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Stefan's Florilegium


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per-latin-art - 7/17/94

"Things Your Persona Might Have Known I: Latin (impress your friends!)" by
Nicolaa de Bracton of Leicester.

NOTE: See also the files: literacy-msg, Latin-msg, Latin-online-art,
languages-msg, p-education-msg, per-literacy-art.


This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set
of files, called Stefanšs Florilegium.

These files are available on the Internet at:

Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author.

While the author will likely give permission for this work to be
reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first
or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.

Thank you,
Mark S. Harris
AKA: Stefan li Rous

Things Your Persona Might Have Known I: Latin (impress your friends!)
--Nicolaa de Bracton of Leicester

Latin was the learned language of the Middle Ages. A good priest
should know his Latin, by the canons of the Fourth Lateran Council
(1215).; that this was included at all makes it clear that many
priests, especially in outlying areas, did not understand the words of
the Mass they sang each day. Latin was also the language of the
schools, and since one usually entered minor orders (which did not
involve celibacy) in the early years of the universities, by the
1300's the word "clerk" (clericus )had come to mean one who had
attended university or was otherwise educated and thus knew Latin;
hence, the later meaning of "clerk" as "secretary". As late as the
16th century one could claim benefit of clergy (and thus trial under
ecclesiastical law, where penalties usually involved penance rather
than execution or large fines) by reading a verse of Latin from the
Bible, even if one was a great duke or a merchant.

How about everyone else? There were certainly a few people besides
monks, priests, and bishops who knew Latin: on the Continent, notaries
(those who drew up documents such as charters) knew Latin, though they
were laymen. Children educated in noble households might also learn
some Latin. By 1500, the humanist movement had insured that Latin
literacy was beginning to spread out of the ranks of churchmen and
into the circles of gentle society. However, there were always a few
things that everyone (at least in Christian Europe before the
Reformation) knew in Latin. These were the Pater Noster ("Our
Father") and the Ave Maria ("Hail Mary") That these were proscribed
as penance for all levels of society is ample proof of this.

Pater noster qui es in coelis
Sanctificetur nomen tuum
Adveniat regnum tuum
Fiat voluntas tua et in terra sicut in coelo
Panem nostrum supersubstantialem da nobis hodie
Et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut et dimittemus debitoribus nostris
Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo. Amen.
(Note: This version does not include the last line currently included
by Protestants into the Lord's Prayer, which goes "For Thine is the
Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory Forever.")

Ave Maria, gratia plena
Dominus tecum
Benidicta tu in mulieribus
Et benedictus fructus ventris tui.

(Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord be with you. Blessed are you
among women, and blessed be the fruit of your womb).

A note on pronunciation: There are no silent vowels in Latin. Most
vowels are prononced similarly to those in English. "Coe" is
pronouced as "Che". "Tio" is pronounced "tsio".

Copyright 1994 by Susan Carroll-Clark, 53 Thorncliffe Park Dr. #611,
Toronto, Ontario M4H 1L1 CANADA. Permission granted for
republication in SCA-related publications, provided author is credited
and receives a copy.

If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in
the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also
appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being
reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.

<the end>

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Copyright © Mark S. Harris (Lord Stefan li Rous)
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Comments to author: stefan@florilegium.org
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