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Non-Classical Latin

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Non-Classical Latin

Postby Cursus » Sat Nov 16, 2013 1:55 am

I'm currently wrapping up Wheelock and will soon begin tackling actual Latin. There's a plethora of classical authors to read, but I know very little about later varieties of Latin. It sounds like Medieval Latin eventually started diverging in significant ways from Classical Latin, but how different are they? What works might any Medievalists out there recommend as worth reading? Or for that matter, are there any Renaissance or early modern works (17th-18th century?) that are good reads?

I took up Latin to read classical works, and I could never exhaust them all. But it's exciting to realize suddenly that I might be able to read nearly 2,000 years' worth of literature in the end!
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Re: Non-Classical Latin

Postby Shenoute » Sat Nov 16, 2013 3:34 pm

As a forweord, I would just point to the fact that Medieval Latin is a house of many mansions. That applies to style, respect of Classical Latin grammar rules as well as content. Keeping that in mind, I'd say that grammatical differences are numerous but do not impede reading that much. The biggest hurdle in my view would rather be the totally different cultural mindset and pertaining vocabulary. But even this isn't that much of a problem as long as you're ready to struggle a bit in the beginning.

My advice would be to get some ML reader, they usually include a grammatical summary, various texts and a glossary. I particularly like Reading Medieval Latin by Sidgwell (lots of notes and introductions to the texts) and Beeson's Primer of Medieval Latin (less numerous notes and shorter introductions but a greater number of texts).

Recommanding any work is difficult because this would highly depend on the kind of texts you want/like to read. Here is a very, very short list of some works I like :
- Bede's Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum
- Abelard's letters
- Hroswitha's plays
- Geoffrey of Monmouth's Vita Merlini
- Carmina Burana
- Alexander's romance
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Re: Non-Classical Latin

Postby Shenoute » Sun Nov 17, 2013 11:53 am

In to add to/complete my previous post, I should also mention Nunn's Introduction to Ecclesiastical Latin. You can skip the grammar part and start reading the 40 pages of extracts at the end of the book. Each text has notes for unclassical vocabulary and grammar points with references to the first part of the book.

After reading even only half of the texts, you should have been introduced to almost every grammatical information you need to read Ecclesiastical/Medieval Latin.
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Re: Non-Classical Latin

Postby Cursus » Sun Nov 17, 2013 3:37 pm

These lists are quite helpful; browsing through some of the links you posted, there were many passages I could already understand. It sounds as though Medieval and Ecclesiastical Latin should be fairly easy to pick up once my Classical Latin is on more or less solid ground. I appreciate your recommendations!
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Re: Non-Classical Latin

Postby Shenoute » Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:11 am

Glad it could help ! Do not hesitate to post any question you may have.
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