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Why Latin in cathedrals?

In the 8th and 9th centuries there was a renaissance of learning in Europe, and Latin was at its heartin cathedrals and monasteries.

At that time the overlord of a large part of western Europe, Charlemagne, had many new cathedrals and monasteries built. He instructed them to teach Latin, to produce more scribes to work in the courts and more priests to use the one language shared across Europe.

Gloucester CathedralThe Latin of Charlemagne’s day was a broad sweep of literature. There were liturgical and religious texts, laws, histories, administrative records (then, the clergy did all the ‘clerical’ work), works of fiction and poems, and also the treasured books of a much earlier time.

These pre-Christian writers – poets, historians, orators, storytellers and letter-writers reflected values of a quite different world; but they were too good to ignore. The great classical writings of Cicero, Virgil and Ovid, whose stories of mischievous gods and whimsical goddesses were treated as allegories, were copied and kept alive in the cathedrals and monasteries like Gloucester above.

See all classes and venues

 

Courses at cathedrals,

museums and Roman sites

More details, venues and dates

Latin for Beginners

Stories in Latin

History of Rome

Women in the Aeneid

Latin Voices

Boudicca's near-Brexit

For details, dates and venues, go here.

Online supports

for published courses

The Complete Latin Course

The Complete Latin Course

Get Started in Latin

Get Started in Latin

Catch up with mulus

and his friends

Get Started in Latin - a translation of the story

Why would the ablative case help detectives solve a murder mystery?

Practise all the cases

with cartoon exercises

 

Latin Voices

Why hear Latin?

Opera singer

Matthew Hargreaves reads from Aeneid 6, Virgil's story of Aeneas visiting the underworld.

Catullus to Lesbia:

let's live and love

Virgil's distraught hero Aeneas has lost his wife. Here he is comforted by her ghost.

Carpe diem, says

Horace to his girl.

More readings

Ovid's story of

Narcissus and Echo

Latin Qvarter readingsAudio CD of

Teach Yourself Complete Latin

George Sharpley reads from Gavin Betts' course.

   
The LATIN QVARTER
Latin language classes, courses, readings, books and films