A Natural History of Latin by Tore Janson

By Tore Janson

No recognized language, together with English, has accomplished the luck and toughness of Latin. French, Spanish, Italian, and Romanian are between its direct descendants, and numerous Latin phrases and words contain the cornerstone of English itself. A ordinary background or Latin tells its historical past from its origins over 2500 years in the past to the current. Brilliantly conceived, popularizing yet authoritative, and written with the fluency and lightweight contact that experience made Tore Janson's communicate so appealing to tens of millions of readers, it's a masterpiece of adroit synthesis. The ebook commences with an outline of the origins, emergence, and dominance of Latin over the Classical interval. Then follows an account of its survival throughout the center a long time into glossy instances, with emphasis on its evolution through the heritage, tradition, and non secular practices of Medieval Europe. through sensible citation of Latin phrases, words, and texts the writer illustrates how the written and spoken language replaced, sector via area over the years; the way it met resistance from local languages; and the way as a result a few complete languages disappeared. Janson deals a bright demonstration of the worth of Latin as a way of entry to a colourful earlier and a persuasive argument for its persisted worthy. A concise and easy-to-understand advent to Latin grammar and an inventory of the main widespread Latin phrases, together with 500 idioms and words nonetheless in universal use, supplement the paintings.

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Mensis Martius means something like ‘Martian Month’. Martius is an adjective formed from Mars, the name of the god of war. In the same way mensis Maius is the month of the goddess Maia, and mensis Ianuarius is connected with the god Janus. This is the god who is depicted with two faces, one on the front and one on the back of his head. He had to do with beginnings and endings, and we can conclude that the month name Ianuarius was coined with the idea of marking the start of the new year. Two of the months were given names by the Senate.

46 Latin and the Romans Anyway, Latin was preserved as the spoken language in large tracts of western Europe and in an area near the Black Sea. How Latin later gave birth to other languages is a question we will return to later, but in some important provinces Latin disappeared. Nowhere is this more true than in north Africa. For many hundreds of years the population there had spoken Latin, at least in the towns. In the fifth century a Germanic tribe, the Vandals, conquered the greater part of the area, and after them it was for a while under the rule of the eastern emperor in Constantinople.

A Roman, then, had to be a good public speaker, and if he was, the road to success lay open to him. The best example, and the most able of all the Roman orators, was Marcus Tullius Cicero. 30 Latin and the Romans Cicero and rhetoric Cicero was born in 106 and died in 43 bce, and he lived during the turbulent era of the revolutions. He was born into what we would call the upper middle class, those who in Rome were called équites ‘knights’. He received an exceptionally thorough education, the purpose of which was to train him to appear in court, to speak well in all situations, and, if need be, to take part in war.

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