Outline of Latin Literature

For a more narrative description, especially of the post-classical period, see "Post-Classical Latin" (menu tab above)
For particular (bold-face) authors, see "Characteristics of" that author (under the “Latin Language” menu tab)

[Monarchy: 753-509 BC: fragments, non-literary]

Early Period: 3rd-2nd century BC (Roman republic)

Characterized by: Greek influence (contact with Greeks in southern Italy; conquest of Greek mainland);
some written for school texts
epics (fragments) (Ennius; Naevius)
drama (Plautus and Terence)
non-fiction prose (Cato)

"Classical Latin" (c. 80 BC (republic)- AD 200 (empire)

" Golden Age” (c. 80 BC – AD 14) (including reign of Augustus/Octavian, first emperor)
history (Caesar)
Cicero (oratory, philosophy)
Vergil (Aeneid)
Hellenistic Greek influence (shorter, more personal works; show of learning and wit)
lyric poetry (Catullus, Horace, etc.)
"Post-Augustan” (Silver Latin)” (c. ad 14 – 138 (empire)
Ovid, Seneca, Tacitus, Pliny, Martial, Juvenal
fondness for archaisms


("classical" period of Roman Law)(Gaius, Codex Theodosianus)
Patristic/Late Latin (2nd-5th centuries AD)
Christian authors (Ambrose, Jerome/Hieronymus, Augustine)
Vulgate edition of the Bible (Jerome/Hieronymus)

encyclopedias; epitomes; commentaries
Medieval (6th-14th centuries)
Magna Carta, Aquinas
Neo-(classical)- Latin (beginning c. 15th century) Renaissance and after
(academic writing; scholarly correspondence; literary works; scientific terms)
Dante, Petrarch
Erasmus, Milton,
Copernicus, William Harvey,
Descartes, Newton, Leibniz, Linnaeus, C.S. Lewis, etc.

Notes on Dating

c. = circa "approximately, about" used for dates known roughly but not exactly.
fl. = floruit used for the apparent or traditional "prime" (or height of active) period of a person’s life.

Millennium/cnetury # = dates beginning with a number one lower (thousands/hundres), e.g.
3rd millennium = 20000’s (3000-2001 BC; AD 2001-3000)
8th century = 700’s (800-701 BC; AD 701-800)
beginning of the century = higher numbers (BC); lower numbers (AD)
e.g.: first quarter of the 8th century = c. 800-775 BC; AD 701-725