Departures from Classical Syntax and Grammar

If you are coming to "Bartholomew's World" from a background of studying Classical Latin, there are a few differences you will notice in the Medieval Latin texts here on the site. For the most part, though, you will find that the rules of Classical Latin still apply. Here are a few things to look out for:

Where in Classical Latin the indirect statement takes the accusative-infinitive construction, in Medieval Latin, indirect statements are often rendered as quod-clauses with nominative subjects and indicative verbs. So the classical indirect statement in the sentence, Dicit Caesarem vicisse ("He says that Caesar has won") is frequently rendered, Dicit quod Caesar vicit.

Demonstrative pronouns do not always maintain their sharp distinctions in Medieval Latin: hic, ille, iste can serve as definite articles, and meanings may be interchanged.

The preposition in plus the ablative can replace of the Classical ablative of time.

The gerund in the ablative is used instead of a present participle to express attendant circumstance. For instance, the Classical Latin cantat currens, ("He sings while he runs") would be rendered, cantat currendo.

The use of est plus the past participle, which in Classical Latin is used to form the Perfect Passive, sometimes keeps its literal form, so amata est, which means, "she was loved," in Classical Latin may mean, she is loved in Medieval Latin.

Use of the subjunctive is not consistent: often the subjunctive will not be used in ut clauses. At times, the use of the subjunctive in conditionals may not follow the Classical Latin conventions.


Note that medieval authors also changed Latin spellings, but very few of these changes are made consistently.  So we have standardized spelling according to the Classical model to make it easier to use dictionaries and other reference sources.


Medieval Latin - Wikipedia