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Download e-book for kindle: A Natural History of Latin by Tore Janson

By Tore Janson

ISBN-10: 0199263094

ISBN-13: 9780199263097

No identified language, together with English, has completed the good fortune and toughness of Latin. French, Spanish, Italian, and Romanian are between its direct descendants, and numerous Latin phrases and words include the cornerstone of English itself. A ordinary background or Latin tells its historical past from its origins over 2500 years in the past to the current. Brilliantly conceived, popularizing yet authoritative, and written with the fluency and light-weight contact that experience made Tore Janson's communicate so beautiful to tens of millions of readers, it's a masterpiece of adroit synthesis. The ebook commences with an outline of the origins, emergence, and dominance of Latin over the Classical interval. Then follows an account of its survival throughout the heart a long time into glossy occasions, with emphasis on its evolution through the background, tradition, and spiritual practices of Medieval Europe. through really appropriate citation of Latin phrases, words, and texts the writer illustrates how the written and spoken language replaced, area via sector over the years; the way it met resistance from local languages; and the way accordingly a few complete languages disappeared. Janson deals a brilliant demonstration of the worth of Latin as a method of entry to a colourful earlier and a persuasive argument for its endured worthy. A concise and easy-to-understand advent to Latin grammar and an inventory of the main common Latin phrases, together with 500 idioms and words nonetheless in universal use, supplement the paintings.

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Extra resources for A Natural History of Latin

Sample text

In all this they did not start from scratch but were often able to build on what had been achieved much earlier in Egypt and in the great civilizations of Mesopotamia. But the Greeks went further than their predecessors in almost every field, and in turn passed on their advances to others. During the great cultural flowering in the fifth and fourth centuries bce, the region that roughly corresponds to modern Greece was divided into many small states. Towards the end of the fourth century the state of Macedonia subjugated all the small states and its 19 A natural history of Latin king, Alexander, embarked on an extraordinary series of conquests, with the result that he became the ruler of all the countries that surrounded the eastern Mediterranean from Greece to Libya and of the territory that constitutes modern-day Iraq and Iran and right over to Pakistan and India.

The characters were merchants and landowners and their wives, children, and slaves, and the plots revolved around themes like young lovers who are finally united or lost sons or daughters who turn up unexpectedly. The setting was always a port, with ships arriving from many different places. Rome was developing into just such a cosmopolitan community, and the plays quickly caught on there. This kind of play has subsequently turned out to be very longlived. Shakespeare took several themes and plots from Plautus—for example The Comedy of Errors is an adaptation of the plot of Menaechmi—and in our own times the same basic idea lies at the heart of long-running soap operas like Dallas.

Martius is an adjective formed from Mars, the name of the god of war. In the same way mensis Maius is the month of the goddess Maia, and mensis Ianuarius is connected with the god Janus. This is the god who is depicted with two faces, one on the front and one on the back of his head. He had to do with beginnings and endings, and we can conclude that the month name Ianuarius was coined with the idea of marking the start of the new year. Two of the months were given names by the Senate. These demonstrations of servility have had a depressingly long-lasting effect.

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A Natural History of Latin by Tore Janson

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