Renaissance Latin

Renaissance Latin is a name given to the distinctive form of Latin style developed during the European Renaissance of the fourteenth to fifteenth centuries, particularly by the Renaissance humanism movement.

Renaissance Latin
Mural of Dante in the Uffizi Gallery, by Andrea del Castagno, c. 1450.
Native toNo native speakers, used by the administrations and universities of numerous countries
EraEvolved from Medieval Latin in the 14th century; developed into New Latin by the 16th century
Latin alphabet 
Official status
Official language in
Most Roman Catholic countries
Regulated byThe community of scholars at the earliest universities
Language codes
ISO 639-3

Ad fontes

Ad fontes ("to the sources") was the general cry of the humanists, and as such their Latin style sought to purge Latin of the medieval Latin vocabulary and stylistic accretions that it had acquired in the centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire. They looked to golden age Latin literature, and especially to Cicero in prose and Virgil in poetry, as the arbiters of Latin style. They abandoned the use of the sequence and other accentual forms of metre, and sought instead to revive the Greek formats that were used in Latin poetry during the Roman period. The humanists condemned the large body of medieval Latin literature as "Gothic"—for them, a term of abuse—and believed instead that only ancient Latin from the Roman period was "real Latin".

Some 16th-century Ciceronian humanists also sought to purge written Latin of medieval developments in its orthography. They insisted, for example, that ae be written out in full wherever it occurred in classical Latin; medieval scribes often wrote e instead of ae. They were much more zealous than medieval Latin writers that t and c be distinguished; because the effects of palatalization made them homophones, medieval scribes often wrote, for example, eciam for etiam. Their reforms even affected handwriting; Humanists usually wrote Latin in a humanist minuscule script derived from Carolingian minuscule, the ultimate ancestor of most contemporary lower-case typefaces, avoiding the black-letter scripts used in the Middle Ages. This sort of writing was particularly vigilant in edited works, so that international colleagues could read them more easily, while in their own handwritten documents the Latin is usually written as it is pronounced in the vernacular. Therefore, the first generations of humanists did not dedicate much care to the orthography till the late sixteenth and seventeenth century. Erasmus proposed that the then-traditional pronunciations of Latin be abolished in favour of his reconstructed version of classical Latin pronunciation, even though one can deduce from his works that he himself used the ecclesiastical pronunciation.

The humanist plan to remake Latin was largely successful, at least in education. Schools taught the humanistic spellings, and encouraged the study of the texts selected by the humanists, to the large exclusion of later Latin literature. On the other hand, while humanist Latin was an elegant literary language, it became much harder to write books about law, medicine, science or contemporary politics in Latin while observing all of the Humanists' norms about vocabulary purging and classical usage.

Renaissance Latin gradually developed into the New Latin of the 16th–19th centuries, used as the language of choice for authors discussing subjects considered sufficiently important to merit an international (i.e., pan-European) audience.

Renaissance Latin works and authors

14th century

15th century

Incunabula distribution by language
Incunables by language.[1] Latin dominated printed book production in the 15th century by a wide margin.


  1. ^ "Incunabula Short Title Catalogue". British Library. Retrieved 2 March 2011.

Further reading

  • Cranz, F. Edward, Virginia Brown, and Paul Oslar Kristeller, eds. 1960–2003. Catalogus translationum et commentariorum: Medieval and Renaissance Latin Translations and Commentaries; Annotated Lists and Guides. 8 vols. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press.
  • D’Amico, John F. 1984. “The Progress of Renaissance Latin Prose: The Case of Apuleianism.” Renaissance Quarterly 37: 351–92.
  • Deitz, Luc. 2005. "The Tools of the Trade: A Few Remarks on Editing Renaissance Latin Texts." Humanistica Lovaniensia 54: 345-58.
  • Hardie, Philip. 2013. “Shepherds’ Songs: Generic Variation in Renaissance Latin Epic.” In Generic Interfaces in Latin Literature: Encounters, Interactions and Transformations. Edited by Theodore D. Paphanghelis, Stephen J. Harrison, and Stavros Frangoulidis, 193–204. Berlin: De Gruyter.
  • Houghton, L. B. T. 2013. “Renaissance Latin Love Elegy.” In The Cambridge Companion to Latin Love Elegy. Edited by Thea S. Thorsen, 290–305. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • Lohr, C. H. 1974. “Renaissance Latin Aristotle Commentaries: Authors A–B.” Studies in the Renaissance 21: 228–89.
  • McFarlane, I. D., ed. and trans. 1980. Renaissance Latin Poetry. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press.
  • Parker, Holt. 2012. “Renaissance Latin Elegy.” In A Companion to Roman Love Elegy. Edited by Barbara K. Gold, 476–90. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Perosa, Alessandro, and John Sparrow, eds. 1979. Renaissance Latin Verse: An Anthology. London: Duckworth.

External links

1535 in poetry

Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry or literature (for instance, Irish or France).

Bartolomeo Platina

Bartolomeo Sacchi (Italian: [ˌbartɔlɔˈmɛɔ ˈsakki]; 1421 – 21 September 1481), known as Platina (in Italian il Platina [il ˈplatina]) after his birthplace (Piadena), and commonly referred to in English as Bartolomeo Platina, was an Italian Renaissance humanist writer and gastronomist.

Platina started his career as a soldier employed by condottieri, before gaining long-term patronage from the Gonzagas, including the young cardinal Francesco, for whom he wrote a family history. He studied under the Byzantine humanist philosopher John Argyropulos in Florence, where he frequented other fellow humanists, as well as members of the ruling Medici family.

Around 1462 he moved with Francesco Gonzaga to Rome, where he purchased a post as a papal writer under the humanist Pius II (Enea Silvio Piccolomini) and became a member of the Platonism-influenced Roman Academy founded by Julius Pomponius Laetus. Close acquaintance with the renowned chef Maestro Martino in Rome seems to have provided inspiration for a theoretical treatise on Italian gastronomy entitled De honesta voluptate et valetudine ("On honourable pleasure and health"), which achieved considerable popularity and has the distinction of being considered the first printed cookbook.Platina's papal employment was abruptly curtailed on the arrival of an anti-humanist pope, Paul II (Pietro Barbo), who had the rebellious Platina locked up in Castel Sant'Angelo during the winter of 1464-65 as a punishment for his remonstrations. In 1468 he was again confined in Castel Sant'Angelo for a further year, where he was interrogated under torture, following accusations of an alleged conspiracy by members of Pomponio's Roman Academy involving plans to assassinate the pope.Platina's fortunes were revived by the return to power of the strongly pro-humanist pope, Sixtus IV (Francesco della Rovere), who in 1475 made him Vatican librarian—an appointment which was depicted in a famous fresco by Melozzo da Forlì. He was granted the post after writing an innovative and influential history of the lives of the popes that gives ample space to Roman history and the themes of Antiquity, and concludes by vilifying Platina's nemesis, Paul II.

Botanical Latin

Botanical Latin is a technical language based on New Latin, used for descriptions of botanical taxa. Until 2012, International Code of Botanical Nomenclature mandated Botanical Latin to be used for the descriptions of most new taxa. It is still the only language other than English accepted for descriptions. The names of organisms governed by the Code also have forms based on Latin.Botanical Latin is primarily a written language. It includes taxon names derived from any language or even arbitrarily derived, and consequently there is no single consistent pronunciation system. When speakers of different languages use Botanical Latin in speech, they use pronunciations influenced by their own languages, or, notably in French, there may be variant spellings based on the Latin. There are at least two pronunciation systems used for Latin by English speakers. All of these systems, however, will inevitably be unsustainable across the spectrum of botanical names.

Commentaries on Aristotle

Commentaries on Aristotle refers to the great mass of literature produced, especially in the ancient and medieval world, to explain and clarify the works of Aristotle. The pupils of Aristotle were the first to comment on his writings, a tradition which was continued by the Peripatetic school throughout the Hellenistic period and the Roman era. The Neoplatonists of the late Roman empire wrote many commentaries on Aristotle, attempting to incorporate him into their philosophy. Although Ancient Greek commentaries are considered the most useful, commentaries continued to be written by the Christian scholars of the Byzantine Empire and by the many Islamic philosophers and Western scholastics who had inherited his texts.

De figuris Veneris

De figuris Veneris (On the figures of Venus) is an anthology of ancient Greek and ancient Roman writings on erotic topics, discussed objectively and classified and grouped by subject matter. It was first published by the German classicist Friedrich Karl Forberg in 1824 in Latin and Greek as a commentary to Antonio Beccadelli's (1394-1471) Hermaphroditus (commonly referred to as Antonii Panormitae Hermaphroditus), an erotic poem sequence of 1425 in renaissance Latin, though it was later also published as a separate work.

Forberg's work was later also translated into English in 1899 and published by Charles Carrington as De figuris Veneris, Manual of classical erotology, and again in 1907 by Charles Hirsch, and into French, German and Spanish. The French edition by Alcide Bonneau was titled Manuel d’érotologie classique. One French edition of 1906 was illustrated by Édouard-Henri Avril, which concludes with a list of 95 sexual positions. Most of the editions were restricted to high society or censored; one of the copies edited in France was immediately deposited on the secret shelves of the Bibliothèque nationale de France. The Spanish translation was titled Manual de erótica clásica.

February 9

February 9 is the 40th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. 325 days remain until the end of the year (326 in leap years).


A gnome is a diminutive spirit in Renaissance magic and alchemy, first introduced by Paracelsus in the 16th century and later adopted by more recent authors including those of modern fantasy literature. Its characteristics have been reinterpreted to suit the needs of various story tellers, but it is typically said to be a small humanoid that lives underground.

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.

Kalmar Union

The Kalmar Union (Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish: Kalmarunionen; Latin: Unio Calmariensis) was a personal union that from 1397 to 1523 joined under a single monarch the three kingdoms of Denmark, Sweden (then including most of Finland's populated areas), and Norway, together with Norway's overseas dependencies (then including Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, and the Northern Isles). The union was not quite continuous; there were several short interruptions. Legally, the countries remained separate sovereign states, but with their domestic and foreign policies being directed by a common monarch.

One main impetus for its formation was to block German expansion northward into the Baltic region. The main reason for its failure to survive was the perpetual struggle between the monarch, who wanted a strong unified state, and the Swedish and Danish nobility, which did not. Diverging interests (especially the Swedish nobility's dissatisfaction with the dominant role played by Denmark and Holstein) gave rise to a conflict that would hamper the union in several intervals from the 1430s until its definitive breakup in 1523, when Gustav Vasa was elected as king of Sweden.Norway continued to remain a part of the realm of Denmark–Norway under the Oldenburg dynasty for nearly three centuries, until its dissolution in 1814. The ensuing loose union between Sweden and Norway lasted until 1905, when a grandson of the incumbent king of Denmark was elected as king of Norway; his direct descendants still reign in Norway.

Kingdom of Portugal

The Kingdom of Portugal (Latin: Regnum Portugalliae, Portuguese: Reino de Portugal) was a monarchy on the Iberian Peninsula and the predecessor of modern Portugal. It was in existence from 1139 until 1910. After 1415, it was also known as the Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves, and between 1815 and 1822, it was known as the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves. The name is also often applied to the Portuguese Empire, the realm's extensive overseas colonies.

The nucleus of the Portuguese state was the County of Portugal, established in the 9th century as part of the Reconquista, by Vímara Peres, a vassal of the King of Asturias. The county became part of the Kingdom of León in 1097, and the Counts of Portugal established themselves as rulers of an independent kingdom in the 12th century, following the battle of São Mamede. The kingdom was ruled by the Alfonsine Dynasty until the 1383–85 Crisis, after which the monarchy passed to the House of Aviz.

During the 15th and 16th century, Portuguese exploration established a vast colonial empire. From 1580 to 1640, the Kingdom of Portugal was in personal union with Habsburg Spain.

After the Portuguese Restoration War of 1640–1668, the kingdom passed to the House of Braganza and thereafter to the House of Braganza-Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. From this time, the influence of Portugal declined, but it remained a major power due to its most valuable colony, Brazil. After the independence of Brazil, Portugal sought to establish itself in Africa, but was ultimately forced to yield to the British interests, leading to the collapse of the monarchy in the 5 October 1910 revolution and the establishment of the First Portuguese Republic.

Portugal was an absolute monarchy before 1822. It rotated between absolute and constitutional monarchy from 1822 until 1834, and was a constitutional monarchy after 1834.


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 literature

Latin literature includes the essays, histories, poems, plays, and other writings written in the Latin language. The beginning of Latin literature dates to 240 BC, when the first stage play was performed in Rome. Latin literature would flourish for the next six centuries. The classical era of Latin literature can be roughly divided into the following periods: Early Latin literature, The Golden Age, The Imperial Period and Late Antiquity.

Latin was the language of the ancient Romans, but it was also the lingua franca of Western Europe throughout the Middle Ages, so Latin literature includes not only Roman authors like Cicero, Vergil, Ovid and Horace, but also includes European writers after the fall of the Empire, from religious writers like Aquinas (1225–1274), to secular writers like Francis Bacon (1561–1626), Baruch Spinoza (1632–1677), and Isaac Newton (1642–1727).


Latinity may refer to:

Classical Latinity, linguistic and literary corpus of the Classical Latin language

Archaic Latinity, linguistic and literary corpus of the Archaic Latin language

Late Latinity, linguistic and literary corpus of the Late Latin language

Vulgar Latinity, linguistic and literary corpus of the Vulgar Latin language

Medieval Latinity, linguistic and literary corpus of the Medieval Latin language

Renaissance Latinity, linguistic and literary corpus of the Renaissance Latin language

Neo-Latinity, linguistic and literary corpus of the Neo-Latin language

Contemporary Latinity, linguistic and literary corpus of the Contemporary Latin language

Idiomatic Latinity, or Latinism, a corpus of words or idioms that are derived from the Latin language

New Latin

New Latin (also called Neo-Latin or Modern Latin)

was a revival in the use of Latin in original, scholarly, and scientific works between c. 1375 and c. 1900. Modern scholarly and technical nomenclature, such as in zoological and botanical taxonomy and international scientific vocabulary, draws extensively from New Latin vocabulary. In such use, New Latin is subject to new word formation. As a language for full expression in prose or poetry, however, it is often distinguished from its successor, Contemporary Latin.


The Oder (; Czech, Lower Sorbian and Polish: Odra, German: Oder, Upper Sorbian: Wódra) is a river in Central Europe and Poland's third-longest river after the Vistula and Warta. It rises in the Czech Republic and flows 742 kilometres (461 mi) through western Poland, later forming 187 kilometres (116 mi) of the border between Poland and Germany as part of the Oder–Neisse line. The river ultimately flows into the Szczecin Lagoon north of Szczecin and then into three branches (the Dziwna, Świna and Peene) that empty into the Bay of Pomerania of the Baltic Sea.

Pope Paul II

Pope Paul II (Latin: Paulus II; 23 February 1417 – 26 July 1471), born Pietro Barbo, was Pope from 30 August 1464 to his death in 1471. When his maternal uncle, Gabriele Condulmer, became Pope Eugenius IV, Pietro switched from training to be a merchant to religious studies. His rise in the Church was relatively rapid. Elected pope in 1464, he amassing a great collection of art and antiquities.

The I Tatti Renaissance Library

The I Tatti Renaissance Library is a book series published by the Harvard University Press, which aims to present important works of Italian Renaissance Latin Literature to a modern audience by printing the original Latin text on each left-hand leaf (verso), and an English translation on the facing page (recto). The idea was initially conceived by Walter Kaiser, former professor of English and Comparative Literature at Harvard and director of the Villa I Tatti. Its goal is to be the Italian Renaissance version of the Loeb Classical Library. James Hankins, Professor of History at Harvard University, is the General Editor.

Many of the books in the series have never been translated into English before, and the series promises to increase the understanding of the Renaissance among the general public and non-specialist historians by making primary sources accessible, thus giving a window into the minds of Renaissance thinkers themselves.

The books of The I Tatti Renaissance Library have a consistent appearance: a pale blue cover, analogous to the red (Latin) or green (Greek) books in the Loeb Classical Library. They are, however, closer

in size to a standard hardcover book than to the pocket-sized books of the Loeb series. A typeface named "ITRL", based on the work of Renaissance typographer Nicolas Jenson, was specially designed for the series. The books are notable for their overall readability. Anthony Grafton said of the Latin texts: "though not full, critical editions, [they] are correct, well punctuated and readable. The English translations have an unusual clarity, elegance and precision" (see article under External links).

The series is named after the Villa I Tatti, which houses the Center for Italian Renaissance Studies of Harvard University.

William Mew

William Mew (Mewe) (1602 – 1669?) was an English clergyman, a member of the Westminster Assembly. He is known also for a drama, Pseudomagia, and for the contribution to beekeeping of the design for a transparent hive.

Ages of Latin

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