Look inside our Latin Made Easy e-books
Our SPQR Study Guides range of e-books contains almost 50 dual-language classical works in Latin/English and Greek/English (see the full range here), but three of them are aimed at less experienced readers who want to build their confidence. These books retell ancient stories using simplified Latin: the tale of Perseus's fight against Medusa, the heroics of Hercules as he completes his labours, and the first book of Caesar's Gallic Wars.
The books are graded readers, which means they start easy and get more difficult as you advance. Each one includes simplified Latin, a word-for-word English translation, and a natural English translation so that you can get precise meanings alongside a more fluent understanding. The first book in the series is Perseus Made Easy, and is easy to dip into even if you have very little Latin.
We want you to know what you're getting before you buy, so below you can find the first 10 sections from Perseus Made Easy, Hercules Made Easy, and Caesar Made Easy. If you like what you see, please buy the full editions!
Perseus Made Easy
Perseus Made Easy is our text for beginners. This book is suitable for students with less than a year of Latin, primarily using the present and imperfect indicative active. As you progress, you'll come across increasingly frequent usages of the perfect tense, but it's very gradual so hopefully you won't find it too taxing.
Latin: Haec narrantur a poetis de Perseo.
Precise English: These things / are told / by / the poets / about / Perseus.
Natural English: These things are told by the poets about Perseus.
Latin: Perseus filius erat Iovis, maximi deorum; avus eius Acrisius appellabatur.
Precise English: Perseus / son / was / of Jupiter, / greatest / of the gods; / grandfather / of him / Acrisus / was called.
Natural English: Perseus was the son of Jupiter, the greatest of the gods; his grandfather was called Acrisus.
Latin: Acrisius volebat Perseum nepotem suum necare; nam propter oraculum puerum timebat.
Precise English: Acrisius / wanted / Perseus / the grandson / his / to kill; / for / on account of / an oracle / the boy / he feared.
Natural English: Acrisius wanted to kill his grandson, Perseus; he feared the boy because of an oracle.
Latin: Comprehendit igitur Perseum adhuc infantem, et cum matre in arca lignea inclusit.
Precise English: He took / therefore / Perseus / while still / an infant, / and / with / his mother / in / an ark / of wood / enclosed.
Natural English: He therefore took Perseus while he was still a child, and, with his mother, closed him in a wood ark.
Latin: Tum arcam ipsam in mare coniecit. Danae, Persei mater, magnopere territa est; tempestas enim magna mare turbabat.
Precise English: Then / the ark / itself / into / the sea / he threw. / Danae, / Perseus's / mother, / greatly / was afraid; / a storm / because / high / the sea / was stirring.
Natural English: Then he threw the ark into the sea. Danae, Perseus's mother, was frightened because a storm was stirring up the high sea.
Latin: Perseus autem in sinu matris dormiebat.
Precise English: Perseus / however / in the lap / of his mother / was sleeping.
Natural English: But Perseus was in his mother's lap, sleeping.
Latin: Iuppiter tamen haec omnia vidit, et filium suum servare constituit.
Precise English: Jupiter / however / these things / all / saw, / and / son / his / to save / decided.
Natural English: Jupiter saw all these things, and decided to save his son
Latin: Tranquillum igitur fecit mare, et arcam ad insulam Seriphum perduxit.
Precise English: Tranquil / therefore / he made / the sea, / and / the ark / to / the island / of Seriphos / he guided.
Natural English: Therefore he made the sea tranquil, and guided the ark to the island of Seriphos.
Latin: Huius insulae Polydectes tum rex erat.
Precise English: Of this / island / Polydectes / at that time / king / was.
Natural English: At this time Polydectes was king of this island.
Latin: Postquam arca ad litus appulsa est, Danae in harena quietem capiebat.
Precise English: After / the ark / to / the shore / had landed, / Danae / on the sand / a rest / was taking.
Natural English: After the ark had landed on the shore, Danae rested on the sand.
That free sample is the first 10 sections of Perseus Made Easy – the full book has 83 in total. If you like what you see, click here to buy the full book on Amazon!
Hercules Made Easy
Hercules Made Easy is our intermediate text. This book is suitable for students with a year or two of Latin, but as you advance you'll come across much more difficult Latin by the end, with extensive use of the subjunctive mood and more advanced usages of the ablative.
Latin: Hercules, Alcmenae filius, olim in Graecia habitabat.
Precise English: Hercules, / of Alcmena / the son, / once / in / Greece / was living.
Natural English: Hercules, the son of Alcmena, was once living in Greece.
Latin: Hic omnium hominum validissimus fuisse dicitur.
Precise English: He / all / of men / the most brave / to have been / it is said
Natural English: It is said that he was the most brave of all men.
Latin: At Iuno, regina deorum, Alcmenam oderat et Herculem adhuc infantem necare voluit.
Precise English: But / Juno, / queen / of the gods, / Alcmena / hated / and / Hercules / from / an infant / to kill / wanted.
Natural English: But Juno, queen of the gods, hated Alcmena and wanted to kill Hercules from an infant.
Latin: Misit igitur duas serpentis saevissimas; hae media nocte in cubiculum Alcmenae venerunt, ubi Hercules cum fratre suo dormiebat.
Precise English: She sent / therefore / two / snakes / most savage; / these / in the middle / of the night / into / the bedroom / of Alcmena / came, / where / Hercules / with / the brother / of him / was sleeping.
Natural English: Therefore she sent two savage snakes; in the middle of the night these came into the bedroom of Alcmena, where Hercules with his brother was sleeping.
Latin: Nec tamen in cunis, sed in scuto magno cubabant.
Precise English: Not / however / in / a cradle, / but / in / a shield / great / they were lying.
Natural English: However they were not lying in a cradle, but in a great shield.
Latin: Serpentes iam appropinquaverant et scutum movebant; itaque pueri e somno excitati sunt.
Precise English: The snakes / just / had approached / and / the shield / were moving; / and so / the boys / from / sleep / roused were.
Natural English: The snakes had just approached and were moving the shield, and so the boys were roused from sleep.
Latin: Iphicles, frater Herculis, magna voce exclamavit; sed Hercules ipse, fortissimus puer, haudquaquam territus est.
Precise English: Iphicles, / brother / of Hercules, / in a great / voice / cried; / but / Hercules / himself, / a most brave / boy, / not at all / was afraid.
Natural English: Iphicles, brother of Hercules, cried out in a great voice; but Hercules himself, a most brave boy, was not at all afraid.
Latin: Parvis manibus serpentis statim prehendit, et colla earum magna vi compressit.
Precise English: With his little hands / the snakes / at once / grabbed, / and / the necks / of them / with great / force / squeezed
Natural English: With his little hands he grabbed the snakes at once, and squeezed their necks with great force.
Latin: Tali modo serpentes a puero interfectae sunt.
Precise English: In this / way / the snakes / by / the boy / were killed
Natural English: In this way the snakes were killed by the boy.
Latin: Alcmena autem, mater puerorum, clamorem audiverat, et maritum suum e somno excitaverat.
Precise English: Alcmena / but, / mother / of the boys, / the shouts / had heard, / and / the husband / hers / from / sleep / had roused.
Natural English: But Alcmena, mother of the boys, had heard the shouts, and had roused her husband from sleep.
That free sample is the first 10 sections of Hercules Made Easy – the full book has 298 in total. If you like what you see, click here to buy the full book on Amazon!
Caesar Made Easy
This book is suitable for experienced students with at least two years of Latin, although you should know that we have simplified Caesar's Latin word order so that it more closely matches the order seen in English - as a result the word-for-word translation and natural English translation are very similar. We have also eliminated some of Caesar's extensive and complicated parenthetical asides so that the whole text flows more easily.
Latin: Omnis Gallia est divisa in tres partes:
Precise English: All / Gaul / is / divided / into / three / parts:
Natural English: All Gaul is divided into three parts:
Latin: unam quarum Belgae incolunt;
Precise English: one / of which / the Belgae / inhabit;
Natural English: one of which the Belgae inhabit;
Latin: aliam Aquitani; tertiam, qui lingua ipsorum appelantur Celtae, nostra, Galli.
Precise English: another / the Aquitani; / the third, / who / in the language / of themselves / are called / Celtae, / in ours, / Gauls.
Natural English: another the Aquitani; the third, those who in the language of themselves are called Celtae, in ours, Gauls.
Latin: Omnes hi differunt inter se lingua, institutis, legibus.
Precise English: All / these / differ / between / themselves / in language, / institutions, / laws.
Natural English: All these differ between themselves in language, institutions, and laws.
Latin: Flumen Garumna dividit Gallos ab Aquitanis, Matrona et Sequana a Belgis.
Precise English: The river / Garonne / divides / the Gauls / from / the Aquitani, / the Marne / and / Seine / from / the Belgae.
Natural English: The river Garonne divides the Gauls from the Aquitani, the Marne and Seine from the Belgae.
Latin: Belgae sunt fortissimi omniuum horum:
Precise English: The Belgae / are / the bravest / of all / these:
Natural English: The Belgae are the bravest of all these:
Latin: propterea quod absunt longissime a cultu atque humanitate Provinciae;
Precise English: because / that / they are distant / farthest / from / the cultivation / and / humanity / of the Province;
Natural English: because they are the most distant from the cultivation and refinement of the province;
Latin: que mercatores minime saepe commeant ad eos, atque important ea, quae pertinent ad animos effeminandos.
Precise English: and / merchants / least / often / resort / to / them, / and / import / those, / which / appertain / to / minds / to be effeminated.
Natural English: and merchants least often resort to them, and import those things that tend to effeminate the mind.
Latin: Sunt proximi Germanis, qui incolunt trans Rhenum, cum quibus gerunt bellum continenter:
Precise English: They are / nearest / to the Germani, / who / inhabit / beyond / the Rhine, / with / whom / they carry on / war / continually:
Natural English: They are nearest to the Germani, who inhabit the land beyond the Rhine, with whom they carry on war continually:
Latin: de qua caussa Helvetii quoque praecedunt reliquos Gallos virtute;
Precise English: from / which / cause / the Helvetii / also / go before / remaining / Gauls / in valor;
Natural English: from which cause the Helvetii also excel the remaining Gauls in valor;
That free sample is the first 10 sections of Caesar Made Easy – the full book has 622 in total. If you like what you see, click here to buy the full book on Amazon!