This is a history of Latin between the 16th and 20th centuries, a period when the language dominated the civic and sacred worlds of Europe and, arguably, the entire Western world. The book explores the institutional contexts in which the language was adopted and transmitted, as well as the privilege it came to confer on those that studied it. Waquet demonstrates how Latin became a symbol of status and ultimately shows that, rather than disappearing, this has given way to a nostalgic exoticism such that water companies and car models now use Latin names. This is a work of reference, but it is also a cultural history, detailing the power struggles that took place in education and the world of science over Latin's status.
Francoise Waquet is a director of research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris. Among her previous books are Les fetes royales sous la Restauration ou l'Ancien Regime retrouve and, with Hans Bots, La Republique des Lettres.