Teaching Cicero's De Amicitia  for the New AP Latin Literature Syllabus

Sheila K. Dickison

University of Florida


Patsy R. Ricks

St. Andrew's Episcopal School

Beginning in 2007 the AP Latin Literature Exam will test a different Cicero text than has been used in the recent past: the new text is the Pro Archia in its entirely and De Amicitia (sections 17…23 and sections 100 to the end).  Students will also be responsible for reading in translation the De Amicitia text not read in Latin.

A secondary teacher and I have been asked as a team to prepare a commentary on the Latin text of the De Amicitia to assist students in preparing for the exam.  We are now in the process of producing a commentary to assist students in working with the text.  Both of us have had extensive experience with the AP syllabus and the AP process, having served as members of the examination committee and readers.  I have also produced a commentary for students on another Cicero text that has been very well received.

Our joint presentation will focus on two issues: firstly, problems and solutions of preparing a commentary for the AP syllabus.  And secondly, approaches to teaching the De Amicitia itself.  In our own teaching we have both found that students have difficulty in working with prose authors and appreciating the sophistication of Latin prose. It is our overall aim to provide assistance to teachers in making the reading of Latin prose an enjoyable and worthwhile activity. Finally, the session is intended to give teachers a head start on their preparation to teach this new syllabus.


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