Ancient/Classical History/The History of Latin

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Question
Dear Maria,

I am a student from Taiwan, And recently I am trying to write a paper on the history of Latin. I am now reading Le latin ou lempire dun signe  by Waquet. This is indeed a great book, but it is somehow a bit general. If you want to tell a huge story in limited time, you just can not be too specific. Right?

Therefore, if I want to know more about the relation before Roman Empire and the language Latin. Is there any must-read books? Thank you so much. And thank you for tolerating this super basic question...

Thanks again!!!
Johnnie

Answer
Hello,

first of all the Roman Empire and the Latin language form a whole since Latin was the language of Rome and later of its empire from 753 BC, i.e. from the foundation of Rome, until the fall of the Western Roman empire in 476 AD.

In short,  all the peoples that Rome subjugated had learned to speak Latin, of course, and Latin continued to be the official language for learned persons until about the 18th century so that Latin was used by scholars in all Europe.

Note that at its zenith, the Roman Empire included most of Europe (Italy, England, Germany, Portugal, Spain, France,  Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium, Greece, Albania, Romania, Hungary, Bosnia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Turkey), coastal northern Africa (Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt), the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea and some parts of Mesopotamia and the Middle East (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Iraq).

To sum up, there is a close connection  between the  Roman Empire and the Latin language.

As for  Françoise WAQUET, "Le Latin ou l'empire d'un signe XVIe -XXe siècle.Paris 1998, she talks about the history of Latin between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries when Latin, as a sign/mark/symbol of Europe, "dominated   the civic and sacred worlds of Europe since it was adopted by the Humanists as the official language for schools and by the Catholic Church as the common liturgical language, and  was the way in which millions of children were taught, people prayed to God, and scholars were educated".

So, as you can see, “Latin: Or the Empire of a Sign” by F.Waquet is not a history of Latin language from its origin in the 8th century BC  to the fall of Roman empire in 476 AD, but the  story of this language from the moment in the sixteenth century AD when it was adopted by the Humanists as the official language for schools and by the Catholic Church as the common liturgical language as it was  a symbol with its own, highly significant empire.

Finally, with regard to a book on the history of Latin language from its origin in the 8th century BC, I can indicate “The Blackwell History of the Latin Language” by James Clackson and  Geoff Horrocks, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, 2007, as “this text makes use of contemporary work in linguistics to provide up-to-date commentary on the development of Latin, from its prehistoric origins in the Indo-European language family, through the earliest texts, to the creation of the Classical Language of Cicero and Vergil, and examines the impact of the spread of spoken Latin through the Roman Empire".
See Amazon at:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Blackwell-History-Latin-Language/dp/1444339206

Hope this can be helpful to you.

Best regards,
Maria

Ancient/Classical History

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Maria

Expertise

My field of expertise is Ancient Greek and Roman History.

Experience

Over 25 years teaching experience.

Education/Credentials
I received my Ph.D.in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

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