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
1 Ad fontes
Latin works and authors
2.1 14th century
2.2 15th century
4 Further reading
5 External links
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
Latin literature, and especially to
Cicero in prose and
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
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
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
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
Latin literature. On the other hand, while humanist
an elegant literary language, it became much harder to write books
about law, medicine, science or contemporary politics in
observing all of the Humanists' norms about vocabulary purging and
classical usage.
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.
Latin works and authors
For 14th-century works and authors that are still medieval in outlook
(practically all non-Italians), see Medieval Latin.
1359. Epistolæ familiares by
Genealogia deorum gentilium
Genealogia deorum gentilium by
Giovanni Boccaccio (1313–1375)
Incunables by language.
Latin dominated printed book production in
the 15th century by a wide margin.
1425. Hermaphroditus by Antonio Beccadelli (1394–1471)
1441. De elegantiis Latinæ linguæ by
Lorenzo Valla (1406–1457)
1442. Historia Florentini populi by
Leonardo Bruni (c. 1370–1444)
1444. Historia de duobus amantibus by Æneas Sylvius Piccolomini, Pope
Pius II (1405–1464)
1452. De re ædificatoria by
Leone Battista Alberti
Leone Battista Alberti (1404–1472)
1471. Contra amores by
Bartolomeo Platina (1421–1481)
1479. De inventione dialectica by
Rodolphus Agricola (1444–1485)
1481. Introductiones Latinæ by
Antonio de Nebrija
Antonio de Nebrija (1441–1522)
1486. De hominis dignitate by Giovanni Pico della Mirandola
1491. Nutricia by
Theologia Platonica de immortalitate animæ by Marsilio Ficino
Francesco Filelfo (1398–1481)
^ "Incunabula Short Title Catalogue". British Library. Retrieved 2
Library resources about
Resources in your library
Resources in other libraries
Cranz, F. Edward, Virginia Brown, and Paul Oslar Kristeller, eds.
1960–2003. Catalogus translationum et commentariorum: Medieval and
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
The Case of Apuleianism.”
Renaissance Quarterly 37: 351–92.
Deitz, Luc. 2005. "The Tools of the Trade: A Few Remarks on Editing
Latin Texts." Humanistica Lovaniensia 54: 345-58.
Hardie, Philip. 2013. “Shepherds’ Songs: Generic Variation in
Latin Epic.” In Generic Interfaces in
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. “
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. “
Latin Aristotle Commentaries: Authors
A–B.” Studies in the
Renaissance 21: 228–89.
McFarlane, I. D., ed. and trans. 1980.
Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press.
Parker, Holt. 2012. “
Latin Elegy.” In A Companion to
Roman Love Elegy. Edited by Barbara K. Gold, 476–90. Malden, MA:
Perosa, Alessandro, and John Sparrow, eds. 1979.
Verse: An Anthology. London: Duckworth.
An Analytic Bibliography of On-line Neo-
Latin Titles (also Renaissance
Latin Humanist Texts at DigitalBookIndex.
René Hoven, Lexique de la prose latine de la Renaissance. Dictionary
Latin from prose sources, with the collaboration of
Laurent Grailet, Leiden, Brill, 2006 (2nd edition), 683 p.
The Centre for Neo-
Latin Studies, focusing on Irish
Ages of Latin
until 75 BC
75 BC – 200 AD
History of Latin
Latino sine flexione
Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum