Over fourty years of helping people to grow fast and solidly in the knowledge and use and appreciation of Latin has guided him in developing his method of teaching Latin (more here). His method is presented in the book Ossa Latinitatis SolaThe Mere Bones of Latin.

Tutors: Jonathan Day

The tutor will use the draft book on the Letters of Cicero by Reginald Foster and Daniel McCarthy: Ossium Carnes MultaeThe Bones’ Meats Abundant.

First week: 16 – 20 August (not Saturday – Sunday, 21 – 22 August)
Second week:  23-27 August 2021.

Hours. one  and one-half  hours  on weekdays, scheduled so that students may attend either LA711  Proficient Latin for Liturgists (and Canonists),
or LA812 Latin Fifth Experience: Reading Latin Literature.

This reading course is intended to be taken concurrently with L711 Proficient Latin for Liturgists, which presents the teaching of the Latin expressions found in Cicero’s Letters. The two courses overlap by fifteen minutes, which means that students will leave the previous course early to attend this full session. It is generally not recommended that students enrolled in the course LA611 Intermediate Latin enrol additionally in this reading course.

Enrol. Send enquires and to enrol contact Ms Clare Cogswell at il AT liturgyinstitute DOT org or by phone or use the form on this page.

Required books:

♦ LEWIS, C.T. – C. SHORT, A Latin Dictionary, Oxford UP, Oxford – New York 1879, reprinted 1995.

♦ 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

♦ FOSTER, R.T., – D.P. MCCARTHY,  Ossium carnes multae ex M. T. Ciceronis epistulisThe Bones Meats Abundant from the Letters of M. T. Cicero, (Latinitatis Corpus 2), Catholic University of America Press, Washington DC 2021. Available in print or digital form from the publisher; available in print form from or from

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

Recommended material:

♦ FOSTER, R.T. – D.P. MCCARTHY, “Collectarum latinitas”, Appreciating the Collect: An Irenic Methodology (DREI, AL : LA 1), ed. J.G. Leachman – D.P. McCarthy, St. Michael’s Abbey Press, Farnborough, England 2008.Foster, R.T. – D.P. McCarthy, “Collectarum latinitas”, 27-56. Available from the publisher.

Canon law students of KU Leuven will benefit greatly from this course because the letters of Cicero bring together nearly every element of the Latin langauge in every letter according to his native thought and Latin expression. This reading course gives a full synthesis of every element from classical Latin found in the canonical sententiae written by non native Latin authors.

Contact: Schedule a visit or write to:
Ms Clare Cogswell, Registrar and Course Coordinator
Benedictine Institute
74 Castlebar Road, Ealing, London W5 2DD, UK
enquiries: +44 (0)20 8194 2320  fax +44 (0)208 862 2133
E-mail: il AT liturgyinstitute DOT org
Location on Google Maps is found here.

More information on travel to Ealing by air, train or metro and on accommodation at or near Ealing Abbey is available on the web-site of the Liturgy Institute under the button: Registration. There you can also find an enquiry form.
© D. McCarthy, updated 23 September 2020 by DMcC.