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Cambridge Latin Course 4e


Unit Stage 1 ~ Caecilius Stage 2 >

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This first Stage introduces us to the members of the Pompeian family that we'll be following throughout Unit 1. Caecilius, a banker, is the head of the household; Metella is his wife; and Quintus is their son. Meet other members of the family in the story "Cerberus", and then discover more about their lives and their home in the websites listed below.

Unit 1 Dictionary


WebBooks allow you to view the Cambridge Latin Course textbooks online. WebBooks are available for all Stages.

Stage 1 WebBook

The Stories

Cerberus   Page 7

Caecilius may be the head of the household, but it's Cerberus, the greedy guard-dog, that's the star of this story. Will he be 'top dog', or will he be in the dog-house?

Explore the story

Practicing the Language

Revise vocabulary & practice the language by using these activities:

Test your Vocabulary is against the clock and can be set to all words in this stage, up to this stage, etc.

Test your vocabulary

Sorting Words asks you to sort words by meaning, case, etc.


Practicing the Language exercises are digital versions of exercises in the Cambridge Latin Course textbooks.

Exercise A Exercise B

Cultural Background

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Click for our main section of links.
For houses in Pompeii see separate section on Roman Houses below...
Bay of Naples map: simple
    Showing location of some of the old Roman towns.
Bay of Naples map: detailed
    Includes the modern Italian and ancient Roman names of many of the important towns and villas around the Bay of Naples.
Bay of Naples map: satellite
    The snow-capped volcano Vesuvius is easily visible at the edge of the Bay.
Bay of Naples map: google earth unlabelled
    Can you spot Pompeii or Herculaneum? It's difficult... so use the link below to find out.
Bay of Naples map: google earth labelled
    Pompeii and Herculaneum are marked. Vesuvius dominates the area.
Caecilius 1: the bronze head
    This portrait sculpture of Caecilius was found in his house in Pompeii. Wonder what he'd think of it featuring on the cover of the world's most popular Latin course?
Caecilius 2: the family head
    As the paterfamilias, Caecilius had complete control...
Caecilius 3: the business head
    The Wikipedia page on Caecilius provides more info on his business activities. In essence, Caecilius was a money-lender.
Caecilius 4: his iPad tablet
    Romans used wax tablets to jot things down. This is a drawing of one of the many tablets found in Caecilius' house detailing his business transactions.
The tablets were made of wood with a layer of wax set in them. The wax (now blackened with time) could be scratched into with a "pen" and then later erased and written upon again. Look at this fine example from near Cologne in Germany.
There's more info and links in our section on Roman Writing (scroll down to view).
Caecilius' House 1
    Visit Caecilius' house as it looks today.
Click these following links for yet more plans and photos:
- a thumbnail sketch of the house;
- a detailed plan;
- drawings of the wall-paintings in the tablinum, now sadly faded;
- a mosaic of a dog in the entrance to Caecilius' house - which may or may not have been called Cerberus!
- official webpage.

Q. Where is Caecilius' house in Pompeii?
A. It's No.34 on the official Map.
Caecilius' House 2
    A detailed website on the recent excavations by Swedish archaeologists. Clickable plans allow you to explore the house in detail.
Roman Houses 1: plan
    Plan of a typical Roman atrium-style house - as shown in CLC Book 1, p.11.
Roman Houses 2: 3D-drawing
    Fantastic, cut-away drawing of a Roman house.
Roman Houses 3: general plan
    A more detailed explanation of the design of Roman houses; click rooms on the interactive plan to learn more about each area.
Roman Houses 4: Pompeii
    A more complex explanation of the Roman house - from the official Pompeii website - indicating how it developed over time. Additionally, this page links to individual descriptions and pictures of selected houses in Pompeii.

A selection of some of the best-preserved and most famous villas.

* The House of Julius Polybius
    Among the most impressive residences found beneath the volcanic ash in Pompeii is the House of Julius Polybius due to its size, its preserved wall-paintings and furnishings.
- Location: No.54 on the official map.
- Thumbnail sketch of the house.
- CGI movie touring the villa on its final day - fantastic!
- Excellent YouTube-video shot and narrated by Guy de la Bédoyère.
- Detailed excavation notes.
- Official webpage.

* The House of the Vettii
    Famous for its fabulous wall-paintings and its beautiful peristyle garden.
- Location: No.36 on the official map.
- Thumbnail sketch of the house.
- The original garden sculpture.
- 8 quality videos, made by the Pompeii Forum Project highlighting various features of the house; 20 mins in total.
- Detailed excavation notes.
- Official webpage.

* The House of the Tragic Poet
    The house takes its name from a floor mosaic in its tablinum (office/study) depicting actors getting ready to go on stage, although nowadays its most famous for its Cave Canem ("Beware of the Dog") mosaic in the entrance corridor.
- Location: No.22 on the official map.
- Thumbnail sketch of the house.
- Cross-section of a model of the house.
- Video-walkthrough of the house, shot and narrated by Guy de la Bédoyère.
- Plan: labelled & vivid.
- CGI movie & stills: after following this link, click Pompeii on the left-hand, red column; then choose Poeta Tragico from the menu going across the centre.
- Official webpage.

* The House of the Faun
    The largest house in Pompeii, named after the little statue of a dancing faun (a half goat, half human woodland mythological creature) in the middle of the impluvium. The house contained some of the best mosaics found from Pompeii.
- Location: No.17 on the official map.
- Thumbnail sketch of the house.
- Interactive fly-over & panoramas. Click Casa del Fauno below the aerial-photo to zoom into the house; then click the swirling hotspots to see 360-degree panoramas.
- CGI movie & stills: after following this link, click Pompeii on the left-hand, red column; then choose Fauno from the menu going across the centre.
- 3 quality videos by the Pompeii Forum Project with commentary & walkthroughs of the house.
- Official webpage.

* The House of Menander
    Named after a terrific wall-painting depicting Menander, a writer of Greek comedies, the house is one of the most important in Pompeii because of its elegant frescoes and mosaics, as well as exquisite objects discovered here.
- Location: No.51 on the official map.
- Thumbnail sketch of the house.
- Video-walkthrough filmed and narrated by Guy de la Bédoyère.
- Interactive fly-over & panoramas. Click Casa del Menandro below the aerial-photo to zoom into the house; then click the swirling hotspots to see 360-degree panoramas.
- Detailed excavation notes.
- Official webpage.

* The House of Octavius Quartio (aka Loreius Tiburtinus)
    Sumptuous gardens with water-features.
- Location: No.58 on the official map.
- Thumbnail sketch of the house.
- Interactive fly-over & panoramas. Click Casa di Octavius Quartio below the aerial-photo to zoom into the house; then click the swirling hotspots to see 360-degree panoramas.
- Video-walkthrough filmed and narrated by Guy de la Bédoyère.
- CGI movie & stills: after following this link, click Pompeii on the left-hand, red column; then choose Loreio from the menu going across the centre.
- CGI-movie of the Garden.
- Spectacular finds.
- Official webpage.

* The House of Venus in the Shell
    Also known as the House of Marine Venus, it's famed for its beautiful garden with a well-preserved wall-painting of Venus being pulled over the sea in a shell.
- Locaton: No.59 on the official map.
- Thumbnail sketch of the house.
- Official webpage.

* The House of the Silver Wedding
    Excavated in 1893, the same year as the silver wedding anniversary of the Italian king, this house features a splendid atrium with Corinthian columns.
- Location: marked here in red outline since it's not numbered on the official map.
- Detailed excavation notes.

* The House of Marcus Lucretius Fronto
    A small yet refined house.
- Location: No.78 on this 2012 official map.
- Detailed excavation notes.

* House of the Fruit Orchard
    A typical, small house with wonderful paintings.
- Location: marked here in red outline since it's not numbered on the official map.
- Absolutely fabulous, virtual-reality website from the British School of Archaeology in Rome where you can view 3D models of houses in Insula (Block) I.9. Definitely check out the great animation of the House of the Fruit Orchard (Casa Frutteto or House 5) which flies into the reconstructed bedrooms and dining room. Examine 3D archaeological finds and view clickable panoramas of streets and houses.

Just outside Pompeii archaeologists have uncovered a few rural villas that were destroyed by Vesuvius.

* House of Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale
    Famous for its amazingly well-preserved bedroom which has been transported to the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

Near to Pompeii lies the Roman town of Herculaneum, also destroyed in the volcanic eruption of AD 79, but now yielding up some amazing finds. Here are just a few of the houses:

* The House of the Wooden Partition
    One of the best preserved houses in Herculaneum.
- Locaton: No.36 on the official map.
- Official website.

* The House of Neptune and Amphitrite
    Famed for its outdoor summer dining-room (note the raised pavements for three couches) and its lavish mosaics.
- Locaton: No.29 on the official map
- Official website.

The Rich and Famous on the Bay of Naples
    As well as towns like Pompeii that were full of hard-working people, there were lots of luxury villas dotted around the Bay of Naples.
This short video looks at who these rich Romans were and why they came to the Bay.
Roman Gardens 1
    Great webpage about the types of plants found in Roman gardens, illustrated by actual Roman wall-paintings of the plants! Beautiful!
Roman Gardens 2
    Short webpage on Roman gardens but includes the wonderful "Garden Fresco" from the House of the Braclet in Pompeii that faced and perhaps copied the real garden opposite it. Click the small version to learn about the plants and birds depicted - and hear their birdsong.
Roman Gardens 3
    Super description of Roman gardens by Natasha Sheldon. Now back online.
Roman Gardens 4
    Roman wall-painting from the Villa of Livia at Primaporta near Rome showing an almost wild garden full of trees, flowers and birds. Now in the Palazzo Massimo Museum of Rome.
Roman Gardens 5: podcast
    "Pompeii and the Roman Villa, Part 2: Courtyards and Gardens", a 5-minute podcast in which Roman gardens are discussed. Also available to download.
Produced by the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.
The Roman Family 1
    The structure of the family, the roles of the father and the mother, and marriage are explored in this accessible webpage.
The Roman Family 2
    Aimed at younger students.
Roman Children 1: sculpture
    This Roman sculpture shows various stages in a boy's life: from a suckling baby, to a toddler in his father's arms, to playing, to learning at his father's knee.
Part of the sarcophagus (stone coffin) of M. Cornelius Statius; 2nd-century AD; now in the Louvre Museum, Paris.
Roman Children 2
    Short description of a child's life - from birth to coming-of-age.
Roman Children 3
    The toys and games popular with Roman children.
Roman Children 4: toys
    A selection of Roman toys, including some that would be familiar to children today: a doll, rattles, dice, and small dishes for playing house. In the National Archaeoligical Museum in Tarragona, Spain.
Roman Children 5: rocking cradle
    Wooden rocking cradle preserved in the volcanic ash that covered Herculaneum in 79 AD. The wonder of its preservation is tempered by the knowledge that the little baby that was in it was killed in the disaster. From the House of M.Pilius Primigenius Granianus.
* NEW * Roman Children 6: rocking cradle - video
    Short clip from the BBC series "Meet The Romans" featuring Roman furniture at the end of which we see the famous cradle in action.
Marriage 1
    A look at love, engagement and marriage!
Marriage 2
    Excellent few pages on the different aspects Roman marriage: Introduction & Types of Marriage; Preparing for a Wedding; The Wedding Ceremony; and the Ideal Marriage.
This page takes you to the "Wedding Ceremony" section.
Marriage 3
    A re-enactment of a marriage ceremony. The enormous age-gap between bride and groom in this instance while not terribly unusual in Roman times, should not be thought of as normal.
Marriage 4: a modern, ancient-Roman wedding
    No re-enactment, but a real marriage ceremony staying as close to the ancient Roman forumlas as possible.
Look through the pages for some useful insights.
Marriage 5: here comes the bride
    The distinguishing veil on a Roman wedding dress is described as "flame-coloured". Modern reconstructions thus vary from red to yellow depending on your interpretation of the colour of a flame!
Marriage 7: sculpture
    A marble relief sculpture of a wedding ceremony. The groom, holding the wedding contract, joins hands with his bride (wearing the veil) as part of the ceremony; between them stands either the pronuba (maid-of-honour), the goddess Concordia ("harmony") or Juno in her role as goddess of marriage. The smaller figure to the left is a witness.
Part of a Roman sarcophagus (stone coffin), dating to 150-175 AD; found in Rome, now in the British Museum.
Marriage 8: sculpture
    The central relief on this stone sarcophagus shows a scene from a couple's wedding day: they clasp hands while Cupid stands between holding the ceremonial wedding torch. In the Glyptothek in Munich.
Marriage 9: sculpture
    Marble cinerary urn of Vernasia Cyclas. She and her husband are depicted with their right hands joined as during their wedding ceremony. The letters 'F A P' between them may stand for Fidelissimae (most faithful) Amantissimae (most loving) Pientissimae (most devoted).
Originally from Rome; now in the British Museum. 1st century AD.
Marriage 10: rings
    A Roman, gold wedding ring engraved with two clasped hands, a poppy head and two stars.In the British Museum.
Marriage 12: wall-painting - wedding-night nerves
    This famous painting is known as the "Aldobrandini Wedding" fresco. Found in 1601, it was one of the first ancient figured wall-paintings to come to light after centuries of the Roman culture having being forgotten and/or neglected. It was cut from the walls of a late 1st century BC Roman house on the Esquiline Hill in Rome and entered the possession of the Aldobrandini family until purchased for the Vatican in 1818 where it is now displayed. On its discovery it enjoyed enormous fame and prestige.
The nervous-looking bride has taken off her flame-coloured (golden-yellow) veil and laid it on the bed while getting reassurance from her friend; the groom sits by the bed with nervous expectation, while other rites and musical celebrations take place outside the bedroom.
Marriage 13: wall-painting - romantic meal for two...
    A wife could go to a party with her husband... a scenario apparently shown in this fresco from the House of Chaste Lovers in Pompeii.
Marriage 14: sculpture - Husband & Wife
    The "his and hers" sculpted busts of Roman husband and wife.
In the Vatican Museum.
Marriage 15: the Portland Vase
    An expensive wedding present? The Portland Vase is one of the most famous pieces of Roman glass - and its scenes of love and marriage would have made it a fitting, but very expensive, pressie!
Love and Marriage didn't necessarily go together ("like a horse & carriage" as the song goes) in Roman times...
However, for some sweet images of Romans in love, see the section:
Roman Women 1
    Excellent introduction to the place of women in Roman society, concentrating on the discrimination they faced, as well as noting that some asserted their individuality.
Roman Women 2
    A picture of Roman women using ancient Roman sources.
Roman Women 3
    Excellent website - The Women of Rome - detailing the lives of the famous, the rich and the poor. Beatifully illustrated with portraits of Roman women.
This is a PDF version of the now-offline website.
Roman Women 4
    Detailed examination of the lives of women in Roman society.
Roman Women 5: the ideal woman
    An account of Cornelia Africana who was regarded by Romans as a role-model for women, not least for putting her children - her "jewels" - before her own happiness.
But, love for her children was not necessarily her motive.
Roman Women 6: playing the kithara
    It seems that by the time of the Roman Empire it was then considered acceptable for upper class ladies to be able to play instruments such as the harp or lyre. This wonderful wall-painting from a villa near Pompeii shows an elegant lady playing the kithara (type of lyre) attended by her ?daughter.
From the Villa of Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale, ca. 40-30 B.C.; now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York.
Roman Women 7: the documentary
    Good 10-minute HBO documentary produced to accompany the TV mini-series "Rome".
Click for links to clothes, hairstyles, jewellery and more...
Cerberus, named after the mythical dog that guarded the Underworld, has been given the slender features of the dog that appears in the doorway-mosaic of Caecilius' house.
Although, difficult to specify his breed, it's obvious that he's neither a poodle nor a rottweiler. The ancient authors frequently mentioned Molossian hounds and Laconian Hounds as favourite hunting and guard dogs, but it seems to this webmaster that our Cerberus looks most like another famous ancient breed, the Cretan hound. What do you think?
Classical Dogs 1: the Cretan Hound
    ...and check out this picture which looks just like Cerberus on p.3.
Classical Dogs 2: Greek pooches
Classical Dogs 3: Greek & Roman pooches
Classical Dogs 4: Molossian breeds
    The Molossians of classical times are no longer with us...but here are some of the dogs thought to be descended from them.
Classical Dogs 5: Roman statue
    In the British Museum, and thought to be a Molossian hound.
Classical Dogs 6: Roman paw-print
    The silly pooch walked across the sticky clay tiles before they were fired... and left his mark forever.
Classical Dogs 7: Roman mosaic
    From the House of the Faun in Pompeii; now in the Archaeological Museum, Naples.
You can colour in this version!
Classical Dogs 8: Roman mosaic
    A lucky look at a doorway mosaic in Pompeii that's usually covered over for protection.
Classical Dogs 9: Roman mosaic
    It's the famous "cave canem" ("Beware of the dog!") mosaic from the House of the Tragic Poet in Pompeii. Still in situ.
Classical Dogs 10: Roman mosaic
    In the entrance to Caecilius' house in Pompeii lies this mosaic of his dog. Who knows? may even have been called Cerberus!
Close-up and a drawing.
What to call a Classical Woof...
    A list of real Roman dog names...

...and finally:
What have the Romans ever done for us?
    It's now a "classic" clip... and one that everyone should know by heart - and it's still funny! In fact, a Blockbuster poll recently voted it the funniest movie scene ever!
So, what have the Romans ever done for us...?
Additionally, here's the script...


Unit 1 Dictionary Catena

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27th May 2016 in the Roman calendar is:
ante diem sextum Kalendas Iunias
or a.d. VI Kal. Iun. for short!
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dum docent, discunt
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