This is one of the most common questions I receive. Makes sense. Though I consider the Lingua Latina series by Hans Ørberg to be the superior Latin text, it is rather confusing to determine which book to order.
So, here you go.
(Here come a whole bunch of affiliate links, by the way.)
The main book, and really the only book you need, is this one: Lingua Latina. Just click the name. I have linked it to Amazon for you. And, yes. It is an affiliate link, so, if you don’t like Amazon, don’t click on the name.
You can also order the book directly from the American publisher here: https://www.hackettpublishing.com/lingua-latina-per-se-illustrata-series/lingua-latina-pars-i-familia-romana-full-color-edition
If you are working your way through the classes on my site, that’s all you need. There are classes and tests on my site for every chapter. No need to wait around for me to teach the class live. You can start right now.
This fall (though I haven’t quite figured out when) I will be taking students through the exercise book.
Here is the exercise book from the publisher: https://www.hackettpublishing.com/lingua-latina-pars-i-exercitia-latina-i-3947
And, here it is from Amazon: https://amzn.to/2y6TsqL
During class, from time to time, I will recommend other books. But, you really don’t need them.
Here they are.
There is an answer key: https://amzn.to/2Yh3dgO. If you are on your own, you likely need this. If you are using my site, use the tests I have built. They will automatically give you a grade. YOU do not have to grade your kid’s work.
There is a teacher’s guide: https://amzn.to/2SCNRC1. I recommend this with HESITATION. Some of my students have found it helpful. I have not. Many of you know I am not a fan of the grammar based approach to Latin. It goes like this: “Learn the grammar, kid. Someday we will start reading Latin.” This is how the famous Henle Latin series teaches Latin. I feel this teacher’s guide does the same thing.
Hans Ørberg had a different approach. “Let’s start reading in Latin, kid. We will learn the grammar as we go.” I feel this teacher’s guide hijacks Mr. Ørberg’s approach. But, that’s just me. As I said, some of my students have found it useful.
If you want a teacher’s guide, Mr. Ørberg wrote one himself! THIS is the teacher’s guide to use: https://amzn.to/2SzzIpe. It isn’t fancy. At all. But, in Mr. Ørberg’s style, it is clear and to the point.
There are more books in the series. 90% of my students never make it to these books. Lingua Latina Familia Romana is all you will likely need. I have arbitrarily divided the book into two parts.
- Latin 1 – Lingua Latina Familia Romana chapters 1 – 19.
- Latin 2 – Lingua Latina Familia Romana chapters 20 – 34.
Most students stop here. That’s fine. By the time you finish the book, you will be able to read the New Testament in Latin. You will also be ready for more difficult texts in Latin… though it will not be easy. If you are looking for easy, go with Latin Lite. What is Latin Lite? French. Spanish. Italian. All of those languages are Latin with most of the difficulty removed.
IF you want to go on in Latin, then here is the path (and, here are the books) I recommend.
Warning. Before you proceed, I highly recommend you tackle a modern romance language. French, Spanish, Italian, or Portuguese. After Lingua Latina you should be able to learn to read one of these languages in 3 to 6 months. You should be able to speak it within a year.
That is not going to happen in Latin. And, even if you do become fluent in Latin, who are you going to talk to? Become fluent in Spanish and you can talk to all kinds of people. Or French. Or Italian. You get it.
So, consider yourself warned. The path you are about to read about is lonely. I have traveled this trail for years. And, years. And, years. It’s lonely.
- Latin 3: I would read the four gospels in Latin. And, perhaps the book of the Acts of the Apostles. The Bible is far and away the most influential book on the planet. Nothing else even comes close. Not to put too fine a point on it, to be ignorant of the Bible is to be… ignorant. I am not saying you have to believe it. But, every educated man and woman should read it. After Lingua Latina, you will be able to read it in Latin! You can even listen as you read along. Here is a free dramatized New Testament in Latin: https://live.bible.is/bible/LATNV1/MAT/1?audio_type=audio_drama
- Latin 4: Roma Aeterna by Hans Ørberg. This book is tough. Tough. Tough. Over 400 pages of Roman history… in Latin. It’s tough. If you want to watch myself and a handful of students struggle through, those classes are available on my site. We have made it about halfway through.
Mr. Ørberg wrote, or sometimes edited, other books. I recommend them for those who want to go deep, but, I am not exactly sure how to classify them. So, here goes.
- Latin 1: Colloquia Personarum. This one is pretty fun. This book goes along with the main book, Lingua Latina Familia Romana. It basically adds a little bit to each chapter. It’s almost as if Mr. Ørberg created “deleted scenes” for Lingua Latina Familia Romana. I have taught this book, too. Those classes are available on my site.
- Latin 3: Caesar’s Commentaries on the Gallic Wars. It is what it is. Caesar hacks his way through ancient France… and, tries to justify it. I find it pretty interesting, but I like history. Anyway, maybe this should be Latin 3. Maybe not. I’m undecided. I really don’t think students who finish Latin 1 and 2 (Lingua Latina Familia Romana) are quite ready for this. Probably best to read some of Roma Aeterna first.
- Latin 4: Sallustius et Cicero: Catilina. I would read Roma Aeterna first. The writings of Cicero are very difficult. I don’t have any classes available for this book, but I am headed there. Could be years away, though. I would get to this book sooner if I didn’t have a mountain bike. But, I have a mountain bike.
- Latin 4, or beyond: Vergil: Aeneis Libros I et IV. Finally, there is the Aeneid. Honestly, just read it in English. There are plenty of fine translations out there. Here’s one: https://amzn.to/2LENOVz. If you want to read the Aeneid in Latin, fine. But, again. It isn’t going to be easy. And, you are going to end up reading it in English anyway. Eventually, I will get to this book as well. But, it won’t be anytime soon.
So, there you go.
I recommend you read Lingua Latina, and the gospels in Latin. Then, I recommend you move on to a modern romance language. But, if you choose to keep going in Latin, you now know the course I recommend.