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Latin in Medieval Britain$
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Richard Ashdowne and Carolinne White

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266083

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266083.001.0001

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Elephans in Camera: Latin and Latinity in 15th- and Early-16th-Century England

Elephans in Camera: Latin and Latinity in 15th- and Early-16th-Century England

Chapter:
(p.106) 5 Elephans in Camera: Latin and Latinity in 15th- and Early-16th-Century England
Source:
Latin in Medieval Britain
Author(s):

Robert Swanson

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197266083.003.0005

The 15th and 16th centuries are often depicted as the death throes of Latin in England, supplanted by ‘The Rise of English’. Arguing that more English did not necessarily mean less Latin, this chapter assesses the role of Latin in England from c.1400 to c.1540, and suggests that in terms of overall cultural history, use, and the accumulated inheritance from the past, this may have been when England was at its most Latinate of all. Considering the use of Latin as a spectrum of skills—reading, writing, speaking, and listening—and across a range of abilities, it offers a positive appreciation of late Medieval Latin as a vital force in a multilingual society.

Keywords:   15th century, 16th century, cultural history, late Medieval Latin, multilingual society, writing

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