Posted 07 September 2009 - 04:24 AM
Here is the history of Latin.
Latin (Lingua Latina) is a language of the Indo-European family that appeared in Italy in the mid 2nd millenium BC. Formerly it was argued that together with the other Indo-European languages of ancient Italy (Faliscan, Osco-Umbrian and Venetic) Latin forms a separate Italic linguistic group, but now this view is not held anymore, though considerable mutual influences are not excluded.
The later colloquial form of Latin (the so called Proto-Romance or Vulgar Latin) became ancestral to the modern Romance languages.
The long history of Latin may be divided into 9 periods:
1. Pre-literary period (till 240 BC). In this period Latin was spoken by small groups of people living along the lower Tiber River. The Etruscan variant of the Western Greek alphabet was adopted in the 7th century BC. The language is known from some inscriptions.
2. Old period (240-100 BC). With the increase of Roman political power Latin language spread throughout Italy.
3. Authors: the comedian writers Plautus and Terentius. Classical period (100-14 BC). Roman power encompassed all the Mediterranean bassin. The language became standardized in grammar and vocabulary. Sometimes it is called the Golden Latin. During this period there were at least three types of Latin in use:
1. Classical written Latin,
2. Classical oratorical Latin,
3. and the ordinary colloquial Latin used by the average speaker of the language.
4. Authors: the prosaic writers Caesar, Cicero and Sallustius, the poets Catullus, Vergil, Horatius and Ovidius.
Postclassical period (14 BC - 200 AD). In this period the ordinary colloquial Latin became the predominant language in most of western and southern Europe and the central and western Mediterranean coastal regions of Africa. The written language, sometimes called the Silver Latin, admits some syntactical deviations as compared with the severe rules of Classical Latin.
5. Authors: Tacitus. Late period (200-600 AD). Spoken Latin continued to change, and it diverged more and more from the Classical norms in grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary, becoming finally a different language, technically known as Proto-Romance or Vulgar Latin. It gradually evolved into the modern Romance languages and dialects. The written language, for its part, remained much more conservative in trying to preserve and sustain the Classical grammar and vocabulary. Thus it gradually became a practically dead language.
6. Authors: St. Jerome and St. Augustine wrote good literary Late Latin. Medieval period (600-1300). Latin was used as an official written language in all West-European countries. Its vocabulary absorbed a lot of words from the local languages in order to meet the changed intellectual and social conditions.
7. Authors: medieval chroniclers and theologians as the Venerable Bede, Alcuin, Saxo Grammaticus, John of Salisbury, St. Thomas Aquinas, Pierre de Abellard etc. etc. Renaissance period (1300-1600). The humanists tried to revive the grammar and the vocabulary of the Classical Latin language.
8. Authors: Thomas More, Erasmus of Rotterdam, Giordano Bruno, Tomaso Campanella, Nicolaus Copernicus, some works of Dante Alighieri, Petrarca, Boccaccio. New period (1600-1900). In this period Latin was gradually replaced in literature and administration by the modern national languages. It was used as an international diplomatic language till the 18th century and as a teaching language in the European universities till the late 19th century. A lot of scientists and philosophers continued publishing their works in Latn.
9. Authors: Hugo Grotius, Benedict de Spinoza, Francis Bacon, René Descartes, Pierre Gassendi, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Isac Newton, Carolus Linnaeus, Mikhail Lomonosov, Immanuel Kant, Leonard Euler etc. Contemporary period (since 1900). Latin remained the official language of the Catholic church, though it was replaced in liturgy by the modern spoken languages. Together with Greek, it is the main source for creating scientific terms.
Deus, qui ad salutem humani generis maxima quæque sacramenta in aquarum substantia condidisti
"Life is to short to be mad"