Brill’s Encyclopaedia of the Neo-Latin World

Get access Subject: History
Edited by: Philip Ford (†), Jan Bloemendal and Charles Fantazzi

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 1453. They eventually made their way to Italy, where Lascaris enjoyed the support of Cardinal Bessarion, who sponsored his studies in Padua, where Demetrius Chalcondyles held the chair of Greek at the university. His Western education enabled Lascaris at a later stage to exert influence on the cultural and political elite of Ita…

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 gene…

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 to a new and broader demographic of enthusiasts. There can be no doubt that the Internet has revolutionised the range, depth and speed of human communication across the globe, marking the most significant advance in the exchange of knowledge since the invention of moveable type in fifteenth-century Germany. While the all-enco…

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 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.…

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 othernes…

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 continuous line. Epistolography was resuscitated as a literary genre when Petrarch (1304–1374) discovered a manuscript containing the majority of Cicero’s letters. This encouraged him to break with the mediaeval tradition of letter writing and follow his Roman model. From the end of t…

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 …

Letter-Writing Manuals

(1,916 words)

Author(s): De Landtsheer, Jeanine
¶ The discovery of Cicero’s letters by Francesco Petrarca (1345) and Coluccio Salutati (139…