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date: 22 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries, Latin was a social tool that served to “classify”: it reproduced and reinforced the structural patterns of contemporary society. This chapter investigates how Latin acquired such a role in Western society and how it was used to trace boundaries between those who knew it and those who did not. Reserving Latin for the social elite, and excluding the lower classes, reinforced its symbolic value. This differentiating role that Latin had acquired over the course of time is also evident when, in a very progressive step, Latin was made available to girls, who had been long excluded: their access to Latin was gained primarily on the basis of social arguments.

Keywords: Latin, social history, teaching, school, Classics, Latin and women, female education, Western Europe

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