Brill’s Encyclopaedia of the Neo-Latin World

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Edited by: Philip Ford (†), Jan Bloemendal and Charles Fantazzi

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With its striking range and penetrating depth, Brill’s Encyclopaedia of the Neo-Latin World traces the enduring history and wide-ranging cultural influence of Neo-Latin, the form of Latin that originated in the Italian Renaissance and persists to the modern era. Featuring original contributions by a host of distinguished international scholars, this comprehensive reference work explores every aspect of the civilized world from literature and law to philosophy and the sciences.


Lascaris, Janus

(1,284 words)

Author(s): Sandy, Gerald
¶ Born in Constantinople to a branch of the Byzantine imperial family, Janus Lascaris Rhyndacenus, (1445–1534) was a boy when his family fled from that city-state after its fall to the Ottoman Turks in…

Latin and the Enlightenment

(1,979 words)

Author(s): Haskell, Yasmin
¶ In his ‘Preliminary Discourse’ to the Encyclopédie (1751), d’Alembert granted the usefulness of Latin as a scientific language but lamented, perhaps disingenuously a general decline in its use.1 In fact, Latin remained a vigor…

Latin and the Social Media

(1,263 words)

Author(s): Butterfield, David
¶ Although Latin has enjoyed few significant successes amidst its general decline in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the advent of the Internet has given it a new lease of life and brought it…

Latin in Latin America

(7,638 words)

Author(s): Laird, Andrew
¶ The name ‘Latin America’ has been used since the end of the nineteenth century to designate the regions of the Americas in which the ‘Latin languages’ of Spain and Portugal are spoken, as a consequen…

Latin Language and Style as an Instrument of Political and Cultural Ideology

(1,382 words)

Author(s): Laureys, Marc
¶ In antiquity, Latin had effectively been the language of Roman imperial rule and government. A few centuries later, Latin played a crucial role in the construction of the Carolingian Empire on accoun…

Latin Translations from the Vernacular in Early Modern Science

(1,036 words)

Author(s): Blair, Ann M.
¶ We are well familiar with the translation of early modern learned works from Latin into vernacular languages, but when authors of natural philosophy wrote in the vernacular, a Latin translation could…

Latin Translations of Place Names Unknown in the Ancient World

(1,191 words)

Author(s): Mund-Dopchie, Monique
¶ If there is a challenge which Latin geographic texts of the Renaissance have unfailingly confronted, it is that of the integration of new toponyms in travel narratives, in the cosmographies and in ch…

Latin Travel Journals and Guidebooks

(1,174 words)

Author(s): Mund-Dopchie, Monique
¶ Few Latin travel narratives were published during the Renaissance in comparison with vernacular ones.1 They fall into three categories: 1) Narratives written directly in Latin. One example is that of the English scholar…

Latin Vocabulary for New World Phenomena

(1,012 words)

Author(s): Mund-Dopchie, Monique
¶ Writing about ‘elsewhere’ entails oscillations between two extremes: bringing back the Other to Oneself, or giving evidence of radical otherness. Methods of writing that correspond to such opposed de…

Latin Words to Music

(7,145 words)

Author(s): Rasch, Rudolf
Introduction ¶ Although music is generally thought to have its roots in vocal music, the ‘marriage’ between words and music that takes place in vocal music is by no means self-evident. Spoken language o…

Law Latin and English Law

(8,323 words)

Author(s): Fisher, Roger S.
Introduction ¶ Law Latin, the use of the Latin language for legal purposes after the fall of the Roman Empire, has influenced the legal languages of all the nations of modern Europe (including countries…

Letter Collections

(4,245 words)

Author(s): De Landtsheer, Jeanine
¶ The discovery by Petrarch (1304–1374) of Cicero’s Epistolae ad Atticum and the smaller collections in 1345 inspired a number of humanists to make their personal correspondence available for a larger readershi…


(9,784 words)

Author(s): De Landtsheer, Jeanine
¶ Letter writing is a versatile and complex genre of Neo-Latin literature, and as such is affiliated with other lemmata in this Encyclopaedia. In its general concepts it is closely linked with anti-quity, albeit not in a c…

Letters of Dedication

(1,083 words)

Author(s): Verbeke, Demmy | De Landtsheer, Jeanine
¶ The origins of the dedicatory letter go back to Graeco-Roman antiquity. One of the first authors to add a separate letter addressed to a kinsman, a friend, or a possible patron to his manuscripts was Archimedes (287–212 bc). By the firs…

Letter-Writing Manuals

(1,916 words)

Author(s): De Landtsheer, Jeanine
¶ The discovery of Cicero’s letters by Francesco Petrarca (1345) and Coluccio Salutati (1392) heralded a new era in letter-writing. Petrarch promptly set out to rewrite his letters and prepare his own Epistolae for publication, even…