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By Tore Janson

No recognized language, together with English, has completed the luck and sturdiness 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 normal heritage or Latin tells its background 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 converse so beautiful to tens of millions of readers, it's a masterpiece of adroit synthesis. The publication commences with an outline of the origins, emergence, and dominance of Latin over the Classical interval. Then follows an account of its survival in the course of the center a while into glossy occasions, with emphasis on its evolution in the course of the historical past, tradition, and spiritual practices of Medieval Europe. by means of really apt citation of Latin phrases, words, and texts the writer illustrates how the written and spoken language replaced, zone by means of area over the years; the way it met resistance from local languages; and the way hence a few complete languages disappeared. Janson deals a shiny demonstration of the price of Latin as a way of entry to a colourful earlier and a persuasive argument for its persisted worthy. A concise and easy-to-understand advent to Latin grammar and a listing of the main widespread Latin phrases, together with 500 idioms and words nonetheless in universal use, supplement the paintings.

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We cannot trace this development in detail, but it was not long before there were people from Spain, France, and North Africa who were writing in Latin and for whom Latin seemed to be their native language. One of the earliest was an expert in oratory called Seneca, who was active already at the time of Augustus. After a few hundred years the people in the towns throughout the southern part of western Europe and in north Africa probably spoke Latin. How it was in the villages, where most people lived, is not so easy to say, as our sources are generally written by town-dwellers.

However, there is some evidence that languages other than Latin were still surviving in several country districts at the time of the break-up of the Roman empire in the fifth century ce, so the shift to Latin must have taken a very long time. That this shift was nonetheless deep and permanent in its effect in large parts of this territory is confirmed by the fact that the languages spoken today in Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal descend directly from Latin. The same is true in parts of other countries such as Belgium and Switzerland.

The papyri which have survived from antiquity have usually been found in deserts, and in caves around the Dead Sea. The texts are mainly in Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic, but there are some in Latin too. Papyrus could be used as loose leaves for letters and that sort of thing. Long texts were written on strips of papyrus eight inches to a foot wide and up to ten yards long fixed to a wooden stick at each end. As you read, you unrolled the text, which was written across the roll, from one stick and rolled it up onto the other one.

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