Old Latin

Old Latin, also known as Early Latin or Archaic Latin, refers to the Latin language in the period before 75 BC, i.e. before the age of Classical Latin.[2] (In New and Contemporary Latin, this language is called prisca Latinitas ["ancient Latin"] rather than vetus Latina ["old Latin"], as vetus Latina is used to refer to a set of Biblical texts written in Late Latin.) It is ultimately descended from the Proto-Italic language.

The use of "old", "early" and "archaic" has been standard in publications of Old Latin writings since at least the 18th century. The definition is not arbitrary, but the terms refer to writings with spelling conventions and word forms not generally found in works written under the Roman Empire. This article presents some of the major differences.

The earliest known specimen of the Latin language appears on the Praeneste fibula. A new analysis performed in 2011 declared it to be genuine "beyond any reasonable doubt"[3] and dating from the Orientalizing period, in the first half of the seventh century BC.[4]

Old Latin
Archaic Latin
Prisca Latinitas
Duenos inscription
The Duenos inscription, one of the earliest Old Latin texts
Native toRoman Republic
EraDeveloped into Classical Latin during the 1st century BC
Latin alphabet 
Official status
Official language in
Regulated bySchools of grammar and rhetoric
Language codes
ISO 639-3None (mis)
Expansion of Rome, 2nd century BC
Expansion of the Roman Republic during the 2nd century BC. Very little Latin is likely to have been spoken beyond the green area, and other languages were spoken even within it.

Philological constructs

The old-time language

The concept of Old Latin (Prisca Latinitas) is as old as the concept of Classical Latin, both dating to at least as early as the late Roman Republic. In that period Cicero, along with others, noted that the language he used every day, presumably the upper-class city Latin, included lexical items and phrases that were heirlooms from a previous time, which he called verborum vetustas prisca,[5] translated as "the old age/time of language".

During the classical period, Prisca Latinitas, Prisca Latina and other idioms using the adjective always meant these remnants of a previous language, which, in the Roman philology, was taken to be much older in fact than it really was. Viri prisci, "old-time men", were the population of Latium before the founding of Rome.

The four Latins of Isidore

In the Late Latin period, when Classical Latin was behind them, the Latin- and Greek-speaking grammarians were faced with multiple phases, or styles, within the language. Isidore of Seville reports a classification scheme that had come into existence in or before his time: "the four Latins" ("Latinas autem linguas quattuor esse quidam dixerunt").[6] They were Prisca, spoken before the founding of Rome, when Janus and Saturn ruled Latium, to which he dated the Carmen Saliare; Latina, dated from the time of king Latinus, in which period he placed the laws of the Twelve Tables; Romana, essentially equal to Classical Latin; and Mixta, "mixed" Classical Latin and Vulgar Latin, which is known today as Late Latin. The scheme persisted with little change for some thousand years after Isidore.

Old Latin

In 1874, John Wordsworth used this definition: "By Early Latin I understand Latin of the whole period of the Republic, which is separated very strikingly, both in tone and in outward form, from that of the Empire."[7]

Although the differences are striking and can be easily identified by Latin readers, they are not such as to cause a language barrier. Latin speakers of the empire had no reported trouble understanding Old Latin, except for the few texts that must date from the time of the kings, mainly songs. Thus, the laws of the Twelve Tables from the early Republic were comprehensible, but the Carmen Saliare, probably written under Numa Pompilius, was not entirely (and still remains unclear).

An opinion concerning Old Latin, of a Roman man of letters in the middle Republic, survives: the historian, Polybius,[8] read "the first treaty between Rome and Carthage", which he says "dates from the consulship of Lucius Junius Brutus and Marcus Horatius, the first consuls after the expulsion of the kings". Knowledge of the early consuls is somewhat obscure, but Polybius also states that the treaty was formulated 28 years before Xerxes I crossed into Greece; that is, in 508 BC, about the time of the putative date of the founding of the Roman Republic. Polybius says of the language of the treaty "the ancient Roman language differs so much from the modern that it can only be partially made out, and that after much application by the most intelligent men".

There is no sharp distinction between Old Latin, as it was spoken for most of the Republic, and Classical Latin, but the earlier grades into the later. The end of the republic was too late a termination for compilers after Wordsworth; Charles Edwin Bennett said, "'Early Latin' is necessarily a somewhat vague term ... Bell, De locativi in prisca Latinitate vi et usu, Breslau, 1889,[9] sets the later limit at 75 BC. A definite date is really impossible, since archaic Latin does not terminate abruptly, but continues even down to imperial times."[10] Bennett's own date of 100 BC did not prevail but rather Bell's 75 BC became the standard as expressed in the four-volume Loeb Library and other major compendia. Over the 377 years from 452 to 75 BC, Old Latin evolved from being partially comprehensible by classicists with study to being easily read by scholars.


Praeneste fibula
The Praeneste Fibula, the earliest known specimen of the Latin language and dated to the first half of the seventh century BC.
Forum inscription
The Forum inscription (Lapis Niger, "black stone"), one of the oldest known Latin inscriptions, from the 6th century BC; it is written boustrophedon, albeit irregularly; from a rubbing by Domenico Comparetti.

Old Latin authored works began in the 3rd century BC. These are complete or nearly complete works under their own name surviving as manuscripts copied from other manuscripts in whatever script was current at the time. In addition are fragments of works quoted in other authors.

Numerous inscriptions placed by various methods (painting, engraving, embossing) on their original media survive just as they were except for the ravages of time. Some of these were copied from other inscriptions. No inscription can be earlier than the introduction of the Greek alphabet into Italy but none survive from that early date. The imprecision of archaeological dating makes it impossible to assign a year to any one inscription, but the earliest survivals are probably from the 6th century BC. Some texts, however, that survive as fragments in the works of classical authors, had to have been composed earlier than the republic, in the time of the monarchy. These are listed below.

Fragments and inscriptions

Notable Old Latin fragments with estimated dates include:

Works of literature

The authors are as follows:


Old Latin surviving in inscriptions is written in various forms of the Etruscan alphabet as it evolved into the Latin alphabet. The writing conventions varied by time and place until classical conventions prevailed. The works of authors in manuscript form were copied over into the scripts current in those later times. The original writing does not survive.


Some differences between old and classical Latin were of spelling only; pronunciation is thought to be essentially as in classical Latin:[11]

  • Single for double consonants: Marcelus for Marcellus
  • Double vowels for long vowels: aara for āra
  • q for c before u: pequnia for pecunia
  • c for g: Caius for Gaius

These differences did not necessarily run concurrently with each other and were not universal; that is, c was used for both c and g.


Old latin diphthongs nochar
Diphthong changes from Old Latin (left) to Classical Latin (right)[12]


Old Latin is thought to have had a strong stress on the first syllable of a word until about 250 BC. All syllables other than the first were unstressed and were subjected to greater amounts of phonological weakening. Starting around that year, the Classical Latin stress system began to develop. It passed through at least one intermediate stage, found in Plautus, in which the stress occurred on the fourth last syllable in four-syllable words with all short syllables.

Vowels and diphthongs

Most original PIE (Proto-Indo-European) diphthongs were preserved in stressed syllables, including /ai/ (later ae); /ei/ (later ī); /oi/ (later ū, or sometimes oe); /ou/ (from PIE /eu/ and /ou/; later ū).

The Old Latin diphthong ei evolves in stages: ei > ẹ̄ > ī. The intermediate sound ẹ̄ was simply written e but must have been distinct from the normal long vowel ē because ẹ̄ subsequently merged with ī while ē did not. It is generally thought that ẹ̄ was a higher sound than e (e.g. perhaps [eː] vs. [ɛː] during the time when both sounds existed). Even after the original vowel /ei/ had merged with ī, the old spelling ei continued to be used for a while, with the result that ei came to stand for ī and began to be used in the spelling of original occurrences of ī that did not evolve from ei (e.g. in the genitive singular , which is always spelled -i in the oldest inscriptions but later on can be spelled either -i or -ei).

In unstressed syllables, *oi and *ai had already merged into ei by historic times (except for one possible occurrence of poploe for populī "people" in a late manuscript of one of the early songs). This eventually evolved to ī according to the process described above.

Old Latin often had different short vowels from Classical Latin, reflecting sound changes that had not yet taken place. For example, the very early Duenos inscription has the form duenos "good", later found as duonos and still later bonus. A countervailing change wo > we occurred around 150 BC in certain contexts, and many earlier forms are found (e.g. earlier votō, voster, vorsus vs. later vetō, vester, versus).

Old Latin frequently preserves original PIE thematic case endings -os and -om (later -us and -um).


Intervocalic /s/ (pronounced [z]) was preserved up through 350 BC or so, at which point it changed into /r/ (called rhotacism). This rhotacism had implications for declension: early classical Latin, honos, honoris (from honos, honoses); later Classical (by analogy) honor, honoris ("honor"). Some Old Latin texts preserve /s/ in this position, such as the Carmen Arvale's lases for lares. Later instances of single /s/ between vowels are mostly due either to reduction of early /ss/ after long vowels or diphthongs; borrowings; or late reconstructions.

There are many unreduced clusters, e.g. iouxmentom (later iūmentum, "beast of burden"); losna (later lūna, "moon") < *lousna < */leuksnā/; cosmis (later cōmis, "courteous"); stlocum, acc. (later locum, "place").

Early du /dw/ becomes later b: duenos > duonos > bonus "good"; duis > bis "twice"; duellom > bellum "war".

Final /d/ occurred in ablatives (later lost) and in third-person secondary verbs (later t).



Latin nouns are distinguished by grammatical case, with a termination, or suffix, determining its use in the sentence: subject, predicate, etc. A case for a given word is formed by suffixing a case ending to a part of the word common to all its cases called a stem. Stems are classified by their last letters as vowel or consonant. Vowel stems are formed by adding a suffix to a shorter and more ancient segment called a root. Consonant stems are the root (roots end in consonants). The combination of the last letter of the stem and the case ending often results in an ending also called a case ending or termination. For example, the stem puella- receives a case ending -m to form the accusative case puellam in which the termination -am is evident.[13]

In Classical Latin textbooks the declensions are named from the letter ending the stem or First, Second, etc. to Fifth. A declension may be illustrated by a paradigm, or listing of all the cases of a typical word. This method is less frequently applied to Old Latin, and with less validity. In contrast to Classical Latin, Old Latin reflects the evolution of the language from an unknown hypothetical ancestor spoken in Latium. The endings are multiple. Their use depends on time and locality. Any paradigm selected would be subject to these constraints and if applied to the language universally would result in false constructs, hypothetical words not attested in the Old Latin corpus. Nevertheless, the endings are illustrated below by quasi-classical paradigms. Alternative endings from different stages of development are given, but they may not be attested for the word of the paradigm. For example, in the Second Declension, *campoe "fields" is unattested, but poploe "peoples" is attested.

The locative was a separate case in Old Latin but gradually became reduced in function, and the locative singular form eventually merged with the genitive singular by regular sound change. In the plural, the locative was captured by the ablative case in all Italic languages before Old Latin.[14]

First declension (a)

The 'A-Stem' declension. The stems of nouns of this declension usually end in –ā and are typically feminine.[15]

puellā, –ās
girl, maiden f.
Singular Plural
Nominative puellā,
Vocative puella puellai
Accusative puellam puellās
Genitive puellās,
Dative puellāi puelleis,
Ablative puellād
Locative Rōmai Syrācūseis

A nominative case ending of –s in a few masculines indicates the nominative singular case ending may have been originally –s: paricidas for later paricida, but the –s tended to get lost.[16] In the nominative plural, -ī replaced original -s as in the genitive singular.[17]

In the genitive singular, the –s was replaced with –ī from the second declension, the resulting diphthong shortening to –ai subsequently becoming –ae.[18] The original form is maintained in some formulae, e.g. pater familiās. The genitive plural ending -āsōm (classical -ārum following rhotacism), borrowed from the pronouns, began to overtake original -om.[17]

In the dative singular the final i is either long[19] or short.[20] The ending becomes –ae, –a (Feronia) or –e (Fortune).[19]

In the accusative singular, Latin regularly shortens a vowel before final m.[20]

In the ablative singular, –d was regularly lost after a long vowel.[20] In the dative and ablative plural, the –abos descending from Indo-European *–ābhos[21] is used for feminines only (deabus). *–ais > –eis > īs is adapted from –ois of the o-declension.[22]

The vocative singular had inherited short -a. This later merged with the nominative singular when -ā was shortened to -ă.[20]

The locative case would not apply to such a meaning as puella, so Roma, which is singular, and Syracusae, which is plural, have been substituted. The locative plural has already merged with the –eis form of the ablative.

Second declension (o)

campos, –ī
field, plain m.
saxom, –ī
rock, stone n.
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative campos campei < campoi saxom saxā,
Vocative campe saxă
Accusative campom campōs saxom saxā,
Genitive campī campōm saxī saxōm
Dative campō campeis < campois saxō saxeis < saxois
Ablative campōd saxōd
Locative campei saxei

The stems of the nouns of the o-declension end in ŏ deriving from the o-grade of Indo-European ablaut.[23] Classical Latin evidences the development ŏ > ŭ. Nouns of this declension are either masculine or neuter.

Nominative singulars ending in -ros or -ris syncopate the ending:[24] *agros > *agrs > *agers > *agerr > ager. (The form terr "three times" for later ter < *tris appears in Plautus.)

Many alternative spellings occur:

  • As mentioned above, the sound change -ei > -ẹ̄ > -ī leads to numerous variations, including the reverse spelling ei for ī. This spelling eventually appears in the genitive singular as well, although is earliest and the true ending; cf. populi Romanei, "of the Roman people."[25], which both spellings in the same inscription.
  • Likewise, the sound change -os > -us and -ōm > -om > -um affect the nominative and accusative singular, and the genitive plural.
  • One very early text has genitive -osio (the Proto-Indo-European ending) rather than (an ending appearing only in Italo-Celtic).. This form also appears in the closely related Faliscan language.
  • In the genitive plural, -um (from Indo-European *-ōm) survived in classical Latin "words for coins and measures";[26] otherwise it was eventually replaced by -ōrum by analogy with 1st declension -ārum.
  • The nominative/vocative plural masculine -ei comes from the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) pronominal ending *-oi. The original ending -oi appears in a late spelling in the word poploe (i.e. "poploi" = populī "people") in Sextus Pompeius Festus.[27]
  • The dative/ablative/locative plural -eis comes from earlier -ois, a merger of PIE instrumental plural *-ōis and locative plural *-oisu. The form -ois appears in Sextus Pompeius Festus and a few early inscriptions.
  • The Praeneste Fibula has dative singular Numasioi, representing Proto-Indo-European *-ōi.
  • A number of "provincial texts" have nominative plural -eis (later -īs from 190 BC on[28]), with an added s, by some sort of analogy with other declensions. Sihler (1995)[27] notes that this form appears in literature only in pronouns and suggests that inscriptional examples added to nouns may be artificial (i.e. not reflecting actual pronunciation).
  • In the vocative singular, some nouns lose the -e (i.e. have a zero ending) but not necessarily the same as in classical Latin.[29] The -e alternates regularly with -us.[30]

Third declension (consonant/i)

The 'Consonant-Stem' and 'I-Stem' declension. This declension contains nouns that are masculine, feminine, and neuter. The stem ends in the root consonant, except in the special case where it ends in -i (i-stem declension). The i-stem, which is a vowel-stem, partially fused with the consonant-stem in the pre-Latin period and went further in Old Latin.[31] I/y and u/w can be treated either as consonants or as vowels; hence their classification as semi-vowels. Mixed-stem declensions are partly like consonant-stem and partly like i-stem. Consonant-stem declensions vary slightly depending on which consonant is root-final: stop-, r-, n-, s-, etc.[32] The paradigms below include a stop-stem (reg-) and an i-stem (igni-).

rēx, rēges
king m.
ignis -is
fire m.
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative rēx rēgeīs,
Accusative rēgem rēgeīs,
ignim igneīs,
Genitive rēges,
ignis igniom,
Dative rēgei,
Ablative rēgīd,
Locative rēgī rēgebos ignī ignibos

For the consonant declension, in the nominative singular, the -s was affixed directly to the stem consonant, but the combination of the two consonants produced modified nominatives over the Old Latin period. The case appears in different stages of modification in different words diachronically.[33] The Latin neuter form (not shown) is the Indo-European nominative without stem ending; for example, cor < *cord "heart."[34]

The genitive singular endings include -is < -es and -us < *-os.[35] In the genitive plural, some forms appear to affix the case ending to the genitive singular rather than the stem: regerum < *reg-is-um.[36]

In the dative singular, -ī succeeded -eī and -ē after 200 BC.

In the accusative singular, -em < *-ṃ after a consonant.[35]

In the ablative singular, the -d was lost after 200 BC.[37] In the dative and ablative plural, the early poets sometimes used -būs.[37]

In the locative singular, the earliest form is like the dative but over the period assimilated to the ablative.[38]

Fourth declension (u)

The 'U-Stem' declension. The stems of the nouns of the u-declension end in ŭ and are masculine, feminine and neuter. In addition there is a ū-stem declension, which contains only a few "isolated" words, such as sūs, "pig", and is not presented here.[39]

senātus, –uos
senate m.
Singular Plural
Nominative senātus senātūs
Accusative senātum
Genitive senātuos,
Dative senātuī senātubus,
Ablative senātūd,
Locative senāti

Fifth declension (e)

The 'e-stem' declension. Its morphology matches the Classical language very nearly.

rēs, reis
thing f.
Singular Plural
Nominative rēs,
Vocative rēs
Accusative rem
Genitive rēis,
Dative reī rēbos
Ablative rēd

Personal pronouns

Personal pronouns are among the most common thing found in Old Latin inscriptions. In all three persons, the ablative singular ending is identical to the accusative singular.

ego, I tu, you suī, himself, herself (etc.)
Nominative ego tu
Accusative mēd tēd sēd
Genitive mis tis sei
Dative mihei, mehei tibei sibei
Ablative mēd tēd sēd
Nominative nōs vōs
Accusative sēd
Genitive nostrōm,
-ōrum, -i
-ōrum, -i
Dative nōbeis, nis vōbeis sibei
Ablative sēd

Relative pronoun

In Old Latin, the relative pronoun is also another common concept, especially in inscriptions. The forms are quite inconsistent and leave much to be reconstructed by scholars.

queī, quaī, quod who, what
Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative queī quaī quod
Accusative quem quam
Genitive quoius, quoios, -a, -um/om
(according to gender of whatever is owned)
Dative quoī, queī, quoieī, queī
Ablative quī, quōd quād quōd
Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative ques, queis quaī qua
Accusative quōs quās
Genitive quōm, quōrom quōm, quārom quōm, quōrom
Dative queis, quīs


Old present and perfects

There is little evidence of the inflection of Old Latin verb forms and the few surviving inscriptions hold many inconsistencies between forms. Therefore, the forms below are ones that are both proved by scholars through Old Latin inscriptions, and recreated by scholars based on other early Indo-European languages such as Greek and Italic dialects such as Oscan and Umbrian.

Indicative Present: Sum Indicative Present: Facio
Old Classical Old Classical
Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
First Person (e)som somos, sumos sum sumus fac(e/ī)ō fac(e)imos faciō facimus
Second Person es esteīs es estis fac(e/ī)s fac(e/ī)teis facis facitis
Third Person est sont est sunt fac(e/ī)d/-(e/i)t fac(e/ī)ont facit faciunt
Indicative Perfect: Sum Indicative Perfect: Facio
Old Classical Old Classical
Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
First Person fuei fuemos fuī fuimus (fe)fecei (fe)fecemos fēcī fēcimus
Second Person fuistei fuisteīs fuistī fuistis (fe)fecistei (fe)fecisteis fēcistī fēcistis
Third Person fued/fuit fueront/-erom fuit fuērunt (fe)feced/-et (fe)feceront/-erom fēcit fēcērunt/-ēre

See also


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Old Latin". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ "Archaic Latin". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition.
  3. ^ Maras, Daniele F. (Winter 2012). "Scientists declare the Fibula Praenestina and its inscription to be genuine "beyond any reasonable doubt" (PDF). Etruscan News. 14. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 February 2012.
  4. ^ Maras, Daniele Federico. "Scientists declare the Fibula Prenestina and its inscription to be genuine 'beyond any reasonable doubt'". academia.edu. Archived from the original on 19 October 2017. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  5. ^ De Oratoribus, I.193.
  6. ^ Book IX.1.6.
  7. ^ Wordsworth 1874, p. v.
  8. ^ Histories III.22.
  9. ^ Bell, Andreas (1889). De Locativi in prisca latinitate vi et usu, dissertatio inauguralis philologica. Breslau: typis Grassi, Barthi et soc (W. Friedrich).
  10. ^ Bennett, 1910 & iii.
  11. ^ De Forest Allen (1897). p. 8. There were no such names as Caius, Cnaius Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ Allen (1897), p.6
  13. ^ Bennett, Charles Edwin (1915) [1895, 1908]. A Latin grammar. Boston, Chicago: Allyn and Bacon. p. 12.
  14. ^ Buck, Carl Darling (2005) [1904]. A Grammar Of Oscan And Umbrian: With A Collection Of Inscriptions And A Glossary. Languages of classical antiquity, vol. 5. Bristol, Pa.: Evolution Publishing. p. 204.
  15. ^ Buck (1933), pp. 174–175.
  16. ^ Wordsworth (1874), p.45.
  17. ^ a b Buck (1933), p. 177.
  18. ^ Buck (1933), pp. 175–176.
  19. ^ a b Wordsworth (1874), p. 48.
  20. ^ a b c d Buck (1933), p. 176.
  21. ^ Buck (1933), p. 172.
  22. ^ Palmer (1988), p. 242.
  23. ^ Buck (1933), p. 173.
  24. ^ Buck (1933), pp. 99–100.
  25. ^ Lindsay (1894), p. 383.
  26. ^ Buck (1933), p. 182.
  27. ^ a b Sihler (1995), A New Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin.
  28. ^ Wordsworth (1874), p.56.
  29. ^ Buck (1933), p.181.
  30. ^ Grandgent, Charles Hall (1908) [1907]. An introduction to vulgar Latin. Heath's modern language series. Boston: D.C. Heath & Co. p. 89.
  31. ^ Buck (1933), p. 197.
  32. ^ Buck (1933), pp. 185–193.
  33. ^ Wordsworth (1874), pp. 67–73.
  34. ^ Buck (1933), p. 185.
  35. ^ a b Bennett (1895), p. 117.
  36. ^ Roby (1872), p. 162.
  37. ^ a b Allen (1897), p. 9.
  38. ^ Gildersleeve (1900), p. 18.
  39. ^ Buck (1933), pp. 198–201.


Further reading

  • Goldberg, Sander M. 2007. "Antiquity’s antiquity." In Latinitas Perennis. Vol. 1, The continuity of Latin literature. Edited by Wim Verbaal, Yanick Maes, and Jan Papy, 17–29. Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History 144. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.
  • Lembke, Janet. 1973. Bronze and Iron: Old Latin Poetry From Its Beginnings to 100 B.C. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Mercado, Angelo. 2012. Italic Verse: A Study of the Poetic Remains of Old Latin, Faliscan, and Sabellic. Innsbruck: Institut für Sprachen und Literaturen der Universität Innsbruck.
  • Vine, Brent. 1993. Studies in Archaic Latin inscriptions. Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Sprachwissenschaft 75. Innsbruck, Austria: Institut für Sprachwissenschaft der Univ. Innsbruck.
  • Warmington, E. H. 1979. Remains of Old Latin. Rev. ed. 4 vols. Loeb Classical Library 294, 314, 329, 359. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.
  • Warner, R. 1980. "Word Order in Old Latin: Copulative Clauses." Orbis 29, no.1: 251-63.

External links

  • Gippert, Jost (1994–2001). "Old Latin Inscriptions" (in German and English). Titus Didactica. Retrieved 29 October 2009.
Appius Claudius Caecus

Appius Claudius Caecus ("the blind"; c. 340 BC – 273 BC) was a Roman politician from a wealthy patrician family. He was the son of Gaius Claudius Crassus. As censor he was responsible for the construction of Rome's first aqueduct and major road project.

Codex Claromontanus

Codex Claromontanus, symbolized by Dp or 06 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), δ 1026 (von Soden), is a Greek-Latin diglot uncial manuscript of the New Testament, written in an uncial hand on vellum. The Greek and Latin texts are on facing pages, thus it is a "diglot" manuscript, like Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis. The Latin text is designated by d (traditional system) or by 75 in Beuron system.

Codex Gigas

The Codex Gigas (English: Giant Book) is the largest extant medieval illuminated manuscript in the world, at a length of 92 cm (36 in). It is also known as the Devil's Bible because of a very unusual full-page portrait of the devil, and the legend surrounding its creation.

It was created in the early 13th century in the Benedictine monastery of Podlažice in Bohemia, which is a region in the modern-day Czech Republic. It contains the complete Vulgate Bible as well as other popular works, all written in Latin. Between the Old and New Testaments are a selection of other popular medieval reference works: Josephus's Antiquities of the Jews and De bello iudaico, Isidore of Seville's encyclopedia Etymologiae, the chronicle of Cosmas of Prague, and medical works; these are an early version of the Ars medicinae compilation of treatises, and two books by Constantine the African.Eventually finding its way to the imperial library of Rudolf II in Prague, the entire collection was taken as spoils of war by the Swedish in 1648 during the Thirty Years' War, and the manuscript is now preserved at the National Library of Sweden in Stockholm, where it is on display for the general public.Very large illuminated bibles were a typical feature of Romanesque monastic book production, but even within this group the page-size of the Codex Gigas is exceptional.

Codex Laudianus

Codex Laudianus, designated by Ea or 08 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), α 1001 (von Soden), called Laudianus after the former owner, Archbishop William Laud. It is a diglot Latin — Greek uncial manuscript of the New Testament, palaeographically assigned to the 6th century. The manuscript contains the Acts of the Apostles.


Quintus Ennius (; c. 239 – c. 169 BC) was a writer and poet who lived during the Roman Republic. He is often considered the father of Roman poetry. He was born in Rudiae, formerly a small town located near modern Lecce in the heel of Italy (ancient Calabria, today Salento), and could speak Oscan as well as Latin and Greek. Although only fragments of his works survive, his influence in Latin literature was significant, particularly in his use of Greek literary models.

History of Latin

Latin is a member of the broad family of Italic languages. Its alphabet, the Latin alphabet, emerged from the Old Italic alphabets, which in turn were derived from the Greek and Phoenician scripts. Historical Latin came from the prehistoric language of the Latium region, specifically around the River Tiber, where Roman civilization first developed. How and when Latin came to be spoken by the Romans are questions that have long been debated. Various influences on Latin of Celtic dialects in northern Italy, the non-Indo-European Etruscan language in Central Italy, and the Greek of southern Italy have been detected, but when these influences entered the native Latin is not known for certain.

Surviving Latin literature consists almost entirely of Classical Latin in its broadest definition. It includes a polished and sometimes highly stylized literary language sometimes termed Golden Latin, which spans the 1st century BC and the early years of the 1st century AD. However, throughout the history of ancient Rome the spoken language differed in both grammar and vocabulary from that of literature, and is referred to as Vulgar Latin. In addition to Latin, the Greek language was often spoken by the well-educated elite, who studied it in school and acquired Greek tutors from among the influx of enslaved educated Greek prisoners of war, captured during the Roman conquest of Greece. In the eastern half of the Roman Empire, which became the Byzantine Empire, the Greek Koine of Hellenism remained current and was never replaced by Latin. It continued to influence the Vulgar Latin that evolved into the Eastern Romance languages.


In the typology of ancient Greek pottery, the kernos (Greek κέρνος or κέρχνος, plural kernoi) is a pottery ring or stone tray to which are attached several small vessels for holding offerings. Its unusual design is described in literary sources, which also list the ritual ingredients it might contain. The kernos was used primarily in the cults of Demeter and Kore, and of Cybele and Attis.The form begins in the Neolithic in stone, in the earliest stages of the Minoan civilization, around 3,000 BC. They were produced in Minoan and Cycladic pottery, being the most elaborate shape in the latter, and right through ancient Greek pottery. The Duenos Inscription, one of the earliest known Old Latin texts, variously dated from the 7th to the 5th century BC, is inscribed round a kernos of three linked pots, of an Etruscan type.

The Greek term is sometimes applied to similar compound vessels from other cultures found in the Mediterranean, the Levant, Mesopotamia, and South Asia.


Latin (Latin: lingua latīna, IPA: [ˈlɪŋɡʷa laˈtiːna]) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.

Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the dominant language in Italy, and subsequently throughout the western Roman Empire. Vulgar Latin developed into the Romance languages, such as Italian, French, Portuguese, Romanian, and Spanish. Latin, Greek and French have contributed many words to the English language. In particular, Latin (and Ancient Greek) roots are used in English descriptions of theology, the sciences, medicine, and law.

By the late Roman Republic (75 BC), Old Latin had been standardised into Classical Latin. Vulgar Latin was the colloquial form spoken during the same time and attested in inscriptions and the works of comic playwrights like Plautus and Terence and author Petronius. Late Latin is the written language from the 3rd century and Medieval Latin was used from the 9th century to the Renaissance which used Renaissance Latin. Later, Early Modern Latin and New Latin evolved. Latin was used as the language of international communication, scholarship and science until well into the 18th century, when it began to be supplanted by vernaculars. Ecclesiastical Latin remains the official language of the Holy See and the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.

Latin is a highly inflected language, with three distinct genders, up to seven noun cases, five declensions, four verb conjugations, three tenses, three persons, three moods, two voices, two or three aspects and two numbers.

Latin alphabet

The Latin or Roman alphabet is the writing system originally used by the ancient Romans to write the Latin language.

Latin spelling and pronunciation

Latin spelling, or Latin orthography, is the spelling of Latin words written in the scripts of all historical phases of Latin from Old Latin to the present. All scripts use the same alphabet, but conventional spellings may vary from phase to phase. The Roman alphabet, or Latin alphabet, was adapted from the Old Italic script to represent the phonemes of the Latin language. The Old Italic script had in turn been borrowed from the Greek alphabet, itself adapted from the Phoenician alphabet. The Latin alphabet most resembles the Greek alphabet around 540 BC, as it appears on the black-figure pottery of the time.

Latin pronunciation continually evolved over the centuries, making it difficult for speakers in one era to know how Latin was spoken in prior eras. A given phoneme may be represented by different letters in different periods. This article deals primarily with modern scholarship's best reconstruction of Classical Latin's phonemes (phonology) and the pronunciation and spelling used by educated people in the late Republic. This article then touches upon later changes and other variants. Knowledge of how Latin was pronounced comes from Roman grammar books, common misspellings by Romans, transcriptions into other ancient languages, and from how pronunciation has evolved in derived Romance languages.


Latium (, also US: , Latin: [ˈla.ti.ũː]) is the region of central western Italy in which the city of Rome was founded and grew to be the capital city of the Roman Empire. Latium was originally a small triangle of fertile, volcanic soil on which resided the tribe of the Latins or Latians. It was located on the left bank (east and south) of the River Tiber, extending northward to the River Anio (a left-bank tributary of the Tiber) and southeastward to the Pomptina Palus (Pontine Marshes, now the Pontine Fields) as far south as the Circeian promontory. The right bank of the Tiber was occupied by the Etruscan city of Veii, and the other borders were occupied by Italic tribes. Subsequently, Rome defeated Veii and then its Italic neighbours, expanding Latium to the Apennine Mountains in the northeast and to the opposite end of the marsh in the southeast. The modern descendant, the Italian Regione of Lazio, also called Latium in Latin, and occasionally in modern English, is somewhat larger still, but not as much as double the original Latium.

The ancient language of the Latins, the tribespeople who occupied Latium, was to become the immediate predecessor of the Old Latin language, ancestor of Latin and the Romance languages. Latium has played an important role in history owing to its status as the host of the capital city of Rome, at one time the cultural and political centre of the Roman Empire. Consequently, Latium is home to celebrated works of art and architecture.

List of New Testament Latin manuscripts

Latin manuscripts of the New Testament are handwritten copies of translations from the Greek originals. Translations of the New Testament are called versions. They are important in textual criticism, because sometimes versions provide evidence (called a witness) to an earlier reading of the Greek, i.e. to the text that may have been lost (or preserved only very poorly) in the subsequent Greek tradition. It is also hypothesised that, in some cases, for example, in the case of the Codex Bezae, early Latin manuscripts may have influenced some early Greek manuscripts. Thus, accidentally or deliberately, some Latin readings may have "crossed back over" into the Greek. One possible example of this is the well known Comma Johanneum.

Latin manuscripts are divided into "Old Latin" and Vulgate. Old Latin manuscripts, also called Vetus Latina or Itala, are so called not because they are written in Old Latin (i.e. Latin prior to 75 BC), but because they are the oldest versions of the New Testament in Latin. From the linguistic point of view, Old Latin New Testament manuscripts may at times use non-standard grammar and vocabulary.

Unlike the Vulgate, the Vetus Latina tradition reflects numerous distinct, similar, and not entirely independent translations of various New Testament texts, extending back to the time of the original Greek autographs.In 382 AD Jerome began a revision of the existing Vetus Latina into contemporary Latin, corrected against manuscripts in the original Greek and Hebrew. Jerome's version is known as the Vulgate.

Livius Andronicus

Not to be confused with Livy, the Augustan-era historian whose Latin name is Livius.

Lucius Livius Andronicus (; c. 284 – c. 205 BC) was a Greco-Roman dramatist and epic poet of the Old Latin period. He began as an educator in the service of a noble family at Rome by translating Greek works into Latin, including Homer's Odyssey. They were meant at first as educational devices in the school he founded. He wrote works for the stage—both tragedies and comedies—which are regarded as the first dramatic works written in the Latin language of ancient Rome. His comedies were based on Greek New Comedy and featured characters in Greek costume. Thus, the Romans referred to this new genre by the term comoedia palliata (fabula palliata). The Roman biographer Suetonius later coined the term "half-Greek" of Livius and Ennius (referring to their genre, not their ethnic backgrounds). The genre was imitated by the next dramatists to follow in Andronicus' footsteps and on that account he is regarded as the father of Roman drama and of Latin literature in general; that is, he was the first man of letters to write in Latin. Varro, Cicero, and Horace, all men of letters during the subsequent Classical Latin period, considered Livius Andronicus to have been the originator of Latin literature. He is the earliest Roman poet whose name is known.

Synod of Hippo

The Synod of Hippo refers to the synod of 393 which was hosted in Hippo Regius in northern Africa during the early Christian Church. Additional synods were held in 394, 397, 401 and 426. Some were attended by Augustine of Hippo.

The synod of 393 is best known for two distinct acts. First, for the first time a council of bishops listed and approved a Christian Biblical canon that corresponds closely to the modern Catholic canon while falling short of the Orthodox canon. The canon list approved at Hippo included six books later classed by Catholics as deuterocanonical books and by Protestants as Apocrypha; but also included, as 'two books of Ezra', the Old Latin books First Ezra and Second Ezra, of which only the latter would subsequently be found in the Catholic canon. The canon list was later approved at the Council of Carthage (397) pending ratification by the "Church across the sea", that is, the See of Rome. Previous councils had approved similar, but slightly different, canons.

The council also reaffirmed the apostolic origin of the requirement of clerical continence and reasserted it as a requirement for all the ordained, in addition requiring that all members of a person's household must be Christian before that person can be ordained. Rules regarding clerical succession were also clarified at the Synod, as well as certain liturgical considerations.


Publius Terentius Afer (; c. 195/185 – c. 159? BC), better known in English as Terence (), was a Roman playwright during the Roman Republic, of Berber descent. His comedies were performed for the first time around 170–160 BC. Terentius Lucanus, a Roman senator, brought Terence to Rome as a slave, educated him and later on, impressed by his abilities, freed him. Terence apparently died young, probably in Greece or on his way back to Rome. All of the six plays Terence wrote have survived.

One famous quotation by Terence reads: "Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto", or "I am human, and I think nothing human is alien to me." This appeared in his play Heauton Timorumenos.

The Anthem (Pitbull song)

"The Anthem" is the second single released by Pitbull off his 2007 album The Boatlift. It features crunk rapper Lil Jon. The intro line, as well as the song's main hook, is taken from a 1970s old Latin hit "El Africano" by Sonora Dinamita. It samples the song "Calabria 2007" by Danish producer DJ Rune Reilly Kølsch, also known as Enur.

Valerius Antias

Valerius Antias (fl. 1st century BC) was an ancient Roman annalist whom Livy mentions as a source. No complete works of his survive but from the sixty-five fragments said to be his in the works of other authors it has been deduced that he wrote a chronicle of ancient Rome in at least seventy-five books. The latest dateable event in the fragments is mention of the heirs of the orator, Lucius Licinius Crassus, who died in 91 BC. Of the seventy references to Antias in classical (Greek and Latin) literature sixty-one mention him as an authority on Roman legendary history.

Vetus Latina

Vetus Latina ("Old Latin" in Latin), also known as Vetus Itala ("Old Italian"), Itala ("Italian")  and Old Italic, is the collective name given to the Latin translations of biblical texts (both Old Testament and New Testament) that existed before the Vulgate, the Latin translation produced by Jerome in the late 4th century. The Vetus Latina translations continued to be used alongside the Vulgate, but eventually the Vulgate became the standard Latin Bible used by the Catholic Church, especially after the Council of Trent (1545–1563) affirmed the Vulgate translation as authoritative for the text of Scripture. However, the Vetus Latina texts survive in some parts of the liturgy (eg., the Pater Noster).

As the English translation of Vetus Latina is "Old Latin", they are also sometimes referred to as the Old Latin Bible, although they are written in the form of Latin known as Late Latin, not that known as Old Latin. The Vetus Latina manuscripts that are preserved today are dated from AD 350 to the 13th century.


The Vulgate () is a late-4th-century Latin translation of the Bible that was to become the Catholic Church's officially promulgated Latin version of the Bible during the 16th century. The translation was largely the work of Jerome, who in 382 had been commissioned by Pope Damasus I to revise the Vetus Latina ("Old Latin") Gospels then in use by the Roman Church. Jerome, on his own initiative, extended this work of revision and translation to include most of the books of the Bible; and once published, the new version became widely adopted; and over succeeding centuries eventually eclipsed the Vetus Latina, so that by the 13th century it had taken over from the former version the appellation of versio vulgata (the "version commonly used") or vulgata for short, and in Greek as βουλγάτα ("Voulgata").

The Catholic Church affirmed the Vulgate as its official Latin Bible at the Council of Trent (1545–1563), though there was no authoritative edition at that time and the printed versions then in circulation differed very extensively from the text found in its earliest witnesses. Nevertheless these late printed editions formed the basis for the Clementine edition of the Vulgate of 1592 which became the standard Bible text of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church; and remained so until 1979 when the Nova Vulgata was promulgated.

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