VTF: Mediaeval Latin, K.P. Harrington

Since I bought the book in this 1970s-looking paperback edition, I was surprised to recently learn that it is actually in the Public Domain. It’s another anthology that should be very useful to Church Latinists.

Mediaeval Latin (1925), selected and edited by Karl Pomeroy Harrington (1861-1953).

It’s a thick old anthology from 1925, nearly 700 pages of Latin texts, and probably best for use after year 2 or 3 of an excellent college or high school Latin series.

From the Preface:

“This book is designed to introduce the reader to Mediaeval Latin, for more than a thousand years the universal language of church, state, school, society, and belles-lettres.

From the overwhelming mass of material that has lain hidden in musty tomes and quaint manuscripts the editor has selected examples in the various fields of mediaeval literature….The selections represent history, anecdote, argument, the epistle, the drama, the essay, the dialogue, the novel, and epic, lyric, pastoral, didactic, and satiric verse….

For the student of history, comparative literature, or civilization in general, these pages have a profound significance. To the student of the Latin language and literature, they show that Latin from Ennius to Erasmus, during a period of nearly a millennium and three quarters, is more homogeneous than is English from Chaucer to Tennyson, a matter of only five hundred years. The student of the Romance and other modern languages can here see important processes actually going on in the development of these languages.”

Preface, Mediaeval Latin, selected and edited by K. P. Harrington

The short introduction is excellent: a helpful summary of Church Latin’s history, vocabulary, forms, syntax, and metric. Each author has a paragraph or two of interesting introductory material, and lots of photographs and reproductions of art and artifacts are nicely tucked in throughout.

It’s definitely worth bookmarking the download page for, and/or finding a paper copy of for your library!

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