Sunday, April 7, 2013

I'm Sorry, Lisa Simpson, But Latin Is Not The Language Of Plutarch

It's the language of the Lapis Niger, the Twelve Tables, Livius Andronicus, Naevius, Plautus, Ennius, Terence, Lucilius, Caesar, Lucretius, Catullus, Sallust, Vergil, Horace, Livy, Ovid, Phaedrus the fable-teller, Velleius Paterculus, Valerius Maximus, Curtius Rufus, The Plinys, Elder and Younger, Persius, Lucan, Silius, Quintilian, Martial, Statius, Tacitus, Caecilius Secundus, Suetonius, Apuleius, Gellius, Hyginus, Symmachus, Macrobius, Claudian, Ausonius, the Augustian Histories, Ammianus, Corippus, Isidore of Seville, Boethius, Gregory of Tours, Gregory the Great, Columbanus, Bede, Alcuin, Einhard, Nithard, Johannes Scotus, Ekkehard, the Ruodlieb, the anonymous Gesta Francorum et Aliorum Hierosolimitorum, Raymond of Aguilers, Henry of Huntington, John of Salsbury, William of Malmesbury, Orderic Vitalis, Walter Map, William of Tyre, the anonymous Expugnatione Terrae Sanctae per Saladinum, Saxo Grammaticus, the Magna Carta, Albert the Great, the anonymous Vita Merlini, the Carmina Burana, Siger of Brabant, Matthew Paris, Roger Bacon, William of Occam, Nicholas of Cusa, Walter Bower, Alberti, Valla, Pius II, Poliziano, a very popular translation of Columbus' letter to Isabelle describing his first voyage, More, Bembo and Spinoza and one of the primary languages of Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarch, Elizabeth I of England, Francis Bacon, Descartes, Hobbes, Milton, Leibniz, Kant, Schopenhauer (who compared a person with no knowledge of Latin to someone stumbling around in a fog) and Nietzsche, to name only a few. I intentionally left a few very prominent names off of that list, so prominent that their omission will surely outrage a few fellow Latinists, because I have my own ideas about who is grotesquely overrated and who is not. And surely a few more names simply slipped my mind.

But, Lisa, Plutarch wrote in Greek. I wouldn't even bother to mention it so many years later except that I have always greatly admired how learned you are and how seriously you take scholarship.

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