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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Classical Philology: Latin: Overviews


The following items provide useful overviews of the history, development, and study of the Latin language in all periods.

Classical Latin

The Blackwell History of the Latin Language

Print; by James Clackson and Geoffrey Horrocks (2007): This text makes use of contemporary work in linguistics to provide up-to-date commentary on the development of Latin, from its prehistoric origins in the Indo-European language family, through the earliest texts, to the creation of the Classical Language of Cicero and Vergil, and examines the impact of the spread of spoken Latin through the Roman Empire. 


The Cambridge History of Classical Literature, Vol. II: Latin Literature

Login required; edited by E. G. Kenney and W. V. The Cambridge History of Classical Literature provides a comprehensive, critical survey of the literature of Greece and Rome from Homer till the Fall of Rome. The literature is presented throughout in the context of the culture and the social and historical processes of which it is an integral part. The overall aim is to offer an authoritative work of reference and appraisal for one of the world's greatest continuous literary traditions.Clausen (1982): 


A Companion to Latin Literature

Login required; edited by Stephen Harrison (Blackwell, 2005): This volume gives an authoritative account of Latin literature from its beginnings in the third century BC through to the end of the second century AD. It provides expert overview of the main periods of Latin literary history, major genres, and key themes. It also covers all the major Latin works of prose and poetry, from Ennius to Augustine, including Lucretius, Cicero, Catullus, Livy, Vergil, Seneca, and Apuleius.


The Foundations of Latin

Print; by Philip Baldi (De Gruyter, 1999): This volume provides an up-to-date account of the linguistic evolution of Latin, from its origins in the Proto-Indo-European ancestral language until the end of the second century CE. As the first English-language treatment of the history of Latin and its speakers in four decades, this study fills a critical need in classical and linguistic scholarship.


The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature

Login required, 3rd ed.; edited by Margaret Howatson (2011): The third edition of The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature is the complete and authoritative reference guide to the classical world and its literary heritage. It not only presents the reader with all the essential facts about the authors, tales, and characters from ancient myth and literature, but it also places these details in the wider contexts of the history and society of the Greek and Roman worlds. 


Post-Classical Latin

Medieval Latin

Print; edited by Frank Mantello and A. G. Rigg (CUA Press, 1996): Organized with the assistance of an international advisory committee of medievalists from several disciplines, Medieval Latin: An Introduction and Bibliographical Guide is a new standard guide to the Latin language and literature of the period from c. A.D. 200 to 1500. It promises to be indispensable as a handbook in university courses in Medieval Latin and as a point of departure for the study of Latin texts and documents in any of the fields of medieval studies.


The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Latin Literature

Print; edited by Ralph J. Hexter and David Townsend (2012): The twenty-eight articles in this handbook represent some of the current thinking in the study of Latin language and literature in the Middle Ages. The overall approach makes it a resource for students of the ancient world interested in the prolonged after-life of the classical period's cultural complexes, for medieval historians, for scholars of other medieval literary traditions, and for all those interested in delving more deeply into the more-than-millennium that forms the bridge between the ancient Mediterranean world and what we consider modernity. 


The Oxford Handbook of Neo-Latin

Print; edited by Sarah Knight and Stefan Tilg (2015): This handbook gives an accessible survey of the main genres, contexts, and regions of Neo-Latin, as we have come to call Latin writing composed in the wake of Petrarch (1304-74). Its emphasis is on the period of Neo-Latin's greatest cultural relevance, from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries. Its chapters, written by specialists in the field, present individual methodologies and focuses while retaining an introductory character. The handbook will be valuable to all readers wanting to orientate themselves in the immense ocean of Neo-Latin literature and culture.