Capitalization in Latin?

By Anonymous, in 'General Latin Chat (English)', Dec 7, 2008.

  1. Anonymous Guest

    I am confused about how and whether to capitalise text written in Latin. The Cambridge Latin Course only uses capitals for proper nouns, but other textbooks (like Wheelock's) also use capitals at the beginning of words etc. Is there a 'correct' way or is it only important to be consistent?

    Thank you!
  2. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    litore aureo
    Miniscules are a early mediaeval invention, and sentence capitalisation is slightly later. Words like Dominus or Deus started being capitalised around this time too. Although our modern capitals are based on Renaissance Capitals, which were based on Roman Capitals, the Romans used them for inscriptions, rather than writing on papyrus or wax tablets.

    Roman Rustic started to be used around the 1st Century AD, is reasonably legible, and looks very similar to modern capitals, so if you really wanted to be imitate the period you could write in all caps with full stops instead of spaces.

    As far as learning Latin goes, just do whatever your course expects, realising that no method is truly classical...
  3. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    litore aureo
    As an aside, the 'Gothic' Capitals were used to indicate the beginning of sentences or chapters. They were not used to make entire words, as you commonly see on modern tatoos. There was an earlier form of capitals used for this, and Renaissance capitals likewise, but I have never seen 'Gothic' used in this fashion...

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