Latin in Medieval Britain

9780197266083We are pleased to announce that Latin in Medieval Britain, edited by Richard Ashdowne and Carolinne White, will be published by the British Academy in April 2017. This volume follows from the conference under the same title held in 2013 to celebrate the completion of the Dictionary.

Latin continued to be used across Europe long after the end of the Roman Empire. This collection considers key issues arising from the use of Latin in Britain from the 6th to the 16th centuries. Latin in this period was not the native language of its users but was nevertheless used extensively for a wide variety of functions from religion, literature, and philosophy to record-keeping and correspondence. It existed alongside a number of everyday native spoken languages, including English, French, and Welsh. The chapters in this collection consider Latin with regard to the various contexts in which it was used, looking beyond narrow comparisons with its Roman ancestor to see what medieval users did with Latin and the changing effects this had on the language.

The fifteen chapters by expert contributors are divided into three parts. The chapters of the first part consider important examples of Latin usage in Britain during four successive periods, the pre-Conquest period, the 12th century, the long 14th century, and the 15th and 16th centuries. In the second part, different spheres of use are considered, including the law, the church, music, and science. In the final part the use of Latin is considered alongside the many spoken native languages of medieval Britain, looking at how the languages had different roles and how they influenced each other. In all the many contexts in which Latin was used, this use reveals continuity matched with adaptation to circumstance, not least in the development of new vocabulary for the language. Between these two poles, users of Latin steered a course that suited their own needs and those of their intended audience.

The contributors are:

Richard Ashdowne, Former Editor, Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources
Paul Brand FBA, Emeritus, All Souls College, University of Oxford
Charles Burnett FBA, Warburg Institute, University of London
Wendy Childs, Emeritus, University of Leeds
Philip Durkin, Deputy Chief Editor, Oxford English Dictionary
Leofranc Holford-Strevens, former Consultant Scholar-Editor, Oxford University Press
David Howlett, Former Editor, Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources
Paul Russell, University of Cambridge
Samantha Schad, Oxford English Dictionary
Richard Sharpe FBA, Wadham College, University of Oxford
Robert Swanson, University of Birmingham
David Trotter, Aberystwyth University
Carolinne White, former Assistant Editor, Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources
Laura Wright, University of Cambridge
Neil Wright, Girton College, University of Cambridge

The book can be ordered directly from OUP or from all good booksellers. It will also be available on British Academy Scholarship Online later this year.

We will be publishing the abstracts of the chapters on this blog over the coming weeks.

Congratulations

We offer our warm congratulations to Dr Leofranc Holford-Strevens, long-time member of the DMLBS committee and reader of our draft dictionary material, on being awarded the President’s Medal of the British Academy for ‘his significant work copy-editing hundreds of publications across a broad range of languages and disciplines’. His contribution to the DMLBS project over many years has been immense, and we are delighted that his lifetime of service in humanities scholarship, of which his association with the DMLBS has been just a part, should be recognized in this prestigious award.

DMLBS online on Logeion

The project is delighted to announce that the text of the DMLBS has been made available under licence to the Logeion project hosted by the University of Chicago and is now accessible via the Logeion interface at http://logeion.uchicago.edu/.

The Logeion interface, which does not require a subscription of any kind, allows searching of all its many dictionaries by headword. (More advanced forms of searching across the DMLBS text are available via the subscription-based Brepolis.net platform.)

We very much hope that this new way of accessing the dictionary will be appreciated by medieval scholars across the world. We would, of course, encourage users nevertheless to buy a copy of the printed dictionary as well!

Like the Brepolis.net online version of the DMLBS, the text has been provided to Logeion under licence from the British Academy and the DMLBS project is unable to offer technical or other assistance with these resources.

The DMLBS project would like to extend its thanks to Logeion and especially Helma Dik for making this interface to our dictionary available.

DMLBS online on Brepolis.net

i_logo_brepolis We are pleased to announce that the text of the DMLBS is now available online (by subscription) on the Brepolis platform.

Followers of the DMLBS project will be aware that online publication has been a long-term ambition of ours to complement the printed Dictionary. Although our own plans to develop and host an online platform for the Dictionary had to be discontinued, we are extremely pleased now to have been able to join in a partnership with Brepols to make the DMLBS more widely available.

The Brepolis platform also for the first time gives Dictionary users new methods of using the text of the DMLBS, making searches possible not only by headword (as in the printed dictionary) but across the full text, including etymologies, senses, and quotations. Although the results of full text searching must of course be used with caution (since the Dictionary is emphatically not a comprehensive collection of all the examples of use of every word cited in the whole of British Medieval Latin), this new functionality will surely open up new research possibilities for medievalists to exploit the extensive data of the Dictionary.

Further information about the Brepolis DMLBS can be found at http://www.brepolis.net/pdf/Brepolis_DMLBS_EN.pdf.

(Please note that Brepols is wholly responsible for the online platform and that the DMLBS project is unable to offer technical or other support for its users.)

Former chairman appointed CBE

Dr J. N. Adams, who was formerly chairman of the British Academy’s DMLBS committee, has been appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. The award, gazetted as for services to Latin scholarship, reflects the huge contribution his extensive and painstaking research has made to our understanding of Latin throughout the language’s history, and especially of variation in the use of that language over time, space, and the social status of its users.

The DMLBS project has particular reason to be grateful to him for his service to the wider cause of Latin and to our work on Latin of the medieval period. He became chairman of the DMLBS committee at a point when the project’s future had been looking desperately bleak, and over a period of more than a decade he was instrumental in establishing the secure and stable footing which led to the ultimate completion of the printed dictionary. We are therefore especially pleased to be able to congratulate him on this honour.