Ovid Unseens by Mathew Owen (£12.99)
Ovid Unseens provides a bank of 80 practice passages of Latin verse, half elegiac and half hexameter. Taken from across Ovid’s works, including the Metamorphoses, Fasti, Heroides, Amores and Tristia, the passages help build students’ knowledge and confidence in a notoriously difficult element of Latin language learning. Every passage begins with an introduction, outlining the basic story and theme of the passage, followed by a ‘lead-in’ sentence, paraphrasing the few lines before the passage begins. The first set of passages are translation exercises of 12-16 lines, each accompanied by a Discendum box which highlights a key feature of poetic Latin, equipping students further with the skills to tackle ever more difficult verse passages at first sight. These are followed by longer passages with scansion exercises and questions on comprehension and stylistic analysis, replicating unseen verse exam questions in full. The comprehensive introduction provides an overview of Ovid’s life and work, an account of some of the stylistic features of his poetry, and practical help in the form of tips on how to approach the more challenging lines of Latin verse and produce a fluent translation. A step-by-step guide to scansion, with practice exercises and answers, covers the essential principles for scanning lines of Latin verse, from the basics of understanding syllables, feet and types of metres, to coping with elision and caesurae. A guideline verse vocabulary list is provided which covers words particularly common in Ovid’s works. Broken down into small ‘checklists’, each corresponding to a group of four passages, the vocabulary is learnt cumulatively and as it is encountered.