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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Do you read Latin?

The National Archives is "the UK government's official archive, containing almost 1,000 years of history, with records ranging from parchment and paper scrolls through to digital files and archived websites." I have discussed some of the online resources of the National Archives before, but found an especially useful online service, a Beginners' Latin tutorial. To quote the Website,

This tutorial is a beginners' guide to the Latin used in documents between 1086 and 1733. It is the first online tutorial to help you learn the Latin from this period. Try our new Advanced Latin

The tutorial covers the period between 1086 and 1733, when Latin was the official languageGlossary - opens in a new window of documents written in England.
Knowing Latin will help you to read documents from this period. After 1733, official documents were written in English.

No previous knowledge of Latin is required. This tutorial is suitable for everyone who wants to learn. You may

  • Be a beginner
  • Want to refresh your skills
  • Have studied ClassicalGlossary - opens in a new window Latin and want to find out about Latin from a different period

All of the grammar is fully explained. No previous knowledge is required.

You can practise by translating sentences taken from real documents held at The National Archives. For example, some are from the Domesday BookGlossary - opens in a new window, written in 1086. It is the earliest surviving public record.

In addition to the Advanced Course in Latin, the National Archives also has a online tutorial on reading old handwriting from 1500 to 1800.

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