Medieval LOLs: How to Swear in Latin

Irina Dumitrescu and Mary Wellesley

All teachers know that the best way for students to learn a language is through swear words, and nobody knew this better than Aelfric Bata, a monk from Winchester whose Colloquies, compiled in around the year 1000, instructed pupils to swear in Latin with elaborate and vivid fluency. Mary and Irina work through some of Aelfric’s fruitier dialogues, and ask whether his examples can be taken purely in good humour.

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