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.
Demotic is a late phase of the Egyptian language and writing which began in the middle of the seventh century BCE. When after 30 BCE Egypt became part of the Roman Empire, Demotic was still widely used by the Egyptian priestly elite. A large corpus of literary, paraliterary and documentary texts has survived mainly on papyri, sherds, and as graffiti. Only in the middle of the fifth century CE, by which time Christianity was established as the state religion, does Demotic cease to exist. This chapter gives an overview of the Demotic language and writing, as well as its rich textual material and different forms and genres, and also draws the reader’s attention to the international relations (mainly with the ancient Near East and with Greece, but also e.g. with India) which can be observed in Demotic texts.
The chapter covers two separate, though related, kinds of Neo-Latin verse. The nature of the Renaissance epigram is explored, and one very short poem, Joachim Du Bellay’s two-line epitaph on a dog, is examined in detail. The potential ambiguities within so small a work highlight the richness of the genre. Other epigram writers are mentioned more briefly, especially the influential and much-reprinted Welsh Latinist John Owen, and some German student-poets from 1631. Occasional poetry may be in epigram form, but this genre also covers some longer and more ambitious poems, such as the lyrics of Anthony Alsop. Several examples from collections of occasional poetry are examined: some marriage-poems (epithalamia) from Leipzig in 1616, and the Cambridge collection on the death of General Monck, 1670.
Mark T. Riley
Neo-Latin prose fiction flourished from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. Short stories, romances, utopias, satires, and long novels in Latin often outshone literary work in the vernacular languages. Although France and Italy were the centers of production, outstanding works were also written by Latinists throughout Europe whose imaginations were pulled in one direction by the influence of the language and culture of their contemporaries, and in another by the Latin language and culture within which they studied and wrote. These writers imagined new worlds, addressed contemporary political and social problems, and satirized the great and the good in ways their ancient counterparts could not have imagined. Beginning with Enea Silvio Piccolomini, authors like Sir Thomas More, John Barclay, and Ludvig Holberg developed the literary and intellectual quality of Latin fiction until the ancient language was generally replaced by the vernacular in the eighteenth century.
This chapter begins with early French humanism in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, as French writers reacted to Italian influences and sought to create their own neo-Latin identities. It focuses on Guillaume Budé as the exemplary neo-Latin French writer of this period, whose work played an important role in shaping French humanism. From Budé can be traced the elements of legal humanism, philology, and the study of Greek that would become such prominent strengths of France’s contribution to the world of scholarship. In the domain of poetry, Jean Salmon Macrin fashioned himself as the first major French neo-Latin poet. Du Bellay’s poetry in Latin provides an informative case-study, and opens up perspectives on the language debates raging in the middle of the sixteenth century. Finally, the chapter considers the continued use of Latin in Jesuit writing and in the scientific and philosophical writing of the seventeenth century.
The mastery of classical Latin and knowledge of its literary monuments enabled early modern women to play significant roles in such institutions as the convent, the literary salon, and the household academy, in contrast to the offices of the church, state, and university—from which they were barred. The exchange of learned Latin epistles, essays, polemics, and dialogues within cities and across national borders provided models for the sustaining of patronage relationships and the forging of friendships between men and women of diverse ranks and backgrounds. This chapter surveys representative Neo-Latin writings by women as products of the intellectual movements, public controversies, and the political and social institutions that influenced society and culture in the early modern age.
Sarah Knight and Stefan Tilg
This concluding part of the Handbook is an annotated selection of helpful Neo-Latin reference works and tools. Its sections are dedicated to “Surveys and Methodology,” “Book Series,” “Bibliographical Aids,” “Anthologies and Collections of Texts,” “Dictionaries and Glossaries,” and “Histories of Latin.” The selection includes only general references; more specific titles can be found in the “Suggested Reading” and “References” lists following each individual chapter.
This chapter is structured according to a history of various discourses. First, a definition of the “German” cultural sphere of the early modern period is sought with reference to works relating to Germania. Then basic patterns and poetological positions of the humanist movement are presented in terms of their historical development. The chapter then turns to relevant institutions and leitmotifs of the time: scholarly education and its specific programmatics; religion, the church, and theology; and finally, the sociopolitical components of Neo-Latin literature. Literary genres are given due attention by focusing on particular strains such as biblical drama and socially critical satire in verse and prose. “Ego-documents” and the question of “authentic” writing are discussed in a section of its own. A cursory treatment of the late period of Neo-Latin writing, with a focus on scholarly and technical prose, makes up the end of the chapter.
The Renaissance and early modern period witnessed the last great flourishing of Latin historiography. It was marked by an expanded and sustained interest in the classical historians, a boom in the composition of original works of history, and the creative transformation of ancient literary forms into new genres. The humanist cult of Livy sparked off a revival of monumental narrative histories in Latin. These initially focused on cities, nations, rulers, and dynasties, but soon expanded their purview to include novel subjects such as antiquities, historical chorography, and church history. In the context of nascent nationalism and confessionalization, Neo-Latin historiography became a prime locus for political and religious controversy and justification.
Alejandro Coroleu and Catarina Fouto
This chapter surveys Neo-Latin literature in the Iberian peninsula from the late fifteenth to the eighteenth century, both Spanish and Portuguese. The Spanish part deals with the cluster of scholarly disciplines fostered by the humanists and then discusses Latin poetry, drama, and literary prose. It then discusses texts related to the enterprise of the Indies. Finally, it examines the role played by Latin as the language of political and cultural propaganda in early modern Spain. The Portuguese part first refutes the idea of Portugal as a marginal cultural space and introduces the intellectual and cultural context for its Neo-Latin literature. It then adopts a generic approach and traces the development of Portuguese Neo-Latin prose, poetry, and drama. The chapter identifies the subjects and genres favored in Latin works written in the Iberian peninsula, as well as the principal authors and their most important works.
Sarah Knight and Stefan Tilg
The introduction first discusses the origin, significance, and implications of the term “Neo-Latin,” focussing on issues of chronological extent (the Neo-Latin “period”), stylistic ambition (Neo-Latin vs. “medieval” and “scholastic” Latin), and cultural impact (Neo-Latin as an intellectual foundation of the early modern world). It then briefly traces the development of Neo-Latin studies, which are slowly but surely growing into a self-conscious academic discipline today—as attested by the recent publication of three major reference works, including the present Handbook. After a characterization of the distinct approaches of these reference works, the final part of the introduction lays out the editorial principles and practices adopted in this Handbook.