Classical Association 1931/2014

By happy coincidence, today’s archive find relates to the Classical Assocation’s general meeting of January 1931: this year’s annual CA conference is currently in full swing at the University of Nottingham.

In 1931 the work of the then medieval Latin dictionary committee was presented to the meeting by Charles Johnson, secretary of the committee. His presentation was reported in the Times on the following day (8 Jan 1931).

The Times 8 Jan 1931

(Click on the image to see at full size.)

What is perhaps most interesting is the fact that contrary to the views reported here, still decades later the same arguments are in fact having to be made that medieval Latin has a ‘beauty and character of its own’ and is not merely ‘some degenerate and barbarous jargon’ only of interest those studying medieval theology. The diversity, quality, and sheer vitality of medieval Latin in Britain alone is more than enough to show the superficiality of viewing medieval Latin as a failed attempt at earlier classical norms, which sometimes authors chose and strove to respect and sometimes they had the confidence and talent to eschew. If the now finished DMLBS goes some way to underlining the significance of the language and to making it more accessible to the modern world, the project as described here by Johnson and conceived two decades earlier by Robert Whitwell has achieved one of its key aims.


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