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date: 16 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the idea of Latinitas, Latinity, the quality of writing and speaking a pure Latin, which in its history from the beginnings of Latin literature in the third century bce has been both a socio-linguistic and a literary critical, stylistic category. Constitutive influences have been the standardization of the language of the capital as the language of an empire, the development of Latin literary styles, and the teaching of Latin in the various Roman schools. Latin was the dialect of Latium, the sociolect of the ruling elite, the language of imperial and military administration, and as a consequence of the last a far-flung language. Latinity as a norm thus faced considerable challenges. In the context of the later schools, ancient and medieval, Latinity came to be a norm to preserve the written language and a science (grammar) to discover and check rules of orthography and expression.

Keywords: Latinitas, Latinity, purity of style, standardization of language, grammar

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