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Latin

From around 800 BCE Latin emerged as the language spoken in and around Rome. In the wake of the Roman conquests the language spread throughout Italy and eventually through the whole Mediterranean. By 500 CE it was known from the west coast of Ireland to the east of Syria, from Scandinavia to the Sahel.

It was a rather artificial kind of Latin, however, which was spoken alongside vernaculars, e. g. Greek in the east, or Celtic and Germanic languages in the west. Even in Italy it had since the early days of Empire become a language of grammarians and rhetoricians, lawyers, litterati, imperial officials, minor poets, churchmen, astrologers and wizards.

The colloquial language had been absorbed by the emerging Romance vernaculars. However, contrary to expectations, Latin did not disappear from the face of the earth. In a long series of Renaissance movements it experienced one revival after another, in almost every century, from the 2nd to the 21st.

The following modules are aimed at introducing students to the Latin especially of this later period in grammar and vocabulary and enabling them to read, translate and comment on Latin texts and their cultural and religious background.

For more information on each module click on the relevant module title (Note also HS 3343 and 3344 Latin Historical Texts).