Those taking the high school AP Latin course will be taking material comparable to fourth to sixth semester college level Latin courses on Vergil (aka Virgil), according to the PDF for the AP-Latin course (available from apcentral.collegeboard.com). The course provides a partial reading of Vergil's masterpiece, the epic poem The Aeneid (and material by Caesar). For the test, students will translate sight passages from other authors and answer questions reflecting on their knowledge in various areas related to The Aeneid (and Caesar's Gallic War): grammar, syntax, social and historical context, meter, and figures of speech.
Also see: Latin Prose - AP Latin Caesar
Is AP-Latin for You?
If you're in doubt about whether to take it, see 6 Reasons to Take Advanced Placement Classes, from the About.com Guide to College Applications.
If you are thinking of taking AP Latin, you should consult AP Latin: Vergil Course Home Page, making careful note of all revisions. The revised (spring 2012) version with the Caesar component, takes effect in the 2012-13 academic year with its first exam time scheduled for May 2013. You'll find information on what is included in the course, which covers these specific passages from Vergil's Aeneid.
More Specifics on What You Need to Know for AP Latin Vergil
You also need general familiarity with all 12 books of the Aeneid.
Other skills listed are the ability to provide a literal English translation of the passages listed, and ability to analyze noteworthy features of the passages, including choice of words, imagery, and meter. Familiarity with ancient epic, especially Homer, is assumed, as is knowledge of Roman culture.
You'll also find sample questions and a practice exam in PDF. Although there is an additional PDF on curriculum, the site appears to be designed mostly for teachers of AP Latin Vergil, but students or potential ones can profit from it, as well.
The History of AP Latin
AP Latin has experienced several major changes since AP Latin exam was first offered in 1956. For the 2012-2013 year, a prose component on Caesar was added to the Vergil. One of the pages on the site, The AP Latin: Vergil Exam provides a timeline:
- 1956. The first administration included two Latin exams, named IV (for fourth-year Vergil) and V (for fifth-year prose, comedy, and lyric).
- 1969. The Latin IV and Latin V exams were divided into four discrete exams: Latin Vergil, Latin Lyric, Latin Prose, and Latin Comedy. Students could take one or two of these four exams.
- 1973. The exams were renamed Classics, and only the Vergil and Lyric options remained, with a common multiple-choice section.
- 1978. The Classics title reverted back to Latin, and the two exams became known as Latin: Catullus and Horace, and Latin: Vergil.
- 1994. The current form of the exams was introduced, with the options being Latin: Vergil and Latin Literature. The latter is based on works of Catullus, Ovid, Cicero, and Horace.
- 2009. Latin: Vergil becomes the sole course and exam offering.
- 2013. Introduction of new AP Latin course and exam.