In Which I Regret Not Knowing German

For those of you not familiar with the Classics community or who have never taken an upper-level Latin course, allow me to explain one unhappy truth for English-speaking students of Latin: in Classical philology, the Germans reign supreme. Philology, translated loosely from Greek as “the love of learning/reason,” has come to mean the study of a language’s grammar, history and literary tradition, and thus Classical philology deals with the historical and literary tradition of Ancient Greek, Classical Latin, and occasionally Sanskrit. Apparently the 19th century Germans loved this particular vein of learning so much that they made Classical philology a tenet of any complete German higher education. So if a modern-day student is, hypothetically, researching the transition of the Latin language between two different eras as it appears in a particular inscription, a simple search through the Swem article database will yield more than a few results beginning with “Handbuch der Lateinischen…” or “Ausfuhrliche Grammatik der lateinischen…”

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