G. K. Chesterton once responded to the charge that Latin was a “dead” language by stating“Every living language is a dying language, even if it does not die. Parts of it are perpetually perishing or changing their sense; there is only one escape from that flux; and a language must die to be immortal.” So if Latin has died, it still remains present in our culture and it represents a repository of historical knowledge that cannot be accessed without that linguistic ability.The classical texts are only the very topmost layer of a vast edifice.As Jurgen Leonhardt notes in his provocative Latin: Story of a World Language, the amount of material in Latin published after the classical era, even into the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, is many times greater than what we have recovered from the classical period.Leonhardt estimates that “the quantity of...

 
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