Lectiones Memorabiles: Volume I: Selections from Catullus, Cicero, Livy, Ovid, Propertius, Tibullus,

by Marianthe Colakis, Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers 2015, Pb 360 pages, ISBN: 978-0-86516-829-9 ($29.00).

These two books from Bolchazy are designed for use in Latin courses for the International Baccalaureate (IB).  The IB was created in 1968 to provide a curriculum for international schools all over the world; it is offered in English, French and Spanish.  The final certificate requires the student to offer six subjects, three at higher level and three at standard level.  The six subjects must include a second language and Latin and Greek are now available to fill this slot.  The Lectiones under review cater for the topics set for the IB syllabus for 2016 - 2018 and include Love Poetry, Women, History, Good Living and an author study of Virgil.  The thematic topics consist of a mixture of prose and verse, while the others are purely prose or poetry.  The topic on Women, for example, proposes Ovid’s Heroides 1 (Penelope), the story of Cloelia from Livy, sections of Cicero’s pro Caelio about Clodia, the story of Camilla from Aeneid 11 and some love poetry from Horace, Propertius and Catullus.   These thematic chapters could be used for enrichment reading for any course.  This is a venture of Bolchazy and is not an official set textbook from the IB organisation. There is no complete glossary at the end of the book and students are therefore expected to have access to a good (digital) dictionary, particularly as the notes do not give a lot of straight vocabulary help, but are directed more towards interpretation and literary comment.  This makes the books more of a teaching resource and classroom tool than a volume for personal reading, and makes the instructor taking the class an essential part of the process.  A number of schools in Europe and Asia now offer Latin as part of the IB programme, of which some are international schools teaching in English, some independent schools in the UK which see the IB as a valid alternative to the narrow state A levels, and state schools in Germany and Spain offering the IB.   Schools in Australia and Asia are also involved, as are many schools in the USA.   This inclusion of Latin in the IB is a relatively recent development in Classics education and for schools looking to give an international slant to their curriculum could be a real alternative.  Latin and Classical Greek have of course much to recommend them as international subjects within this system.

John Bulwer