Itinera Petri: Flammae Ducant demonstrates why it is an intermediate text from the beginning, which is why it is in level F as an upper intermediate text in my Self Directed Reading program. Peter was sleeping in the past and the perspective shifts to the present when his mother wakes him up. Before she is finished talking to him, she considers the future of the day with Peter sleeping through it. Even with a narrative that frequently changes tenses as needed in the moment, sheltered vocabulary allows for frequent repetition.
Some day I hope to use this title as a class novel in level 3. Chapter 1 is filled with opportunity to personalize the text while learning about students’ routines as they prepare for the day. And when Peter sees flames around him in the mirror, there are numerous places to take the discussion. Is Peter sleep deprived? What signs do we follow in life, even if they are not as clear as seeing flames in the mirror as we get ready in the morning?
Peter leaves his house and meets the character Avia after chapter 1. There is a base of short sentences with repetition, but already in chapter 2 longer sentences with connected actions appear. Present participles and infinitives convey actions happening at the same time which causes a rich, elaborate story line. The character of Avia, along with the bulla in chapter 3 offer an opportunity to connect with students about their own lives. I see the discussion moving toward asking students to describe an Avia like character or a bulla like object in their own life.
A dream scene seems to confuse Peter even more and honestly, I think students become confused at this point as well. We don’t really learn anything new in the dream except that Peter will be going on a long journey but Itinera Petri: Flammae Ducant already did a good job of introducing the journey as Peter wanders out of his house early in the story.
Peter’s journey leads him to animals and a river. The journey offers a review of some animal, nature and travel vocabulary with excitement thrown into the plot. As Peter discovers the purpose to his journey, I’m amazed at how the use of subjunctives, participles and infinitives are woven into a simple and repetitive structure that creates a rich and elaborate story line. Along the way, Itinera Petri: Flammae Ducant offers a reader or a class many opportunities to explore oneself, purpose, relationship with nature, family and travel.
Add Itinera Petri: Flammae Ducant to your Latin library for intermediate readers. It will offer them a complex story that they will understand. Encourage those intermediate readers to respond to the text by connecting any journeys, physical or emotional, that may be happening in their lives. Perhaps this story fits well as a step toward the Aeneid and the journey of Aeneas.