Medieval Latin

Medieval Latin was the form of Latin that was used in the Middle Ages. It was used mostly by scholars and as the liturgical language of the medieval Roman Catholic Church, but it was used also as a language of science, literature and administration.

Medieval Latin
Carmina Cantabrigiensia Manuscr-C-fol436v.jpg
Carmina Cantabrigiensia, Medieval Latin manuscript
Native toMany small states
RegionMost of Europe
EraDeveloped from Late Latin between 4th and 10th centuries; replaced by Renaissance Latin from the 14th century
Language family
Early forms:
Writing systemLatin alphabet 
Official status
Official language inDe facto in most Christian states during the Middle Ages
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Linguist Listlat-med
Europe 1000.jpg
Europe, 1000 AD

Despite the clerical origin of many of its authors, Medieval Latin should not be confused with Ecclesiastical Latin. There is no consensus on exactly when Late Latin ends, and Medieval Latin begins. Some scholars have their surveys of it begin with the rise of early Christian Latin in the mid-4th century, but others have around the year 500.[1]

Page with medieval Latin text from the Carmina Cantabrigiensia (Cambridge University Library, Gg. 5. 35), 11. cent.

Important Medieval Latin authors

4th-5th centuries

6th-8th centuries

9th-10th centuries

Medieval Latin Media


  1. Jan M.Ziolkowsky, "Towards a History of Medieval Latin Literature", in: F. A. C. Mantello and A. G. Rigg (eds.), Medieval Latin: An Introduction and Bibliographical Guide (Washington, D.C., 1996), pp. 505-536 (pp. 510-511)


  • K. P. Harrington, J. Pucci, and A. G. Elliott, Medieval Latin (2nd ed.), (Univ. Chicago Pres, 1997) ISBN 0-226-31712-9

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