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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 February 2020

Michael Lapidge*
Clare College, Cambridge, UK


A substantial number of passiones (some forty) of Roman martyrs was composed at Rome and its environs between the early fifth and late seventh century (c. 425 – c. 675). Although these texts have hitherto been neglected by students of the Latin language (not least because they are only available in early printed editions dating from the fifteenth to seventeenth centuries, none of which are easily accessible), they provide a valuable witness to changes in the language during that period, when, as a reflex of developments in the spoken language and of deterioration in educational standards, written Latin began to exhibit a rightward shift of verb satellites (change to VO-order in main clauses, placement of the infinitive after the modal auxiliary, placement of the dependent genitive after its noun etc.), as well as a number of associated linguistic features. These changes are illustrated by statistical analyses, the results of which are presented in accompanying tables.

Research Article
Copyright © The Author(s) 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Cambridge Philological Society.

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