This chapter focuses on Latin’s role in the China mission of the Jesuits from the seventeenth until the late eighteenth century. First, the chapter will discuss Latin as taught to the Chinese. Second, Latin’s status as a meta-language in the linguistic description of Chinese and Manchu for Europeans will be examined, particularly as conceived by Martini, Verbiest, de Prémare, Fourmont, and others. The chapter will then look at how Latin was used as the main medium for describing China for the members of the European Republic of Letters, in letters, geographical monographs, ancient and contemporary historiography, religious, philosophical, and literary works. Latin books acquired in Europe that accumulated in several libraries in China will be considered, as well as how Latin was also a key instrument of international diplomacy.
This chapter outlines the impact of humanism on biblical studies between the late fourteenth and mid-seventeenth centuries. It traces the growing humanistic expertise in textual criticism and philology, how that informed approaches to the Hebrew and Greek texts of the Old and New Testaments, and the nature of the resulting criticism of the Latin Vulgate as an authoritative translation and source of doctrine. Valla’s pioneering work on the New Testament, and his prioritizing of Greek manuscripts, led to Erasmus’s more nuanced understanding of the Greek and Latin traditions in the context of growing scholastic opposition to the theological encroachments of humanists. Hebraists are likewise shown to have contributed to the humanist-scholastic debate that mutated under the forces of the Reformation, even as deeper historicist and orientalist approaches to the texts emerged.
This chapter identifies cultural and generic trends and authorial methodologies in neo-Latin literature in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland; and ways that Latin served as a bridge between four British regions, between neo-Latin writers in Britain and their Continental predecessors and peers, and between Latin and the respective vernacular(s). It also examines vertical spaces (both chronological and cultural) between the neo-Latin and the classical Latin text, and between the linear demarcations of “early modern,” “Augustan,” and “Romantic.” An assessment of links between nationhood and the neo-Latin text is followed by examples of generic continuity and metamorphosis in the British neo-Latin pastoral, ode, and epigram. The concluding sections offer two case-studies that, it is argued, engendered the birth of specifically British versions of the mock-heroic and mock-didactic.
This chapter surveys Latin writings on religious themes produced from ca. 1520 onward by Roman Catholic authors. The corpus under consideration ranges from scholarly and devotional writings in which the articulation of confessional identity is of secondary importance to those works whose principal objective was to demarcate the boundaries of orthodoxy. The chapter begins with the unique sacerdotal status of Latin within Catholicism, then surveys the variety of Catholic writings—confessional debate, historical scholarship, and devotional literature—before concluding with some observations upon the ways the varied character of this corpus found expression in the Latinity of its authors. Particular attention is drawn to important individuals and debates, most notably Robert Bellarmine and Caesar Baronius; the revival of hagiography; the efflorescence of Latin devotional literature; the importance of Jesuit schooling; and the stylistic problems posed by intra-confessional polemic and the contrasting religious character of different religious orders.
The Chinese script is one of the major writing systems of the world and has over three thousand years of recorded history. Native accounts of its origin have been extremely influential and remain part of the general discourse, even though newly discovered archaeological materials in many cases challenge the traditional view. The earliest known examples of Chinese characters survive on oracle bones, and these are essentially ancestral to all modern forms of written Chinese, even though the script went through great changes during the following millennia. One of the most important such changes was the Qin-Han transition from the scripts of the Warring States period to that of the dynastic era. In the medieval period, the Chinese script was adopted for other languages in East and Central Asia, and in some cases was modified to create new Sinoform scripts (e.g., Khitan, Jurchen, and Tangut).
The history of the Latin language is one of continual deviations from, or attempts at (re)adjustment to, a morphological and syntactical norm we call Classical Latin (CL). This chapter examines briefly the relationship between CL and Vulgar Latin (VL), the question of the linguistic status of Romance, the emergence and nature of Medieval Latin (ML) and the movement, known as humanism, which sought from the fifteenth century onwards to re-establish the language on a basis more clearly imitative of ancient Latin, and led to the classicizing norm we call Neo-Latin. In the case of each of the stages of development (or attempted normalization), the chapter seeks to provide a brief overview of changes to the language, with examples to illustrate them, and to give reasons for the developments discussed.
This chapter provides an account of the contexts in which Latin was used in early modern Ibero-America, surveying its role in controversies about the status of the native populations and in evangelization, as well as in colonial education, literary production, rhetoric, and philosophy. Two situations in which select groups wrote in Latin in order to affirm their identity and protect their interests are examined in detail: the language served some acculturated members of the indigenous nobilities in central Mexico in petitions they made to the Spanish crown during the mid-1500s; and during the later eighteenth century, creole Jesuits produced a rich corpus of Latin literature to draw attention to their distinctive heritage as Spanish Americans in response to a succession of polemics about the New World and its inhabitants from Enlightenment philosophers, scientists, and historians in Europe.
This chapter gives a survey of Latin comedy from ca. 1400 to 1750. It starts with a pragmatic definition of “comedy” and the corpus of texts. Individual sections are then dedicated to: the prehistory of Neo-Latin comedy in the Middle Ages up to Petrarch’s lost Philologia; Italian humanist comedy; the transformation of humanist comedy into vernacular commedia erudita and the Latin retransformation of commedia erudita; adaptations of Italian humanist comedy north of the Alps between classicism and non-classical forms; education and religion as the driving forces behind Neo-Latin comedy; its plurality of forms and subjects; and finally, Jesuit comedy, its particular challenges for research, and its development through the ages up to the suppression of the Society of Jesus in 1773. A concluding section argues for the hybridity and innovativeness of Neo-Latin comedy against the comparatively more uniform background of both Neo-Latin tragedy and classical Roman comedy.
Dag Nikolaus Hasse
This chapter assesses the presentation of the Arab world in Neo-Latin texts, and the engagement of Renaissance Latin scholars with that world. The first section of the article discusses Latin biographies of Arabic scholars, as part of the world chronicle and De viris illustribus tradition. Then follows a survey of the Arabic–(Hebrew)–Latin translations in the Renaissance, which develop in the intellectual climate of Padua University and of the Venetian embassy in Damascus. Third, prominent examples of the Arabic influence on Renaissance medical, philosophical, and astrological writings are discussed. The remaining three sections cover Neo-Latin grammars and vocabularies of oriental languages, travel reports about the Arab world, and the Renaissance knowledge and concept of Islam. It will emerge that the various forms of contact between the Europe and the Arab world had reverberations in many parts of Renaissance Latin culture.
Any student of Neo-Latin in East-Central Europe should see a striking absence of clear-cut divisions. The region was characterized by ever-shifting frontiers, shared histories, common ruling dynasties, and political alliances. However, while ethnic and vernacular variety defined the context, Latin did the opposite, as it remained an official and scholarly language until well into the nineteenth century. Through its often unexpected trends and trail-blazing figures, Neo-Latinity in this part of the world had a profound impact on European civilization. Almost all of the most influential and visionary works written here were published in Latin, from Comenius’s ideas about equal opportunities in education, to Copernicus’s heliocentric universe and Kepler’s laws of planetary motion. Much of this region’s writing seems to push conventional frontiers. This chapter aims to map various scholarly networks and ideas that developed within the long history of Latin.