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Medieval Latin facts for kids

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Medieval Latin
Region most of western Christian Europe (as lingua franca)
Extinct gradually replaced by Renaissance Latin from the 14th century onwards
Language family
  • Italic
    • Latino-Faliscan
      • Medieval Latin

Medieval Latin was the form of Latin used in the Middle Ages. It was mostly used by scholars and as the liturgical language of the medieval Roman Catholic Church, but also as a language of science, literature, and administration.

Despite the clerical origin of many of its authors, Medieval Latin should not be confused with Ecclesiastical Latin. There is no real consensus on the exact boundary where Late Latin ends and Medieval Latin begins. Some scholars have their surveys of it begin with the rise of early Christian Latin in the middle of the 4th century, others around the year 500.

Carmina Cantabrigiensia Manuscr-C-fol436v
Page with medieval Latin text from the Carmina Cantabrigiensia (Cambridge University Library, Gg. 5. 35), 11. cent.

Important medieval Latin authors

4th-5th centuries

6th-8th centuries

  • Gildas (d. c. 570)
  • Venantius Fortunatus (c. 530-c. 600)
  • Gregory of Tours (c. 538-594)
  • Isidore of Seville (c. 560-636)
  • Bede (c. 672-735)

9th-10th centuries

  • Ratherius (890-974)
  • Thietmar of Merseburg (975-1018)

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