My Latin is okay reading Cæsar and Livy, and I'm even (mostly) fine reading Cicero's vicious attacks on the enemies of whoever happened to hire him for the occasion. But when I come to philosophy and politics, it's all ratio this and res that and condiciones and præstat and cursus and so on and so forth, and I feel like I'm swimming around in a sea of so many possible meanings that I can't figure out a single one to hold on to.

Are there any a) introductions to reading philosophical/political Latin or b) philosophical/political writings in which the Latin is more easily decipherable than in other writings of their ilk?

  • 1
    I think Lucretius is a very clear writer.
    – fdb
    May 3, 2016 at 14:35
  • 2
    What kind of philosophy are you interested in? Stoicism? Seneca's Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium are written in plain speech and easier than Cicero (I think). Scholastic Latin is a beast of its own, but once you get beyond vocabulary it is remarkably easy.
    – brianpck
    May 3, 2016 at 14:37
  • @fdb I'll check him out, though the fact that it's poetry makes me a little nervous. (If you want to make this an answer, by the way, I'll upvote.) May 3, 2016 at 15:51
  • @brianpck Yeah, I think my regular vocabulary still needs work, so I'll leave Scholastic Latin for later, but I'll check out Seneca. If you want to make this an answer I'll upvote. May 3, 2016 at 15:52

1 Answer 1


I find Cicero's De Natura Deorum fairly easily decipherable. The subject matter is less abstrusely technical than much philosophical writing, and the fact that it's written as a dialogue, or really a series of polemical speeches, also helps.


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