By Tore Janson
No identified language, together with English, has accomplished the good fortune 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 usual background or Latin tells its heritage from its origins over 2500 years in the past to the current. Brilliantly conceived, popularizing yet authoritative, and written with the fluency and light-weight contact that experience made Tore Janson's converse so appealing to tens of hundreds of thousands of readers, it's a masterpiece of adroit synthesis. The booklet commences with an outline of the origins, emergence, and dominance of Latin over the Classical interval. Then follows an account of its survival in the course of the heart a long time into glossy instances, with emphasis on its evolution through the background, tradition, and non secular practices of Medieval Europe. by way of really apt citation of Latin phrases, words, and texts the writer illustrates how the written and spoken language replaced, sector through area over the years; the way it met resistance from local languages; and the way consequently a few whole languages disappeared. Janson deals a bright demonstration of the price of Latin as a method of entry to a colourful previous and a persuasive argument for its persisted worthy. A concise and easy-to-understand creation to Latin grammar and a listing of the main common Latin phrases, together with 500 idioms and words nonetheless in universal use, supplement the paintings.
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Extra info for A Natural History of Latin
This was actually historically accurate in the sense that the Romans did make speeches to the Senate and to the troops before a pitched battle, or to the people at times of crisis. Of course, the historian could not know exactly what had been said, but it was part of his task to try to render the important speeches as he imagined they might have been delivered. This is the same technique as is employed by the scriptwriters for historical documentaries on television. History books could often be used as tools in the training of future orators.
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.
A number of poets wrote mainly about love, and the best of them have hardly been surpassed to this day. Catullus was one of the ﬁrst. His love for a woman called Lesbia gave rise to a number of passionate poems. Here is one: Dicebas quondam solum te nosse Catullum, Lesbia, nec prae me velle tenere Iovem. Dilexi tum te non tantum ut vulgus amicam sed pater ut gnatos diligit et generos. Nunc te cognovi. Quare etsi impensius uror, multo mi tamen es vilior et levior. ’ inquis. Quod amantem iniuria talis cogit amare magis sed bene velle minus.
A Natural History of Latin by Tore Janson