Latin: History and Heritage


In the history of human civilization the Latin language occupies a special place. For several millennia of its existence, it has changed many times, but it has retained its relevance and importance.

Dead language

Today Latin is a dead language.In other words, he has no native speakers who would consider this speech native and used it in everyday life. But, unlike other dead languages, Latin received a second life. Today, this language is the basis of international jurisprudence and medical sciences.

On the scale of its importance to Latin is nearAncient Greek, who also died, but left his mark in very different terminology. This amazing destiny is connected with the historical development of Europe in ancient times.

Latin language


Ancient Latin language originated in Italy for a thousandyears BC. According to its origin, it belongs to the Indo-European family. The first speakers of this language were Latins, thanks to which it got its name. This people lived on the banks of the Tiber. Several ancient trade routes converged here. In 753 BC, the Latins founded Rome and soon began aggressive wars against their neighbors.

Over the centuries of its existence this statehas undergone several important changes. First there was a kingdom, then a republic. At the turn of the 1st century AD, the Roman Empire arose. Its official language was Latin.

Until the fifth century it was the greatest civilization in the world.history of mankind. It surrounded its entire territory with the Mediterranean Sea. Under her power was a lot of people. Their languages ​​gradually died, and Latin replaced them. Thus, it spread from Spain in the west to Palestine in the east.

history of Latin

Vulgar Latin

It was in the era of the Roman Empire that the history of Latinlanguage made a sharp turn. This dialect was divided into two types. There was a primordial literary Latin, which was the official means of communication in public institutions. It was used to document documents, worship, etc.

At the same time, the so-calledvulgar Latin. This language arose as a facilitated version of a complex state language. The Romans used it as a tool for communicating with foreigners and conquered peoples.

This is how the people's version of the language emerged, whichwith each generation more and more different from its model of the ancient era. Living speech naturally dismissed the old syntactic rules, which were too complicated for rapid perception.

the basics of Latin

The Legacy of Latin

Thus the history of the Latin language gave birth to the Romanesquegroup of languages. In the 5th century AD, the Roman Empire fell. It was destroyed by the barbarians who created their national states on the ruins of the former country. Some of these peoples could not get rid of the cultural influence of the past civilization.

Gradually, in this way, Italian,French, Spanish and Portuguese. All of them are distant descendants of ancient Latin. The classical language died after the fall of the empire and ceased to be used in everyday life.

At the same time, Constantinople survivedthe state, whose rulers considered themselves to be successors of the Roman Caesars. It was Byzantium. Its inhabitants habitually considered themselves to be Romans. However, Greek became the spoken and official language of this country, which is why, for example, in Russian sources, Byzantines were often called Greeks.

medical latin

Use in science

At the beginning of our era the medicalLatin language. Before that, the Romans had very little knowledge of human nature. In this field, they were much inferior to the Greeks. However, after the Roman state was joined by ancient politicians, famous for their libraries and scientific knowledge, interest in education in Rome itself increased noticeably.

Medical schools also began to appear. A huge contribution to physiology, anatomy, pathology and other sciences was made by the Roman physician Claudius Galen. He left behind hundreds of works written in Latin. Even after the death of the Roman Empire in European universities, medicine continued to be studied with the help of ancient ancient documents. That is why the future doctors must have known the basics of the Latin language.

A similar fate awaited and legal science. It was in Rome that the first modern legislation appeared. In this ancient society an important place was occupied by lawyers and connoisseurs of law. Over the centuries, a huge array of laws and other documents written in Latin.

Their systematization engaged Emperor Justinian -ruler of Byzantium VI century. Despite the fact that the country spoke in Greek, the sovereign decided to reissue and update the laws in the Latin version. Thus appeared the famous code of Justinian. This document (as well as all Roman law) is studied in detail by students of law faculties. Therefore it is not surprising that Latin is still preserved in the professional environment of lawyers, judges and doctors. It is also used in worship by the Catholic Church.

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