King’s College London
additions and corrections welcome
POST-CLASSICAL LATIN: SOURCES AND TOOLS
Please note that none of the lists below are to be seen as complete, or free from all errors.
C. T. Lewis & C. Short, A Latin Dictionary (1879, Oxford, still in print)
A detailed dictionary of the Latin language, from the beginning to roughly 600 AD
Good online version here.
Also available through Perseus
Somewhat out of date, but remains the only Latin-English dictionary to attempt to cover thoroughly both classical and late antique Latin. Probably the most useful single dictionary for reading a non-classical text.
Oxford Latin Dictionary, 1968-82, Oxford, 2nd edition 2012.
A detailed dictionary of classical Latin (roughly up to 200 AD)
Current digital usage is restricted to looking up words in Oxford Scholarly Editions Online (subscribers only).
Very thorough on the ground it covers, but contains absolutely no Christian Latin. Useful for checking the existence and studying the usage of a word in surviving classical Latin.
Superior to most other dictionaries for inscriptions.
Thesaurus Linguae Latinae (Leipzig etc, 1900 -)
Ongoing publication, entirely in Latin. Aims to catalogue and analyse every instance of every usage of all words in all of classical and most of patristic Latin (up to Gregory the Great). Currently covers A-regnum, excluding N after nebel and Q.
Online and downloadable up to P as PDFs with marginal bookmarks for every headword.
A gigantic enterprise, which may well take another 50 years to complete. Use when extremely detailed information on a word is needed.
Forcellini, Lexicon Totius Latinitatis
Vast 18th century Latin to Latin dictionary of classical and late antique Latin, last updated 1940.
Scope is somewhere between Lewis and Short and the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae. Perhaps most useful for letters not yet covered by the Thesaurus.
Smaller Latin Dictionaries
Portable dictionaries of classical Latin, with fairly detailed definitions, and some citations from ancient authors.
None of these books is too small to carry around or too hard for beginners to use, and they are greatly to be preferred to the smaller portable dictionaries, which give a very misleading view of Latin.
There is also a very detailed English-to-Latin dictionary in digital format here (digitised from Smith & Hall, 1871).
C. Du Cange, Glossarium Mediae et Infimae Latinitatis (first published 1678, last revised 1883-87)
A 10-volume lexicon, attempting to define all new usages and words in Latin from roughly 200 to 1400. Includes much antiquarian material. Entirely in Latin
Inevitably out of date in many ways, but this remains extremely valuable, and is the only book that can call itself a complete dictionary of medieval Latin.
Novum Glossarium Mediae Latinitatis
Multi-volume replacement to Du Cange; currently covers L-polutus. Includes both classical Latin and new words and usages for roughly 800-1200. Definitions in French.
Very thorough, but progress is slow. Will be enormous if it is ever finished, but still claims to be only a “provisional” project.
J. F. Niermeyer, Mediae Latinitatis Lexicon Minus (1976, Leiden; 2nd edition: 2002, Leiden)
A 1-volume (2 volumes for 2nd edition) dictionary of words and usages new to Latin in (roughly) the period 300-1200. Definitions in French, English and (2nd edition only) German.
Digital version for subscribers.
Abbreviated version freely available.
1976 version can be downloaded from Internet Archive.
The most usable and up-to-date medieval Latin dictionary. However mostly the work of one man, and therefore idionsyncratic and avowedly very far from complete. Strongest on legal and technical language; very little on classical Latin in the Middle Ages.
A. Souter, A Glossary of Later Latin to 600 AD (1949, Oxford)
Aims to update and complete the Christian material in Lewis & Short (see above)
Part of Database of Latin Dictionaries
Includes only words or usages not found in classical Latin, so cannot be used on its own, but is often a quick and thorough source for words not easily found elsewhere.
A. Blaise, Dictionnaire Latin-Français des auteurs chrétiens (1954, Turnhout)
A dictionary of Christian Latin, 2nd to 7th century. Includes standard classical Latin vocabulary. Definitions are in French
Part of Database of Latin Dictionaries
Very thorough; focus is largely theological
A. Blaise, Dictionnaire Latin-Français des auteurs du moyen âge (1975, Turnhout)
1 volume dictionary of new words and usages in medieval and more recent Latin. Definitions are in French.
Part of Database of Latin Dictionaries
Abbreviates and supplements Du Cange, ecclesiastical focus
J. G. T. Graesse et al, Orbis Latinus (1861, Dresden; 4th edition: 1972, Braunschweig)
Dictionary of Latin place names
Invaluable for identifying places in Latin texts of all periods. For ancient place names, see also Trismegistos (with maps and data on inscriptions, archaelogical remains, etc). Searchable list of some Latin places names here.
Forcellini, Onomasticon (ed. J. Perrin, 1940, Padua)
Latin to Latin dictionary of proper names (people + places) from the Bible and classical / late antiquity.
Part of Database of Latin Dictionaries
First version published in the 19th century as a supplement to Forcellini’s Lexicon (see above).
R. Hoven, Dictionary of Renaissance Latin from Prose Sources (2006, Leiden – Boston)
1 volume dictionary of new words and usages in Latin prose from Petrarch to Justus Lipsius. Definitions in French and English
Digital version for subscribers.
A similar online project here.
Apparently the only in print dictionary of Renaissance Latin.
Glossaire du Latin philosophique
200,000 index cards, compiled by the Institut de Recherche et d’Histoire des Textes, collecting definitions of philosophical concepts in medieval authors
Hand-written index cards, with copies of Latin definitions, untranslated. So not ideal, but there is no rival source on the same scale for philosophical Latin.
The Database of Latin Dictionaries gives simultaneous access to 22 Latin dictionaries, including some listed above and below (see guide), and is availabe to KCL users and at the Warburg. The open-access Logeion project allows simultaneous searching in a number of Greek and Latin lexica, including several of the dictionaries listed above and below. Gerhard Köbler’s Wörterbuch (also via Corpus Corporum) is an ongoing (?) project to merge classical and medieval dictionaries. For non-English (French, German, Italian, Spanish, etc) dictionaries of classical / Late Antique Latin, see also Lexilogos and Collatinus. For dictionaries used in the Middle Ages and Early Modern period, see again the Database of Latin Dictionaries, and the digital edition of the Carolingian Liber Glossarum.
To the above list must be added the national and regional dictionaries of medieval Latin, complete or ongoing projects from various parts of Europe. The principle of dividing medieval Latin by modern administrative borders is questionable, corresponding more to current funding structures than to medieval realities. However the overall quality of these dictionaries is high, and they contain many words that cannot be found elsewhere. Do not hesitate to look up a word in a dictionary from a country other than that of the text you are reading.
This group of dictionaries is most easily consulted on the ground floor of the Warburg Institute library, where they are all shelved together. Definitions in them are in the relevant national language, unless otherwise noted.
Place, period; content
Current state of completion - digital version
Bohemia, circa 1000-circa 1500; includes classical Latin; definitions in Czech and Latin
A-myya. Updated version partially available through the Database of Latin Dictionaries.
Great Britain (not Ireland), 6th century – 16th century; includes classical Latin
Great Britain (including Ireland), 6th century – 16th century; very little classical Latin
complete (1 volume – replaced by preceding entry)
Glossarium Mediae Latinitatis Cataloniae
Catalonia, 800 to 1100; no classical Latin
Lexicon Mediae Latinitatis Danicae
Denmark (+ some Icelandic sources), up to the Reformation; includes classical Latin
German-speaking countries, from circa 500 up to circa 1380; includes classical Latin; definitions in German and Latin.
Lexicon Latinitatis Medii Aevi Hungariae
Hungary, 12th century to 1526; includes classical Latin; definitions in Hungarian and Latin.
A-I (but see also the shorter Glossarium mediae et infimae latinitatis regni Hungariae, available through the Database of Latin Dictionaries)
Ireland (+ other Celtic sources), circa 400 to circa 1200; no classical Latin
Latino Medioevale Istriano
Istria, up to 16th century; no classical Latin; definitions in Italian
Complete (1 volume)
Latinitatis Italicae Medii Aevi Lexicon (use 2001 edition)
Italy, end of 5th century to beginning of 11th century; includes classical Latin; definitions in Latin
Complete (but calls itself a “lexicon imperfectum”). Updated version available through the Database of Latin Dictionaries.
Kingdom of León, 8th century – 1230; includes classical Latin; definitions in Spanish
Complete (but calls itself a “lexicon imperfectum”)
Available through Database of Latin Dictionaries
Netherlands, up to 1500; no classical Latin; definitions in Dutch and Latin
Poland, roughly 1000-1506; includes classical Latin; definitions in Polish and Latin
Vocabolario di Latino Medievale in Sicilia
Sicily, 15th-16th centuries; no classical Latin
Glossarium Mediae Latinitatis Sueciae
Sweden, up to 15th century (?); no classical Latin; definitions in Swedish and German
Complete (but supplement awaited)
Lexicon Latinitatis medii aevi Iugoslaviae
Ex-Yugoslavia, early Middle Ages (?) to end of 15th century; no classical Latin; definitions in Serbo-Croat (as was) and Latin
There are many individual editions of various texts and authors (see below: Bibliographical Resources), but Latin and Greek writings do tend to come out as part of large series. Here are some of the main ones.
Critical edition of Latins (and Greek) texts
Quality generally very high in more recent volumes. No post-classical authors except St. Isidore of Seville (Origines)
Bilingual Latin (and Greek)-English texts
Full digital version (KCL log-in required)
Quality is quite variable. Some post-classical authors (St. Jerome, St. Augustine, Venerable Bede…)
Les Belles Lettres / Collection des Universités de France
Critical editions of Latin (and Greek) texts with French translation
Quality of editing is variable; notes generally very helpful. Has traditionally focussed on classical texts, but medieval and renaissance series are expanding.
Critical editions of Latin and Greek texts
The largest and oldest (founded 1811) of the classical text series, with very variable quality of editions. Includes some post-classical and Renaissance texts.
Works of Latin Christian writers, from the 2nd century to 1216
Almost entirely reprints of 16th – 18th century editions, but remains the most easily accessible text for many authors. Original plates were destroyed by fire in 1868, and subsequent “reprints” of PL are of poor quality.
Critical editions of the Latin fathers
Main focus is on 3rd- 5th centuries; quality of editions very variable.
Corpus Christianorum – Series Latina
Critical editions of the Latin fathers
Early editions sometimes of poor quality; has since greatly improved.
Corpus Christianorum – Continuatio Mediaevalis
Critical editions of medieval Latin texts
When it exists, almost always to be preferred to earlier editions
Bilingual Latin (and Greek) – French editions of patristic and medieval Christian texts
Digital version forthcoming
Series quality very high. Often contains very helpful notes, sometimes full commentaries.
Texts relating to the history of medieval Germany
A huge series, ongoing since 1819. “Germaniae” and “Historica” are interpreted very liberally: includes texts of many types, times and regions. Quality of editions is generally very high.
Texts relating to the history of medieval England and Ireland.
Texts relating to the history of medieval Italy (500 to 1500)
Catalogue of volumes available online.
Original series published by L. A. Muratori (1723-51). Second series pubished 1900-75. Third series began publication in 1999.
Original texts of lives of the saints, arranged by month
Much useful information on the Bollandist website.
Publication has been ongoing since 1643, so series reflects varying methods of scholarship over 350 years. The plan to publish by month has now been abandoned.
Oxford (prev. Nelson’s) Medieval Texts
Bilingual Latin-English editions of a variety of medieval sources
High quality editions, mostly British sources.
Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library
Bilingual Latin-English editions of medieval texts
A newer series, apparently mainly focussed on increasing number of texts (Latin, Greek, vernaculars, etc) availabe in English translation
Fondazione Lorenzo Valla
Bilingual Latin (or Greek)-Italian editions of classical and medieval writers
More classical than medieval texts. Generally high-quality editions with very detailed notes.
I Tatti Renaissance Library
Bilingual Latin-English texts of Italian Renaissance authors
Has few, if any rivals, but remains a small series. Notes can be rather sparse.
The Bloomsbury neo-Latin series has similar ambitions, and will not be restricted to Italy.
The list below aims to be useful, but will inevitably be very incomplete, as the amount of Latin online is constantly growing.
Note that some – presumably more all the time – of the separate resources listed below are combined, with still other texts, on one site, the Corpus Corporum .
Name / URL
Classical Latin and Greek and texts online; all words hyperlinked to dictionary definitions.
Quality control is high, but all texts are from out of copyright editions, therefore sometimes outdated. Can be slow.
Latin texts of all periods
Some sites produced by academics, others by generous amateurs. Reliability of texts is variable, but (1) and (8), at least, have carefully checked texts, and (8) has various sophisticated tools for exploring Latin poetry.
Library of Latin Texts (Brepolis database)
Latin texts of all periods, with a core of classical and patristic texts
Very large and constantly expanding, so that content at any one time is hard to determine. Texts have been carefully checked. Designed for searching, not reading. Series B texts are less literary than Series A, but the distinction is not always clear.
Lists and describes Latin and other texts of which there are online critical editions
Diplomatic documents from the Papal Curia
The printed Magnum Bullarium, collecting papal bulls up to 1730, has also been digitalised.
Texts and documents in Latin from Italy, s. 11-15
Full text databases of various Latin sources
See link for list of Latin authors.
aims to include all classical and late antique inscriptions
Enormous, but provides limited background information and is not free from errors. Very useful links to other online epigraphy projects. Can be supplemented by the scanned versions of the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum.
Databases of Roman Inscriptions
Full text of main sources of Roman Law (classical and late antique) .
(3) available at Institute of Classical Studies
For help understanding it all, use Berger’s Dictionary of Roman Law.
Sources for medieval canon law
Classical and late antique Latin (and Greek) medical texts
Scanned texts of printed editions
Classical, late antique and early medieval Latin grammarians
Based on up-to-date editions, but quotations are not yet fully identified.
Main site is often down, but texts are also here.
Late antique, medieval and early modern Latin texts on music
Latins text written AD 400 - 1200 in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany and the Isle of Man
Medieval and early modern texts from Italy, in both Latin and Italian
A mix of digital texts and scans of early printed editions.
Databases of incipits of Latin texts
Very helpful for identifying texts in MSS or elsewhere
Digital editions + translations of neo-Latin texts
Site design is rudimentary, and texts can contain typos. But publishes many texts for which there is no other modern edition and/or translation.
Catalogues of editions of early printed texts, including digitalised copies
Resources for Renaisssance and Early Modern Latin. (1) includes only Latin texts; (2) and (3) aim to list all books printed before 1500 and 1600, respectively; (3) assembles poetry, dictionares, and encyclopedias.
See also the Indices zur Lateinischen Literatur der Renaissance
There are also websites and databases devoted to individual authors, and containing some or all of their works in Latin, e.g. Aristotle in Latin (‘Aristoteles Latinus’ database at the Warburg), St. Augustine (Latin and Italian, French, Confessions + commentary), Tertullian, St. Thomas Aquinas, Robert Grosseteste, etc. The Corpus Scriptorum Latinorum provides a substantial catalogue of available texts, by author.
There are of course many online versions of the Latin Vulgate Bible, of which this is probably the most reliable. The Vetus Latina database (KCL has access) reconstructs the test of pre-Vulgate versions of the Latin Bible (more resources for these translations here; a guide to all early versions of the Latin New Testament here). Sacra Pagina is portal to online versions of the major glossed Bibles of the later Middle Ages.
The number of medieval Latin manuscripts available online is ever increasing (a US union catalogue here, a list by modern repository here, and a map by city here; a digitalised and updated Codices Latini Antiquiores here, with links to all digitalised manuscripts). There is much valuable bibliographical material for manuscripts at the Scriptorium site (Scriptorium up to 2012 is online), and a gateway here to the enormous resources, including digitalized microfilms, of the Institut de Recherche et d’Histoires des Textes, while the Schoenberg database will attempt to list all medieval manuscripts.
[See here for a more extensive medieval latin bibliography]
The history of the editing of medieval Latin is complex and varied. Many texts are still awaiting a first edition; others have not been edited in the modern era, and we have to use 18th century, or earlier, editions. Simply finding a text can be a challenge, finding a good edition of it an even greater one.
Standard reference works are a good starting point when hunting for texts. In particular, the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church and the Lexicon des Mittelalters provide generous bibliography for authors and texts lemmatised.
Among the more elaborate bibliographical tools, the following are particularly useful: