Skip to main content

About this free course

Download this course

Share this free course

Continuing classical Latin
Continuing classical Latin

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

1.5 Early Latin: Latin before Plautus

Fragments of archaic Latin law are preserved as the Law of the XII Tables. Early inscriptions survive from the 6th Century BCE. Writing was introduced into Southern Italy by Greek colonists in the early 8th Century BCE, Polybius (c. 200-c. 118 BCE), Greek Historian of Rome. Histories 3.22.3 ‘the Ancient Roman language differs so much from the modern that it can only be partially made out, and that after much application, by the most intelligent men.’ (Translation by W.R. Paton)

Some Early Latin forms:

  • aurum ‘gold’ from earlier ausom
  • iurat ‘he swears’ from earlier iouesat (CIL I² 4).¹º
  • Genitive singular of second declension was – osio; CIL I² 2832a (= Lapis Satricanus) popliosio ualesiosio = Publii Valerii.

Audio activity 5

Now listen to the following audio conversation between James Clackson and Geoffrey Horrocks.

Download this audio clip.Audio player: Before Plautus’ Latin
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
Show transcript|Hide transcript
Before Plautus’ Latin
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).