Illustrated Latin Textbook Recommendations

There’s something about the format of a comic that is inherently helpful to new language students. The fact that we get a relevant visual to accompany text not only makes for a pleasing reading experience, but really helps you to understand the words via context clues. I know that I still enjoy picking up French comic books as it’s an easy way to get refreshed on the language.

I just wanted to recommend a few heavily-illustrated Latin resources that can perhaps help out any learners who are having difficulty grasping the nuances of the language. First of all is the ubiquitous Cambridge Latin Course, much known in Classicist circles and often parodied by students. Most of the stories are told with images – it’s actually a very image-heavy textbook – so this is a good and rather standard introduction to the language. The Oxford Latin Course also uses images in a comic style, but is perhaps less dense in terms of images as that of Cambridge.

One of my favourites is Minimus I and II, where you are introduced into the language by a rather charming mouse. It’s a simplistic text series and you would probably find this being used in grade school lessons, but if you are just getting started in the language (or perhaps only want some passing conversational skills) then this is a great choice.

Sort of within the realm of illustrated texts is Lingua Latinawhich holds a special place in my heart as the first Latin book I learned from. However, this uses a totally immersive approach, which I think has definite pros and cons. On the one hand, there’s a great trove of marginalia on each page, and the latin does progress at a rather agreeable rate of difficulty. On the other hand, you learn all your grammar lessons in Latin, too, and this personally led me to having no clue what the hell anyone was talking about when we used English grammar terms in a later program. So tread carefully.

And finally, though it is not a textbook and is only partially illustrated, I think everyone should have a go at Winnie Ille Pu. Of course, that’s Winnie The Pooh translated into Latin! The language is simple but it gets you reading the language in a familiar context. There’s also the Harry Potter books translated into Latin, though I have not read through them so can’t speak to the quality of the experience.

I hope this is helpful to some of you! If there are other textbooks or Latin comics in general that you think should be mentioned here, leave a comment or send me an email at rebecca@otreraonline.com. Thanks for reading!

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