Warring States Reference
Latin was the Lingua Franca of the Middle Ages and the High Renaissance, the time when people began to think for themselves, the time when modern life began. This historical link between Latin and the higher learning somewhat persists at the present time. Latin words are present behind much of the vocabulary of English, because that is where those words come from. Latin phrases are also woven into the way we say things in English. It is good to be aware of some of these undercurrents. Besides, if your granddaughter is thinking of law school later on, she might do well to acquire a smattering of Latin now, and don't you want to be able to help her with her homework?
Preface. A few tips about the way Latin works.
Quotations. You can't read Hazlitt without wishing you knew a little Latin. There are several ways of doing this. You can go back to high school for four remedial years, or you can skim these often-quoted lines. Suit yourself, but the latter option is a little more convenient than the former.
We are grateful to Raphael Sealey for corrections and additions to these quotations. Further corrections, and further quotations, are always welcome.
Vocabulary. Many English words derive from Latin words, so knowing some Latin will very much open up your command of English. Here are the commonest words in Latin, plus some which come up in the Quotations or the Readings (see the separate page for the Abbreviations used in the entries)
A B C D E F G H I L M N O P Q R S T U V
Readings. For those who like their language in consecutive pieces, here are a few readings, selected for their simplicity, and sometimes for their relevance to ancient Chinese situations or to the way the world works in general (the study of Latin is supposed to increase your sense of reality). The number in parentheses is the number of lines in the reading selection. Most are extracts from longer pieces; only those marked with an asterisk were considered compositional units by their authors.
Foreign Peoples and Wars
Quintus Curtius: The Rock of Ariamazes
Sallust: The Peoples of Africa
Sallust: The Defeat at Cannae
Tacitus: The German Way of War
Law and Rhetoric
Twelve Tables: On Inheritance
Caesar: The Rights of the Conqueror (11)
Cicero: In Defense of Milo
Quintilian: Preparing the Case
Cornelius Nepos: Cato as a Historian (23)
Cornelius Nepos: The Life of Aristides
Sallust: The Historian's Motive
*Livy: Preface to Roman History
*Phaedrus: The Frog and the Cow
*Cornelius Nepos: Against the Philosophers
*Horace: Carpe Diem
Seneca: Living for Others
Further Acquaintance. What do we need to know, in order to make sense of these things, and where do we go for more information about them, once we have made sense of them? We end with a few answers to those questions: