The great history of the Latin language

The great history of the Latin language

There have always been, in the history of humanity, founding myths that rest on collective beliefs that allow a people to forge an identity, a common culture.

We – Spanish speakers, with Spanish as our mother tongue – often evoke the power and heyday of the Roman Empire as the foundations of our culture and our language.

An ancient Indo-European language that was spoken in the Lazio region.
Rome and the Latium: our linguistic ancestors, an imperial culture.

Our Latin alphabet is due to the colonization of the Iberian Peninsula at the hands of the Roman Empire.

The first written traces of Latin were discovered in Rome and date from the 7th century BC. C .: is the prenestine fibula .

It is not possible to summarize 25 to 30 centuries of the history of the Latin language in a few pages, but let’s give some chronological data:

  • Archaic Latin (-700; -100): the cradle of Latin,
  • The Golden Age of Classical Latin (-100; 14): the century of Augustus,
  • The Silver Age of Latin (14-130): Imperial Latin, a figure of the expansion of the Roman Empire,
  • Late Latin, or “Low Latin” (2nd to 8th century),
  • Medieval Latin,
  • Humanist Latin (15th and 16th centuries),
  • The neo-Latin (the current one).

If the language used by the inhabitants and the elites of Rome was classical Latin – language of the arts, of Roman law and of the Roman Catholic Church after Christianization and the abandonment of polytheism) -, the vulgar Latin spoken by the colonists Romans evolved by confronting the “barbarian” dialects when the Roman army annexed the defeated provinces.

The territorial expansion of the Roman Empire – from the Middle East to the Maghreb, from Spain to the Balkans – even created influences from the Latin language on the Germanic and Slavic languages.

It is this play of successive influences and impregnations that gives rise to the Roman languages of today.

After several millennia of universal hegemony in Europe, Latin becomes the universal language of literature and a multitude of writers propagate their ideas in Latin: Seneca, Cicero, Pliny the Elder , Tacitus, or Descartes, Erasmus and Newton in the Renaissance. .

Before the unification of the Roman languages, there were innumerable regional dialects. In fact, only Latin-speaking speakers could understand each other, which explains the long longevity of the Latin language even after the fall of the Roman Empire. The great history of the Latin language

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