Thursday, March 23, 2017

Anglo-Latinity: The Lost Tradition

In Elizabethan England, there were some 360 Grammar schools (higher than primary or elementary schools) teaching Latin to 9-12 year olds, about one school for every 12,000 persons. On this basis, we can estimate between 40,000 to 400,000 Latinate individuals at the height of the "Northern Re-nascance", perhaps 10% of the population at the high, but reasonable end of 10,000 graduates a year for the whole school system, for a whole generation. Of books and other published materials, Latin comprises about 10% in the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods (this is indeed compared to 90%+ of all available manuscript materials from earlier ages, the balance being the various vernacular tongues). Considering how much printed material is ephemeral, we can see that most of what we would assign to the realm of "Education" today would have been Latinate.

Latin speakers had an important minority status in Tudor and Early Stuart Britain, perhaps not unlike German-speakers in 19th century America, or Welsh-speakers today. Latin (and some Greek) was expected for anyone who could call himself a Gentleman, a member not only of the aristocratic nobility, but of the gentry as well. Anyone, of course, who had in mind a clerical or academic career would find himself in an environment where knowledge of Latin was taken for granted.

Connection with Latinate culture was also increasingly suspect, from the mid 16th century on.
The three crucial events for Anglo-Latinity, for the privileged but Latin-speaking minority of England and the rest of Britain, were: the Dissolution, the Gunpowder plot, and the Regicide of King Charles I. Taking the last first, we see, after 1649, the writing of Latin drops off markedly. We are left with an impression that the Latin-speaking minority was suddenly dispossessed, or went underground, or could no longer get their work published. This alone should indicate the political, ethnic, and racial (family-genetic-class) dimensions of Latinity.
Latin-speakers were not dispersed in the population. The supression of Latin, by the Commonwealth, has something of the air of ethnic cleansing about it.

Not all Commonwealth men were anti-Latinate. On the contrary, they were the first Conservatives. In overthrowing and dispossession the clerks, the prelates, the loyal gentry, and the monarchy, they took care to "save and preserve" what they respected. The lawyers who led the revolution continued to wish the barrier to entry that a reading and writing knowledge of Latin would present. Disputations at Oxford were conducted in Greek rather than Latin, since Greek was the language of the Bible, not the language of hated Rome. Thus, we get that curious mixture of pedantry and revolution, the hallmark of post-revolutionary Academia today.

It was also important to have a few expert Latinists about to carry on correspondence with the Enemy, who still occupied Europe. Thus, John Milton was put in charge of foreign correspondence. Even if one kills or locks up all the Latin-speakers and other linguists, you still need a few sound ones about to run the CIA and what not.

Thus, the critical phase of destroying the bilingual Anglo-Latin peoples and replacing them with an English-only commisarat did not do much to Latinate Education--except undermine its living basis. Where before there was a freshness and spontaneity about Latin, and strong connections looking further back for a millenium, after 1649 we have mere survivals, and a rising curve of academic excellence to fill in the void left by life, rather like formaldehyde in a dead corpse.

The other two turning points are easily related: the Dissolution destroyed the medieval school system. The founding of St. Paul's school and the King Edward Grammar schools were a partial remedy and a topic for another post.

The Gunpowder plot seems to have driven much of Latin literature underground for a decade--the beginning of the end, so to speak, as many Latinists must have gotten a foretaste of what was coming. If one plots the dates of Latinate drama in Elizabethan England, for example those available in the Library of Humanistic Texts, the production is quite robust up to 1605. Suddenly, everything is "anonymous Jesuit drama". One supposes the usual suspects were rounded up. The chilling effect is palpable. One suspects as well, just like the German-speaking communities in the Great War, or the Japanese Americans in the Second, that to be Latinate in the early Jacobean period was to come under instant suspicion.

In any event, these Anglo-Latinity posts will trace the history of the Anglo-Latins, from first beginnings up to the Age of Johnson or a bit beyond, and any survivals into the contemporary period.

Anglo-Latinity: John Milton's Role

We begin our study of the Anglo-Latin tradition with one of its chief destroyers, John Milton (1608/9-1674). Milton was born just after the accession of James I, the second King of America** (not to mention the first of a Britain uniting England to Scotland). Milton was educated at St. Paul's school, the heart of the Northern Re-nascance in England, i.e. the center point of the recovery of Anglo-Latinity that followed the disastrous Dissolution. Whether Elizabethan England ever achieve Latinate literacy levels of the early Tudors is still debated. The achievements, none the less, are impressive.

** the name for what we now call "America" was at first Virginia. The other colonies were carved out the whole. The name America is anachronistic here, of course.

At St. Paul's, Milton would have been immersed in the Humanist tradition of John Colet, Desiderius Erasmus, William Lily, Sir Thomas More, and others. The standard grammar book for the post-Dissolution phase of Anglo-Latinity (just as Donatus was before**) was a composite work prepared for St. Paul's under the direction of John Colet by William Lily, and containing contributions, corrections, and edits from Erasmus, and Lily's students. William Lily should not be confused with his grandson, the famous stylist and founder of Euphuism in Rhetoric, John Lily. Erasmus wrote his essay De Ratione Studii specifically as a blueprint for St. Paul's, and supplied De Duplici Copia Verborum** et Rerum, a Latin phrase-book for the better making of Latins. For spoken Latin, his dialogues, or Colloquia were already in circulation, as were his witty proverbs, Adagia, or adages. These texts remained at the core of Anglo-Latinity from the 16th century to the early 19th century. Numerous copies can be found in American libraries of the founding fathers. John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton, along with many others, are well within the tradition, if somewhat hostile to its implicit Toryism.

** the old-fashioned (obsolete, early Modern English) name for a grammar book is a "donate", in recognition of this fact. Copia verborum has been frequently mis-translated by those who have not understood that copia is the standard grammatical term in late Medieval Latin for a phrase. It is not "an abundance of words" but simply "a phrase". It is a term of art.

Lily's grammar was taken over bodily into later works, for use in the first two stages of Anglo-Latin education, the teaching of Accidence and Syntax, supplemented by instructions in sententiae and colloquies, as described by Prof. William Ziobo. See his Syllabus for Classical America at Holy Cross:

which is part of a larger site:

In addition to becoming the core teaching text of American Anglo-Latinity, along with "Cordery", or the Sententiae Pueriles of Corderius, Lily's grammar also became, from 1752 to 1868, the Eton Latin Grammar, thus projecting it beyond the period of Anglo-Latinity proper. In a future post, I will trace extracts from and references to this grammar in Franklin's New England Courant, American novels of the Federalist period, and finally its death as a punchline for a drinking toast, in a collection of witty after-dinner aphorisms for the new elite of the ante bellum American north.

Lily's grammar, or rather Thomas Linacre's first draft of it, as translated into Latin by Scotsman George Buchanan (digital page images), was revised by Milton in his old age as his work Accidence Commenc'd. This fact makes the bulk of Lily accessible to us today, since any university library of any worth will have, tucked away somewhere, the complete prose works of Milton in the Columbia edition. These fill a bookshelf, and cover almost all of English education in one way or another. Milton wrote, besides his famous poetry in English, poetry in Latin, Greek, and Italian, a History of Britain, a textbook on the Logic of Petrus Ramus, a revision of Lily's Grammar, various works on Politics (his most famous prose), in both English and Latin, and a work on Christian doctrine discovered in 1825. This corpus tells us what history by the victors and the reformed educational system would have looked like, had Cromwell's legacy not been to hang, posthumously, on the gibbet. It is, in short, a complete blueprint for a Puritan theocratic tyranny, run by Conservative-leaning Liberals rather than Tories of course.

But Milton's revision of Lily, being conservative, leaves most of it intact and puts it in all our libraries. To get an idea of how much he retained, 350 of 550 quotations are taken bodily from Lily. In other words, about 70% is retained. (to be continued)

So Many Scandals, So Little Time

There are so many scandals and 'Gates' in the last year I though I'd take a thread to review them all.  It is easy to confuse them two -- I count 26, and that's just in the US related to Clinton, Trump, and the Election.  I'm pretty sure that the US Public gets confused wheneer computers are mentioned -- which is one reason the Russians Haxor Us! story never dies.  It's got moar versions than there are Star Wars trilogies now.

By my count, first 4 scandals are 'ongoing' as we arrived in 2016...

01 Trump won't release his tax forms

02 Trump's business dealings with the Russians seem cozy, including his early campaign

These two didn't get a lot of traction, but they are there, and we needn't be partisan -- I don't think they've gone away either.

My motives aren't entirely pure -- I need these scandals to explain later ones. :D

03 wikileaks, snowden, and the guardian/intercept are Russian assets

This seems to be the settled opinion of the Intelligence Community, and they sure love to repeat it.  I'm not convinced -- there's another reading that has the CIA clipping the NSA's wing by running the Snowden operation themselves.  For one thing, very little of substance has ever been leaked, which is pretty suspicious of the Russians are trying to damage us.

I'm willing to entertain the idea, but what I'd like is some evidence that lets me *eliminate* one or the other hypothesis.  Confirming instances, in Science, are not as interesting as the hard to explain data.

04 alleged soft coup attempt 1 - includes Benghazi, Obama's BLM silence, silence about inauguration violence

This is the only scandal I'm going to put in the list that deals with Obama.  Clinton and Obama are alleged (by FBI Anon, Steele, and Pieczenik, and maybe Alex Jones) to have done a 'Soft Coup' on the US.  Exactly what that means has never been spelled out, but the allegations are always coupled with #PedoGate.  I'm pretty sure *this* scandal originates from our Intel Community, and it may have feet.

05 Comey's initial announcement, and FBIAnon

The thing with Loretta Lynch dropping the investigation into Emailgate (see below) was a scandal in and of itself.  Comey's handling was odd -- it is clear there was a problem there.  The first appearance of 'FBI Anon' is right after this sub-scandal.  It was to prove the gift that keeps on giving.

FBI Anon says whatever they found on the Benghazi server (see scandal #4) really shook the analysts up.

06 Guccifer 2.0 and the DNC Hacks

The early story about this was goofy.  Later on, it was shown that the leaked documents were modified within 30 minutes of creation.  Probably, an insider leaked them and invented the hacker backstory as cover.  it didn't work.

07 Hillary's Emailgate

Schindler was carping on this for ages too.  Clinton passed around GAMMA level info like it was an invitation to the golf club.  She had access to information she had no need to know, and held it in insecure places -- even the SCIF she allegedly had at home is (1) not where the server was kept and (2) probably not secure.  Then there's the 'pay for play' angle, which is treason.

08 Clinton Foundation Scandal

The darkest of them all.  'Nuff said.  I'm not sure the world really wants to know.

I once looked out my bedroom window at 3am and saw a bum picking through my weber grill, looking for meat to eat.  I asked him what he was up to.  'No good, Sir' was his reply -- indeed.

09 Clinton Gun Running

I'm surprised no one really cares.  Where there are guns, there are drugs and human trafficking, which people do care about though.  And who the Hell *did* we arm in the Middle East.  All roads do lead back to Benghazi.

10 #PizzaGate and Spirit Cooking

What a nasty view we got of our 'elites'.  I've always been a skeptic about the specifics of PizzaGate, and moast especially against the idea these sorts of thing will ever see the light of day.  Probably best to close the books on this one, and roll any findings that have traction over into...

11 #PedoGate

I take this to mean the stuff around Epstein, Weiner, blackmailing and leaking to the Mossad.  It involves members of Congress who will need to be arrested and tried.  There are plenty of small fry in the lower echelons in the process of being cleaned up.  Arrests will be in the 1000s if they aren't already.

12 PussyGate and #NeverTrump Cuckservative Revolt in October

It's clear this was the Bush family jewels leaked to help the McCain - Clinton - McMuffin love triangle at the last minute.  it didn't work but came close.

13 Comey's Last Minute Flip-Flopping

Remember this? Two weekends before the election he re-opens the case on an investigation of one of the candidates (Weiner's laptop and subordinates might have forced his hand, or the NYPD).  Then, under pressure, he backed off.  I still reserve judgment about whether he's a good guy or not.  He's had a very tough position to play, maybe even tougher than Trump's.  There's good reason to say he's just a Clinton loyalist shilling for them, but I'm not so sure.  He may have served the Republic in the best way he could, but it was a damn fine thing.

14 Debate Scandals

Nobody really cares but it is quite offensive -- the HQ candidate gets questions in advance (against Bernie, and maybe a teleprompter against Trump), kid glove treatment by judges, and reveals Nuclear secrets, committing treason live on the air in front of a national audience, without so much as a wrist slap.  Disgusting, and proof that our Democracy is the merest farce, and the MSM no moar then civil servants and not servants to the Public either.

15 Election Rigging - Bernie edition

This story really needs moar investigation, since there may have been hanky-panky with the machines in the Hillary/Bernie contest.  It's a good thing Kenya supervised our *national* election or we might have had trouble with that.

16 Russian alleged hacking of critical infrastructure, National Election

The rumour the Russians hacked our voating machines floated by the Obama administration was clear proof the Lawn Jockey in Chief was irresponsible and unworthy of his office.

I'm pretty sure there are Liberals who think this happened, and confuse it with all other mentions of 'computer' and 'Russian' in the same breath.

17 Last minute FBIVault Tweets

I lean towards the theory this was a software glitch, but I can't disprove the idea someone might have exploited the software to send a 'message' on a one time basis, around the time of Comey's late October surprise.

18 Weiner's Laptop and the non-Revolt by the NYPD

This one was odd.  Weiner's laptop is a scandal in its own right -- probably close to the 'big one' that is still out there.

19 Russian 'Electoral Interference' and the attempt at subserting the Electoral College - Soft Coup 2

People who like to say 'there was a soft coup' like to shift the goal poasts and turn scandal #4 (2011-2012) to scandal #19 (2016).  But it is true that the powers behind the Soft Coup did try a last minute Hail Mary pass with recounts, protests, and electoral college shenanigans, greatly harming both the democratic process and our Republic in the process.  *That* is the scandal -- it didn't work.

20 DNI Report on Russian Hacking

What a farce.  No one technical was convinced, and the quality of information so low the theory died and came back from the dead as a Vampire in other scandals.  It will probably never die -- or be able to tolerate sunlight.

21 The Trump Dossier and its leak

Schindler called it right -- it's raw HUMINT.  Analysis to make it real intelligence has led nowhere too.  The people behind it should have been warning enough for any analyst to run.

22 Flynn resignation, and revelation of his name as having been under investigation

Flynn resigned, and none of the reasons given have learned to extract oxygen from water, much less gotten legs and crawled on land into the sunlight.  Probably, he mentioned to the Russian ambassador that someone near Pence was involved in #PedoGate, and Pence wanted blood.  In any event, the real crime was the unknown 'leaker' who revealed the name of a government official under investigation -- that's a Federal crime, that is.

This sort of thing is as serious as it gets (as one article put it).  We are in Valerie Plame territory -- targeting government workers to add credibility to a false cover story that is coming apart.   We're not done with this one.

23 7th part of FBI Vault series on HRC Emailgate

We learned two important things:  the chain of custody of a server that 'civil servants' were inclined to pretend they didn't have, and the fact that the 'SCIF' in Clinton's residence was routinely un-monitored and invaded by non-cleared personnel who, uh, took out the trash.  Right.

24 Trumps tweets about Wiretapping Trump tower

These had better be true, as the charges are very serious.  I'm inclined to give it a few months to see if this information is actionable, rather than a political tactic hoping for the short news cycle to bury it.  I believe the allegations and I think they'll stick, but it will take time.

25 Wikileaks Vault7, release 1

A very limited quantity of information, but only 1% of the total.  Nothing we didn't really know, and I have some questions about how much 'massaging' of the data they do to -- both too much and not enough to prevent very serious damage to the CIA.  Not that I mind, in our current national mood.

I expect there to be some really nasty surprises in the other 99%, but people will get boared with the low pace of release.  This will, however, be bigger than Snowden.

26 Trump's Tax form release

What a fizzle.  But I don't think we've seen the end of this sort of thing.  It might have been an internal float to trace leaks and do spin control in advance.

Whew -- that was 26 scandals.  A whole alphabet's worth.  Wow.