Mediaeval Latin

Mediaeval Latin

Mediaeval Latin

Mediaeval Latin

Excerpt

When the Western Roman Empire came to an end in the latter part of the fifth century, Latin was already the official language of church and state throughout Europe and northwestern Africa. In the state it maintained for many centuries its position as the formal and international medium of expression, being displaced in rime by the vernacular tongues of the several nations. In the Roman Catholic church it has continued even up to the present day as the official vehicle of ecclesiastical expression.

The church was the greatest cohesive force in Europe for a millennium after RomuIus Augustulus was dethroned in 476; and in the babel of barbarian tongues that broke on every side it was the language of the church that persevered. The evangelization of paganism called forth a huge mass of ecclesiastical literature in prose and poetry, which kept Latin as a living language before the masses of the people, as well as in the institutions of the church itself. Education was for a long time chiefiy religious. The monastic establishments had libraries of secular, as well as religious, writings. Charlemagne, the head of the Holy Roman Empire, made the beginning of founding the great European schools.

In the course of the centuries histories were written to describe the victorious progress of the faith, as for example in France, in England, and in the great movement of the Crusades. Great poems were produced describing the . . .

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