In 2005, the Library of Latin Texts was launched online on the Brepolis website where, today, it is part of a comprehensive cluster of databases relating to the study of Latin.
This cluster consists of full-text databases (namely, the Library of Latin Texts – Series A, the Library of Latin Texts – Series B, the Monumenta Germaniae Historica, the Archive of Celtic-Latin Literature and the Aristoteles Latinus Database) and Latin dictionaries (under the heading of the Database of Latin Dictionaries).
The Library of Latin Texts (a project that was started in 1991 as the Cetedoc Library of Christian Latin Texts, CLCLT) is produced by the Centre ‘Traditio Litterarum Occidentalium’ (CTLO) under the direction of Pr. Paul Tombeur.
Since 2009 the Library of Latin Texts has consisted of two parts, each of which can be subscribed to separately. Now, with the byname Series A, the Library of Latin Texts steps forward together with its companion database, the Library of Latin Texts – Series B, LLT-B for short, which serves as a supplement to the LLT-A. This new database often integrates huge corpora of texts and so develops at a faster pace than the LLT-A. Together, the two databases aim to input the largest possible number of Latin texts and to make them available and searchable as one large corpus. This is as a response to the growing needs of scholars to have access to a wide range of first-class text material. The two databases are continually updated with additional material.
Scope and aim
The LLT-A is the world’s leading database for Latin texts, offering texts from the beginnings of Latin literature down to the present day.
In total, the present version of the LLT-A contains more than 83 million Latin words, drawn from more than 4,124 works that are attributed to approximately 1,363 authors.
The texts which are incorporated are selected from the best editions available and when possible established according to best contemporary scholarly practice. Great efforts have been undertaken to verify facts relating to the text, such as the veracity of the authorial attribution or the dating. The printed text has often been enhanced by correcting detected typographical errors. In order to isolate, as far as possible, the words proper to each work, a distinction is made between the original text and the “paratextual” elements.
When the project was started in 1991 its purpose was to produce a database comprising the entirety of patristic and medieval Christian Latin literature.
The new name, Library of Latin Texts, that was adopted in 2002, refers to the expansion of the chronological limits that were originally set, as well as to the broadening of its horizon which now integrates the initial Christian outlook into a general cultural perspective. The aim now is to offer a database that continues to expand and aims to comprise not only Latin literature from the patristic and medieval periods but also from Antiquity and the early-modern and modern eras. The Library of Latin Texts – Series A gathers Latin texts of all genres and all periods. Great importance is attached to translations, essentially from Greek originals, into Latin.
With regard to this corpus, the objective of the database can be summarised in the brief sentence: “Who said what, when, where, and how many times?”
The textual material integrated into the database forms the first of the two pillars on which the Library of Latin Texts is built, the other one being a rich pool of sophisticated search tools.
The LLT-A is a Latin full-text database which enables the user to profit from an elaborate system of tools that can be used with the help of a multilingual interface (English, French, German and Italian):
– The database can be used in order to read texts as a whole, to search for words and expressions, to access individual texts by means of their references, to examine the distribution of word-forms across the entire database, or to analyse vocabulary within an individual work by displaying an exhaustive concordance for each form that is part of that work.
– The user can execute a search across all the texts in the database or, with the help of filters, define a subset and limit the search to one or more periods within the corpus, to one or more authors, as well as to one or more titles of works.
– Other criteria for formulating queries are the century of composition and, for works of the Patristic Period, the serial number in a specific catalogue of works belonging to this period (the Clavis Patrum Latinorum).
– Far from being limited to queries for single words, the user can search for groups of words or for a particular expression.
– Search possibilities can be extended by the use of Boolean and proximity operators.
– The order of precedence of the search terms within a query can be organised.
– Queries can be simplified by using wildcards.
– By default, the field to which a query is applied is the sentence as delimited in the used text edition (“the string of text going from full stop to full stop”).
– The target of queries can be widened by extending it to groups of three sentences.
– The LLT makes it possible to perform a ‘similarity search’ (a kind of ‘fuzzy search’). This procedure offers the possibility of quickly searching for strings of text that are not absolutely identical to those which are entered in the search field. It was developed to assist the user to find the origin of quotations or other text without requiring knowledge of the exact words and/or their order.
– By using the Cross Database Searchtool,the LLT-A can be searched online together with the Library of Latin Texts – Series B, the Monumenta Germaniae Historica, the Archive of Celtic-Latin Literature and the Aristoteles Latinus Database. The Cross Database Searchtool offers different statistical tools for accessing the included databases and allows the user to compare the vocabulary of text corpora which can be freely chosen on the basis of the included data, according to whatever needs and requirements arise.
– A direct link to the Database of Latin Dictionaries (which integrates different types of Latin dictionaries, whether modern, medieval or early-modern) allows the user to find relevant dictionary entries for Latin word-forms that appear in texts displayed by the LLT-A, with immediate access to the articles in the selected dictionaries.
Scientific responsibility and international Partners
The LLT-A is based to a large extent on a collaboration between the CTLO and the editorial staff of the Corpus Christianorum. The ‘Centre Traditio Litterarum Occidentalium’ (CTLO) continues and develops the former activities in the field of Latin studies of Cetedoc, a centre which was founded by the Université catholique de Louvain at Louvain-la-Neuve and has been developed jointly by Brepols Publishers and the university.
Texts have been integrated into the database with the permission of many publishers. The literature of Classical Antiquity and the late antique pagan texts have been essentially taken from the Bibliotheca scriptorum Romanorum Teubneriana through the Bibliotheca Teubneriana Latina (© Walter de Gruyter).
The editions published within the Corpus Christianorum series have been used for the Christian texts of late antiquity and for the medieval literature. In a certain number of cases cases the use of Migne’s Patrologogia Latina was inevitable. Many texts have also been taken from other scientific collections such as the Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum of Vienna or the Sources Chrétiennes series. As far as possible, the standard critical editions have been used, e. g. for the Latin Bible, the Decretum Gratiani or the opera omnia of Anselm of Canterbury, Bernard of Clairvaux and Thomas Aquinas.
A significantly large number of texts have been used with the permission of the Analecta Bollandiana, the Commissio Leonina, the Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum (CSEL), the Franciscan Institute St. Bonaventure, New York, the Frati Editori di Quaracchi (Fondazione Collegio San Bonaventura), the Lessico Intelletuale Europeo e Storia delle Idee (Roma), the Index Thomisticus (Associazione per la Computerizzazione delle Analisi Ermeneutiche e Lessicologiche – CAEL), the Institute of History Belgrade, the Leuven University Press, the Lexicon musicum Latinum (Munich), the Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Oxford University Press, Peeters Publishers (Leuven), the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies (Toronto), the Revue Bénédictine, the Sources Chrétiennes, the Walter de Gruyter GmbH, the Württembergische Bibelgesellschaft and many others.
We thank numerous persons for their intervention: Pr. Michael Bernhard, Father Pierre-Maurice Bogaert OSB, Pr. Virginia Burrus, Father Roberto Busa SJ († 2011), Pr. Girard J. Etzkorn, Pr. Tullio Gregory, Mgr. Roger Gryson, Father Romain-Georges Mailleux OFM, Father Benedikt Mertens OFM, Father Adriano Oliva OP, Pr. Riccardo Pozzo, Pr. Antonio Zampolli († 2003), and many others.
Within the entire body of Latin texts, LLT-A distinguishes eight so-called ‘periods’ or ‘categories’.
First, five chronological divisions have been adopted:
– Antiquitas, which contains the works of so-called Classical Antiquity (from the beginning until, roughly, the end of the second century);
– Aetas patrum I for works of Late Antiquity (until 500);
– Aetas patrum II for works composed between 501 and the death of the Venerable Bede (735);
– Medii aeui scriptores for medieval works (736-1500);
– Recentior latinitas for works composed between 1501 and 1965.
To these chronological layers are added three thematic subdivisions, essentially concerning translations from Greek that belong to various chronological periods:
– the Corpus Pseudepigraphorum latinorum Veteris Testamenti, which groups together Latin translations of parabiblical texts;
– the Biblia sacra iuxta Vulgatam, which concerns the Latin translations of biblical texts grouped together under the name of Vulgate;
– the Concilia oecumenica et generalia Ecclesiae catholicae, which contains Latin translations of decrees issuing from ecumenical councils of the patristic age, translations which may, entirely or in part, belong to different centuries. Thus the system adopted forms a guarantee against potentially misleading chronological assignment.
– The first chronological part of the database comprises the entire corpus of Latin Literature from Classical Antiquity up to the second century A.D. (works with an independent textual tradition: the opera omnia of Plautus, Terence, Caesar, Cicero, Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Livy, the Senecas, the two Plinys, Tacitus, Quintilian and others). The texts from this section come essentially from the Bibliotheca scriptorum Romanorum Teubneriana (© Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG).
– The second chronological part of the databases comprises the patristic Latin literature that starts around 200 A.D. with Tertullian and ends with the death of the Venerable Bede in 735. It offers the complete works of important patristic writers such as Ambrose, Augustine, Ausonius, Cassian, Cyprian, Magnus Felix Ennodius, Gregory the Great, Jerome, Marius Victorinus, Novatian, Paulinus of Nola, Prudentius, Rufinus of Aquileia, Salvian, Tertullian, Victor of Vita, the Latin translations of the Apostolic Fathers, and many rich corpora of authors such as Boethius, Cassiodorus, Eucherius of Lyon, Gennadius of Massilia, Hilary of Poitiers, Ildefonus of Toledo, Isidore, and Bede. It also contains non-Christian literature of that period, by authors such as Ammianus Marcellinus, Claudian, Macrobius, Martianus Capella, or the Scriptores Historiae Augustae. This second part also contains the complete critical text of the Latin Bible according to the Vulgate, the corpus of Latin Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, and the Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils of Late Antiquity.
– The third chronological part: The medieval literature in the database comprises Latin literature after 735 and includes a large number of texts up to 1500. This part of the database includes the complete works of many medieval authors such as Anselm of Canterbury, Beatus of Liebana, Bernard of Clairvaux, Rupert of Deutz, Sedulius Scottus, Thomas Aquinas, Thomas a Kempis, Thomas of Celano or William of St. Thierry. It also includes the Sentences and the Commentaries on the Pauline epistles of Peter Lombard, the Rationale of Guillaume Durand and important works by Abelard, Bonaventure, Hildegard of Bingen, Hugh of Saint Victor, Jan Hus, Ramon Llull, William of Ockham, Walter of Châtillon’s Alexandreis, an important collection of hagiographical texts and of liturgical works, a huge corpus of works related to the beginnings of the Franciscan order, and many others.
The fourth chronological part applies to Neo-Latin Literature (1501-1965). This part of the database already contains over 4 million words and continues to develop. It includes, for instance, the decrees from the modern ecumenical Church councils up to Vatican II, the Latin translations of John of Ruusbroec made by the German Carthusian Laurentius Surius, important Latin works of René Descartes, Lipsius’ De constantia, the Christianae religionis institutio of Calvin (according to the edition of 1559), poetical works by Joachim du Bellay and by the Jesuit Jacob Balde, the epic Colombus poem of Ubertino Carrara SJ, the complete works of Lawrence of Brindisi, and many others..
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Biblioteca Teubneriana Latina: Original work © Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, All rights reserved