3rd century B.C.
Romans started contact with the Greek civilization in the 3rd century B.C. and imitated Greek literary forms, such as comedies of Plautus (ca. 254-184 B.C.) and Terrence (185-159 B.C.)
1st - 5th century A.D.
Latin was spoken and was the official language of the Roman Empire.
Greek was the second language other than the official Latin in eastern Mediterranean.
Native languages in Spain and Gaul were converted by Latin into Romance languages.
In the fifth century, Latin did not survive the collapse of central Roman authority in the peripheral parts of the Empire.
6th -14th century (Middle Ages)
Latin continued as the living language of the Church and of the intellectual world. It was an international language for Europe.
It remained the medium of Western Christianity as a written language of liturgy and administration. This Christian Latin was transmitted by education in an unchanging form and students had to learn it painfully.
Within communities of the educated, it became a spoken language as the medium of teaching. In Late fourth century, St. Jerome's translation of the Bible, called Vulgata, became a standard in grammar for later Latin usage.
Emperor Charlemagne (800) conserved many works of classical Latin authors in his cathedral and monastic schools. In the twelfth century, the first universities emphasised on secular learning and professional training in medicine and law, and started to search out, copy and edit new Latin texts of the classical period.
15th century to the present
Renaissance scholars scorned medieval latin and turned to Cicero in particular as the canon of perfection of Latinity. But it was an artificial movement which made Latin somewhat imitative and static compared with the spontaneous, living language which it had been during the Middle Ages.Latin authors:
Golden Age (80 B.C. - 14 A.D.)
This was a period of civil wars and dictators, of military might against constitutional right, of selfish interest, of brilliant pomp and power, of moral and religious laxity.
Tituts Lucretius Carus (ca. 96 -55 B.C.): De Rerum Natura - a powerful didactic poem on happiness achieved through the Epicurean philosophy.
Caius Valerius Catullus (ca 84-54 B.C.): lyric poet.
Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C.): the greatest Roman orator
Gaiius Julius Caesar (102-44 B.C.): orator, politician, dictator, author. De Bello Gallico
Cornelius Nepos (99-24 B.C.): writer of biographies.
Publilius Syrus (ca. 45 B.C.): a slave who became famous for his mimes.
Publius Vergilius Maro (70-19 B.C.): poet laureate. Aeneid - a national epic with ample universal and human appeal.
Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65-8 B.C.): poet laureate.
Titus Livius (59 B.C. - 17 A.D.):
Piblius Ovidius Naso (43 B.C. - 17 A.D.): metamorphoses.
Silver Age (14 - 138 A.D.)
Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 B.C. - 65 A.D.): Stoic philosopher
Marcus Fabius Quintilianus (ca 35-95 A.D.): Institutio Oratoria
Marcus Valerius Martialis (45-104 A.D.):
Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus (ca. 62-113 A.D.): Epistolae
Publius Cornelius Tacitus (55-117 A.D.): a satirical, pro-senatorial historian
Decimus Junius Juvenalis (55- 127 A.D.): a relentless satirist of the evils of his times
Patristic Period ( 2nd to 5th century)
Tertullian (ca 155 - after 220): Apologeticus
Cyprian (d 258):
Lactantius (240 -320): Divinae Institutiones
Jerome (ca 374 - 419): Biblia Vulgata.
Ambrose (339 - 397): De Mysteriis
Augustine (354 - 430): De civitate Dei