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Medieval Latin literature

The Decline of Medieval Latin

Many literary genres were already being taken over by writing in the vernacular, which had begun in the 10th cent. This advance of the dialects, which were already being formed into the modern European languages, doomed the older "learned" literature. Meanwhile the revival of classical learning and the scholarship of the Renaissance moved to undermine Medieval Latin literature. Dante's precise Latin writing could scarcely be called medieval in its form, and the humanists with their Ciceronian prose and Vergilian eclogues were setting out to destroy, not to reform, Medieval Latin. Except for the persistence of Church Latin, they succeeded.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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