About Us

pantheon poets
Ad Meskens / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

I hope you enjoy Pantheon Poets. In Britain, only a small proportion of people born since 1960 know any Latin. But, for many, many European authors who have written between the dark ages and the middle of the twentieth century, education meant the classics, and they were often influenced as much or more by Latin poets like Virgil, Horace and Catullus as by writers in their own languages.

If you are interested in English and other modern European literature, Pantheon Poets tries to offer you a more authentic glimpse into this long and influential Latin tradition than just reading modern translations can provide. Pantheon Poets is of course also aimed at anybody who already knows Latin, has an enthusiasm for its poetry and might enjoy it in this format. New poems and poets are added from time to time.

Here you will find famous Latin poems and extracts from longer ones in the original, along with an English translation and a sound file of each poem. This oral presentation is in keeping with how Romans themselves would have experienced poetry: it was commonly read aloud by skilled performers, and Roman books were unpunctuated and much harder to read by yourself than modern ones.

English and Latin are languages that work in radically different ways, so the translations aim to stay fairly close to the Latin but without doing as much violence to good English as brutishly literal ones would. They are not meant to be poetry themselves. There is also a very short introduction to each poem, aimed at the general reader and avoiding linguistic and technical complexities of the kind that specialists focus on.

As well as Latin poems, I post more recent poems that I particularly like from other times in English and sometimes in other languages, and I hope you enjoy those too: many, but not all, will be chosen as examples of how Latin poetry has influenced European literature over the centuries.

Marcus Agrippa