Old Latin

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For the Old Latin Bible used before the Vulgate, see Vetus Latina.

Missing image
Forum_inscription.jpg
The Forum inscription is one of the oldest known Latin inscriptions. It is written boustrophedon (alternating right-to-left and left-to-right), albeit irregularly: reading from top to bottom, lines 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16 run from right to left; lines 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 13, and 15, from left to right; 8, 9, and 16 are upside down. (From a rubbing by Domenico Comparetti.)

Old Latin or Early Latin refers to the period of Latin texts before the age of Classical Latin.

Phonological characteristics of older Latin are the case endings -os and -om (later Latin -us and -um), as well as the existence of diphthongs such as oi and ei (later Latin ū or oe, and ī). In many locations, classical Latin turned intervocalic /s/ into /r/. This had implications for declension: early classical Latin, honos, honoris; Classical honor, honoris ("honour"). Some Old Latin texts preserve /s/ in this position, such as the Carmen Arvale's lases for lares.

Notable Old Latin fragments:

Writers of later, but still early Latin:

See also


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