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Aspects of the Language of Latin Prose$
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Tobias Reinhardt, Michael Lapidge, and J. N. Adams

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780197263327

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197263327.001.0001

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William of Malmesbury and the Latin Classics Revisited

William of Malmesbury and the Latin Classics Revisited

(p.383) William of Malmesbury and the Latin Classics Revisited
Aspects of the Language of Latin Prose

R. M. Thomson

British Academy

William of Malmesbury was probably the greatest historian of England between Bede and Macaulay. He was born around 1090 and disappears from the historical record late in 1142; from childhood until the end of his life he was a monk of the ancient Benedictine foundation of Malmesbury in Wiltshire. The chapter mentions his florilegium, the Polyhistor, a compendium of information about ancient peoples and places that drew on both pagan and Christian writers of antiquity: there are eighteen pagan works. William’s invocation of ancient texts certainly adds dignity to his narrative, but it did not necessarily contribute to his historical accuracy. His classicizing occasionally led him to surprisingly unmonastic, and indeed un-Christian, sentiments and language.

Keywords:   William, Malmesbury, Polyhistor, language, Wiltshire

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