From late antiquity to the early-modern era, Latin was the common language of western Europe. Latin supplied the idioms of commercial contracts and rarified philosophical commentaries, of classroom instruction and the law courts, of the liturgy and public administration, of student songs and saints’ lives. The ability to read Latin with ease is therefore an essential tool for any serious student of the Middle Ages.
Since the Centre’s inception, Latin has been at the heart of its teaching programme and the research agendas of many Centre faculty. In 1969, the Centre created the Medieval Latin Committee with a mandate to foster proficiency in Latin among all Centre students and more generally to promote the advanced study of Medieval Latin. The first aim has been realized in the generations of students who have passed through the Medieval Latin programme and examinations to emerge as fully proficient Latinists, many of whom have chosen to make Latin editing or the interpretation of medieval Latin texts the focus of their scholarship.
The second aim has borne fruit in the Toronto Medieval Latin Texts series, which now includes over thirty titles reflecting the extraordinary variety of medieval Latin writing and makes important texts available, some for the first time, in a format and at a price suitable for classroom teaching. More recent ventures include a substantial role in the launching of the Journal of Medieval Latin, dedicated to the publication of studies in Medieval Latin, and the creation of a Latin accreditation service available to scholars outside Toronto. In short, over the last forty years Toronto has established itself as unique in North America as a centre for the teaching and study of Medieval Latin.