Military education and training
Military education and training is a process which intends to establish and improve the capabilities of military personnel in their respective roles. It begins with recruit training, proceeds to education and training specific to military roles, may include additional training during a military career. Military training may be compulsory duty; the primary form of military training is recruit training, which makes use of various conditioning techniques to resocialize trainees into the military system, ensure that they will obey all orders without hesitation, teach basic military skills. The drill instructor has the task of making the service members fit for military use. After their recruit training, personnel may undergo further training specific to their military role, including the use of any specialist equipment. After this point, they are deemed fit for military service. Military personnel may continue to receive training during their career. Larger countries may have military academies, which combine military training with formal qualifications.
Assault course Military academy List of defunct United States military academies Royal Military Academy Sandhurst Royal Military College of Canada United States service academies Refresher training Staff college
Structural history of the Roman military
The structural history of the Roman military concerns the major transformations in the organization and constitution of ancient Rome's armed forces, "the most effective and long-lived military institution known to history." From its origins around 800 BC to its final dissolution in AD 476 with the demise of the Western Roman Empire, Rome's military organization underwent substantial structural change. At the highest level of structure, the forces were split into the Roman army and the Roman navy, although these two branches were less distinct than in many modern national defense forces. Within the top levels of both army and navy, structural changes occurred as a result of both positive military reform and organic structural evolution; these changes can be divided into four distinct phases. Phase I The army was derived from obligatory annual military service levied on the citizenry, as part of their duty to the state. During this period, the Roman army would wage seasonal campaigns against local adversaries.
Phase II As the extent of the territories falling under Roman control expanded and the size of the forces increased, the soldiery became salaried professionals. As a consequence, military service at the lower levels became progressively longer-term. Roman military units of the period were homogeneous and regulated; the army consisted of units of citizen infantry known as legions as well as non-legionary allied troops known as auxilia. The latter were most called upon to provide light infantry, logistical, or cavalry support. Phase III At the height of the Roman Empire's power, forces were tasked with manning and securing the borders of the vast provinces, brought under Roman control. Serious strategic threats were less common in this period and emphasis was placed on preserving gained territory; the army underwent changes in response to these new needs and became more dependent on fixed garrisons than on march-camps and continuous field operations. Phase IV As Rome began to struggle to keep control over its sprawling territories, military service continued to be salaried and professional for Rome's regular troops.
However, the trend of employing allied or mercenary elements was expanded to such an extent that these troops came to represent a substantial proportion of the armed forces. At the same time, the uniformity of structure found in Rome's earlier military disappeared. Soldiery of the era ranged from armed mounted archers to heavy infantry, in regiments of varying size and quality; this was accompanied by a trend in the late empire of an increasing predominance of cavalry rather than infantry troops, as well as a requirement for more mobile operations. In this period there was more focus on smaller units of independently-operating troops, engaging less in set-piece battles and more in low-intensity, guerilla actions. According to the historians Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, writing at a far date, the earliest Roman army existed in the 8th century BC. During this period Rome itself was little more than a fortified hilltop settlement and its army a small force, whose activities were limited "mainly raiding and cattle rustling with the occasional skirmish-like battle".
Historian Theodor Mommsen referred to it as Rome's curiate army, named for its presumed subdivision along the boundaries of Rome's three founding tribes, the Ramnians and Luceres. This army's exact structure is not known, but it is probable that it loosely resembled a warrior band or group of bodyguards led by a chieftain or king. Mommsen believes that Roman military organization of this period was regimented by the "Laws of King Italus" but these laws, though referred to by Aristotle, have been lost; the army consisted, according to Livy, of 3,000 infantry and 300 horsemen, one third from each of Rome's three founding tribes. Warriors served under six "leaders of division" who in turn served under a general in the person of the reigning King. Mommsen uses philological arguments and references from Livy and others to suggest that the greater mass of foot-soldiers consisted of pilumni, with a smaller number serving as arquites; the cavalry was far smaller in number and consisted of the town's richest citizens.
The army may have contained the earliest form of chariots, hinted at by references to the flexuntes. By the beginning of the 7th century BC, the Iron-Age Etruscan civilization was dominant in the region. Like most of the other peoples in the region, the Romans warred against the Etruscans. By the close of the century, the Romans had lost their struggle for independence, the Etruscans had conquered Rome, establishing a military dictatorship, or kingdom, in the city. Although several Roman sources including Livy and Polybius talk extensively about the Roman army of the Roman Kingdom period that followed the Etruscan capture of the city, no contemporary accounts survive. Polybius, for example, was writing some 300 years after the events in question, Livy some 500 years later. Additionally, what records were kept by the Romans at this time were destroyed when the city was sacked; the sources for this period cannot therefore be seen as reliable, as they can be for military history, e.g. from the First Punic War onwards.
According to our surviving narratives, the three kings of Rome during the Etruscan occupation were Tarquinius Priscus, Servius Tullius, Tarquinius Superbus. During this period the army underwent a reformation into a centurial army based on socio-economic class; this reformation is traditionally attributed to Servius Tullius
Gratian was Roman emperor from 367 to 383. The eldest son of Valentinian I, Gratian accompanied, during his youth, his father on several campaigns along the Rhine and Danube frontiers. Upon the death of Valentinian in 375, Gratian's brother Valentinian II was declared emperor by his father's soldiers. In 378, Gratian's generals won a decisive victory over the Lentienses, a branch of the Alamanni, at the Battle of Argentovaria. Gratian subsequently led a campaign across the Rhine, the last emperor to do so, attacked the Lentienses, forcing the tribe to surrender; that same year, his uncle Valens was killed in the Battle of Adrianople against the Goths – making Gratian ruler of the entire Roman Empire. He favoured Christianity over traditional Roman religion, refusing the divine attributes of the Emperors and removing the Altar of Victory from the Roman Senate. Gratian was the son of Emperor Valentinian I by Marina Severa, was born at Sirmium in Pannonia, he was named after his grandfather Gratian the Elder.
Gratian was first married to Flavia Maxima Constantia, daughter of Constantius II. His second wife was Laeta. Both marriages remained childless, his stepmother was Empress Justina and his paternal half siblings were Emperor Valentinian II, Galla and Justa. On 24 August 367 he received from his father the title of Augustus. On the death of Valentinian, the troops in Pannonia, impelled by the generals Aequitius and Maximinus, two of Valentinian's more unscrupulous ministers, proclaimed his infant son emperor under the title of Valentinian II. Gratian prudently acquiesced in their choice; the division, was nominal, the real authority in those provinces remained in the hands of Gratian. Gratian, with the aid of his capable generals Mallobaudes, a king of the Franks, Naniemus defeated the Lentienses, the southernmost branch of the Alamanni, in May 378 at the Battle of Argentovaria. Next, Gratian led a campaign across the Upper Rhine into the territory of the Lentienses. After initial trouble facing the Lentienses on high ground, Gratian blockaded the enemy instead and received their surrender.
The Lentienses were forced to supply young men to be levied into the Roman army, while the remainder were allowed to return home. That year, Valens met his death in the Battle of Adrianople against a coalition of hostile Gothic and Hunnic tribes who had rebelled after being settled in Thrace by the eastern emperor. Valens refused to wait for Gratian, who had promised to march to his aid as soon as the Alemanni threat was contained. By the time Gratian arrived in the east to assume the rule of Valens' former possessions, the Gothic war had spiraled out of control. Hearing that the Germans were planning a new invasion in Gaul now that Gratian had departed from the province, convinced that one emperor alone was incapable of repelling the inundation of foes on several different fronts, the young emperor resorted to the by-now customary expedient of division of power, promoting Theodosius I on 19 January 379 to govern the east with the rank of co-equal Augustus. During the ensuing four years Theodosius would take advantage of the internecine discord and disorder of the Goths to destroy the more intractable of the barbarians and settle the rest by a peaceful treaty in the provinces of Thrace and Asia Minor.
For some years Gratian governed the Empire with energy and success, earning the esteem of the army and people by his personal courage and justice, but at length, being deprived by death of some of his abler counselors, the promising young emperor degenerated into indolence and careless unconcern with public affairs, occupied himself chiefly with the pleasures of the chase. He alienated the army and German auxiliaries by his favoritism towards a body of Scythian archers whom he made his body-guard and companions in the hunt, he became a tool in the hands of the Frankish general Merobaudes and bishop St. Ambrose of Milan. By appearing in public in the dress of a Scythian warrior, after the disaster of the Battle of Adrianople, he exasperated his army. One of his generals, Magnus Maximus, took advantage of this feeling to raise the standard of revolt in Britain and invaded Gaul with a large army. From Paris, having been deserted by his troops, fled to Lyon. There, through the treachery of the governor, Gratian was delivered over to one of the rebel generals and assassinated on 25 August 383.
The reign of Gratian forms an important epoch in ecclesiastical history, since during that period Nicene Christianity for the first time became dominant throughout the empire. Gratian published an edict that all their subjects should profess the faith of the bishops of Rome and Alexandria; the move was thrust at the various beliefs that had arisen out of Arianism, but smaller dissident sects, such as the Macedonians, were prohibited. Gratian, under the influence of his chief advisor, the Bishop of Milan, took active steps to repress pagan worship; this brought to an end a period of widespread, if unofficial, religious tolerance that had
Military tactics encompasses the art of organising and employing fighting forces on or near the battlefield. They involve the application of four battlefield functions which are related – kinetic or firepower, protection or security, shock action. Tactics are a separate function from control and logistics. In contemporary military science, tactics are the lowest of three levels of warfighting, the higher levels being the strategic and operational levels. Throughout history, there has been a shifting balance between the four tactical functions based on the application of military technology, which has led to one or more of the tactical functions being dominant for a period of time accompanied by the dominance of an associated fighting arm deployed on the battlefield, such as infantry, cavalry or tanks. Beginning with the use of melee and missile weapons such as clubs and spears, the kinetic or firepower function of tactics has developed along with technological advances so that the emphasis has shifted over time from the close-range melee and missile weapons to longer-range projectile weapons.
Kinetic effects were delivered by the sword, spear and bow until the introduction of artillery by the Romans. Until the mid 19th century, the value of infantry-delivered missile firepower was not high, meaning that the result of a given battle was decided by infantry firepower alone relying on artillery to deliver significant kinetic effects; the development of disciplined volley fire, delivered at close range, began to improve the hitting power of infantry, compensated in part for the limited range, poor accuracy and low rate of fire of early muskets. Advances in technology the introduction of the rifled musket, used in the Crimean War and American Civil War, meant flatter trajectories and improved accuracy at greater ranges, along with higher casualties; the resulting increase in defensive firepower meant infantry attacks without artillery support became difficult. Firepower became crucial to fixing an enemy in place to allow a decisive strike. Machine guns added to infantry firepower at the turn of the 20th century, the mobile firepower provided by tanks, self-propelled artillery and military aircraft rose in the century that followed.
Along with infantry weapons and other armoured vehicles, self-propelled artillery, guided weapons and aircraft provide the firepower of modern armies. Mobility, which determines how a fighting force can move, was for most of human history limited by the speed of a soldier on foot when supplies were carried by beasts of burden. With this restriction, most armies could not travel more than 32 kilometres per day, unless travelling on rivers. Only small elements of a force such as cavalry or specially trained light troops could exceed this limit; this restriction on tactical mobility remained until the latter years of World War I when the advent of the tank improved mobility sufficiently to allow decisive tactical manoeuvre. Despite this advance, full tactical mobility was not achieved until World War II when armoured and motorised formations achieved remarkable successes. However, large elements of the armies of World War II remained reliant on horse-drawn transport, which limited tactical mobility within the overall force.
Tactical mobility can be limited by the use of field obstacles created by military engineers. Personal armour has been worn since the classical period to provide a measure of individual protection, extended to include barding of the mount; the limitations of armour have always been weight and bulk, its consequent effects on mobility as well as human and animal endurance. By the 18th and 19th centuries, personal armour had been discarded, until the re-introduction of helmets during World War I in response to the firepower of artillery. Armoured fighting vehicles proliferated during World War II, after that war, body armour returned for the infantry in Western armies. Fortifications, which have been used since ancient times, provide collective protection, modern examples include entrenchments, barbed wire and minefields. Like obstacles, fortifications are created by military engineers. Shock action is as much a psychological function of tactics as a physical one, can be enhanced by the use of surprise.
It has been provided by charging infantry, well as by chariots, war elephants and armoured vehicles which provide momentum to an assault. It has been used in a defensive way, for example by the drenching flights of arrows from English longbowmen at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 which caused the horses of the French knights to panic. During early modern warfare, the use of the tactical formations of columns and lines had a greater effect than the firepower of the formations alone. During the early stages of World War II, the combined effects of German machine gun and tank gun firepower, enhanced by accurate indirect fire and air attack broke up Allied units before their assault commenced, or caused them to falter due to casualties among key unit leaders. In both the early modern and World War II examples, the cumulative psychological shock effect on the enemy was greater than the actual casualties incurred; the development of tactics has involved a shifting balance between the four tactical functions since ancient times, changes in firepower and mobility have been fundamental to these changes.
Various models have been proposed to explain the interaction between the tactical functions and the dominance of individual fighting arms during different periods. J. F. C. Fuller proposed three "tactical cycles" in each of the classical and Chri
The Limes Britannicus is a modern collective name sometimes used for those fortifications and defensive ramparts that were built to protect the north, the coasts, major transport routes of Roman Britain. These defences existed from the 1st to the 5th centuries AD and ran through the territory of present-day England and Wales. Britain was one of the most troubled regions in the European part of the Roman Empire and could only be secured by the Roman Army at considerable effort. Despite a rapid victory over the tribes in the south, which Claudius' field commander, Aulus Plautius, achieved in 43 AD for Rome, the resistance of the British was not broken for a long time afterwards; the Romans succeeded in further consolidating their rule in the period that followed, although the troops stationed there were overburdened by having to defend Britain on three fronts. The incursions of barbarians from the north of the island caused serious problems. To the west and south, the Britannic provinces had to be defended against Hibernian and Germanic attacks.
Against all odds, Britain was held for three centuries by the Roman Empire. In retrospect, the Roman domination of Britain is considered to be positive. For a long time there was prosperity on the island. Behind the protection of Hadrian's Wall and that formed by the natural coastal boundaries to the east and west, the region we now know as England was influenced by the achievements of Roman civilization. Hadrian's Wall and the castra on the Saxon Shore are still the most prominent symbols of Roman rule over Britain; the conquest of Britain was ordered in 43 AD by Emperor Claudius. Claudius had a low reputation among his troops and was forced - according to the tradition of emperors - to acquire glory on the battlefield in order to secure his rule permanently. Britannia had large deposits of precious metals, fertile soil and vast forests, which made it economically attractive to the Romans. Most of Great Britain was conquered in the first year of the invasion. However, this campaign sparked a long-running resistance by the native Britons against their occupiers that lasted for decades.
Following the Boudica Uprising, they succeeded in expelling the Roman Army from the island. It may have been that Claudius planned to occupy only the lowland regions of Britain. In the 1st century, the Romans had no clear idea. Roman influence was therefore continually extended as the borders of their conquered territory shifted several times. Time and again fighting broke out with the indigenous Celtic tribes in the border zones of the new province, compelling Roman troops to move into new areas in the west and north, in order to ensure the permanence of Roman rule and to secure their borders. In 80 AD, the army of Agricola penetrated well into Caledonian territory after his victory in the Battle of Mons Graupius. After attempts to permanently occupy the Highlands failed, the Romans fell back in 120 AD to the Stanegate line; the majority of troops in Britain had to continue to be stationed in the north. As protection against raids by pirates from Ireland, a powerful protection force was needed on the west coast.
In particular, the regions of Cumbria and Lancashire suffered time and again from the plundering of the Irish. During the reign of Hadrian, Britain was still not an peaceful province. Coin missions dating to this time indicate that Britain was in a "permanent state of defence" and pre-Roman tribal societies continued to occupy the outer regions of the island; the greatest danger was always posed by the Picts from who lived on the far side of the Scottish rivers, the Forth and the Clyde. Moreover, in the lands between these rivers and Hadrian’s Wall, the Central Lowlands, there were still four other Celtic tribes - the Votadini, Selgovae and Novantae - which Rome sought to incorporate in order to be able to neutralise their fighting power and make use of their farmland. To that end, road forts were built to protect Rome’s territorial claims. From 122, the northern border was secured by Hadrian's Wall; the fortifications on the coast of Cumbria, which were erected were intended to prevent the Wall being circumvented in the West.
Under Hadrian, the three legion camps were rebuilt in stone. In 140 AD, Roman troops advanced again against the Caledonians and built the Antonine Wall further to the north but, by 160, it had been abandoned. In the period 155-158 AD there was a revolt in Britain which led to heavy losses being inflicted on the local legions; these losses had to be made up by reinforcements from the Germanic Rhine provinces. At the end of the 2nd century seafaring Germanic peoples – the Angles and Franks - began to threaten the Gallic and British coasts with the first raids from the continent. During the course of the civil war that followed the election of Septimius Severus as emperor, his rival, Clodius Albinus, set forth for the continent in 197 with the Britannic army, but suffered a crushing defeat against Severus’ troops in the Battle of Lugdunum. In the 3rd century, Roman Britain underwent profound changes. With the return of soldiers to the island, their first task was to drive back the Picts, who had taken advantage of the absence of Roman troops to raid and plunder extensively.
As a result, Septimius Severus ordered a large-scale punitive expedition against the tribes north of Hadrian's Wall and reoccupied the Antonine Wall for a short time. Unlike the other provinces, Britain appeared stable and calm; the short-term separation of the island from the rest of the Empire under the usurper Carausius showed that this was an illusion and that the power of Ro
The Auxilia constituted the standing non-citizen corps of the Imperial Roman army during the Principate era, alongside the citizen legions. By the 2nd century, the Auxilia contained the same number of infantry as the legions and, in addition, provided all of the Roman army's cavalry and more specialised troops; the auxilia thus represented three-fifths of Rome's regular land forces at that time. Like their legionary counterparts, auxiliary recruits were volunteers, not conscripts; the Auxilia were recruited from the peregrini, free provincial subjects who did not hold Roman citizenship and constituted the vast majority of the population in the 1st and 2nd centuries. In contrast to the legions, which only admitted Roman citizens, members of the Auxilia could be recruited from territories outside of Roman control. Reliance on the various contingents of non-Italic troops cavalry, increased when the Roman Republic employed them in increasing numbers to support its legions after 200 BC; the Julio-Claudian period saw the transformation of the Auxilia from motley levies to a standing corps with standardised structure and conditions of service.
By the end of the period, there were no significant differences between legionaries and auxiliaries in terms of training, thus, combat capability. Auxiliary regiments were stationed in provinces other than that in which they were raised, for reasons of security and to foster the process of Romanisation in the provinces; the regimental names of many auxiliary units persisted into the 4th century, but by the units in question were different in size and quality from their predecessors. The mainstay of the Roman republic's war machine was the manipular legion, a heavy infantry unit suitable for close-quarter engagements on more or less any terrain, adopted sometime during the Samnite Wars. Despite its formidable strength, the legion had a number of deficiencies a lack of cavalry. Around 200 BC, a legion of 4,200 infantry had a cavalry arm of only 300 horse; this was because the class of citizens who could afford to pay for their own horse and equipment – the equestrian order, the second rank in Roman society, after the senatorial order – was small.
In addition, the legion lacked missile forces such as archers. Until 200 BC, the bulk of a Roman army's cavalry was provided by Rome's regular Italian allies known as the "Latin" allies, which made up the Roman military confederation; this was Rome's defence system until the Social War of 91–88 BC. The Italian forces were organised into alae. An allied ala, commanded by 3 Roman praefecti sociorum, was similar or larger in infantry size to a legion, but contained a more substantial cavalry contingent: 900 horse, three times the legionary contingent. Since a pre-Social War consular army always contained an equal number of legions and alae, 75% of its cavalry was provided by the Latin allies; the overall cavalry element, c. 12% of the total force, was greater than in most peninsular Italian forces, but well below the overall 21% cavalry component, typical of the Principate army. The Roman/Latin cavalry was sufficient while Rome was in conflict with other states in the mountainous Italian peninsula, which disposed of limited cavalry resources.
But, as Rome was confronted by external enemies that deployed far more powerful cavalry elements, such as the Gauls and the Carthaginians, the Roman deficiency in cavalry numbers could be a serious liability, which in the Second Punic War resulted in crushing defeats. Hannibal's major victories at the Trebia and at Cannae, were owed to his Spanish and Gallic heavy cavalry, which far outnumbered the Roman and Latin levies, to his Numidians, fast cavalry which the Romans wholly lacked; the decisive Roman victory at Zama in 202 BC, which ended the war, owed much to the Numidian cavalry provided by king Massinissa, which outnumbered the Roman/Latin cavalry fielded by 2 to 1. From Roman armies were always accompanied by large numbers of non-Italian cavalry: Numidian light cavalry and Gallic heavy cavalry. For example, Caesar relied on Gallic and German cavalry for his Conquest of Gaul; as the role of native cavalry grew, that of Roman/Latin cavalry diminished. In the early 1st century BC, Roman cavalry was phased out altogether.
After the Social War, the socii were all granted Roman citizenship, the Latin alae abolished, the socii recruited into the legions. Furthermore, Roman equestrians were no longer required to perform cavalry service after this time; the late Republican legion was thus bereft of cavalry. By the outbreak of the Second Punic War, the Romans were remedying the legions' other deficiencies by using non-Italian specialised troops. Livy reports Hiero of Syracuse offering to supply Rome with archers and slingers in 217 BC. From 200 BC onwards, specialist troops were hired as mercenaries on a regular basis: sagittarii from Crete, funditores from the Balearic Isles always accompanied Roman legions in campaigns all over the Mediterranean; the other main sources of non-Italian troops in the late Republic were subject provincials, allied cities and Rome's amici. During the
Late Latin is the scholarly name for the written Latin of late antiquity. English dictionary definitions of Late Latin date this period from the 3rd to the 6th centuries AD, continuing into the 7th century in the Iberian Peninsula; this somewhat ambiguously defined version of Latin was used between the eras of Classical Latin and Medieval Latin. There is no scholarly consensus about when Classical Latin should end or Medieval Latin should begin. However, Late Latin is characterized by an identifiable style. Being a written language, Late Latin is not the same as Vulgar Latin; the latter served as ancestor of the Romance languages. Although Late Latin reflects an upsurge of the use of Vulgar Latin vocabulary and constructs, it remains classical in its overall features, depending on the author who uses it; some Late Latin writings are more literary and classical, but others are more inclined to the vernacular. Late Latin is not identical to Christian patristic Latin, used in the theological writings of the early Christian fathers.
While Christian writings used a subset of Late Latin, pagans wrote extensively in Late Latin in the early part of the period. Late Latin formed when mercenaries from non-Latin-speaking peoples on the borders of the empire were being subsumed and assimilated in large numbers, the rise of Christianity was introducing a heightened divisiveness in Roman society, creating a greater need for a standard language for communicating between different socioeconomic registers and separated regions of the sprawling empire. A new and more universal speech evolved from the main elements: Classical Latin, Christian Latin, which featured sermo humilis in which the people were to be addressed, all the various dialects of Vulgar Latin; the linguist Antoine Meillet wrote, "Without the exterior appearance of the language being much modified, Latin became in the course of the imperial epoch a new language", and, "Serving as some sort of lingua franca to a large empire, Latin tended to become simpler, to keep above all what it had of the ordinary".
Neither Late Latin nor Late Antiquity are modern concepts. A notice in Harper's New Monthly Magazine of the publication of Andrews' Freund's Lexicon of the Latin Language in 1850 mentions that the dictionary divides Latin into ante-classic, quite classic, Augustan, post-Augustan and post-classic or late Latin, which indicates the term was in professional use by English classicists in the early 19th century. Instances of English vernacular use of the term may be found from the 18th century; the term Late Antiquity meaning post-classical and pre-medieval had currency in English well before then. Wilhelm Sigismund Teuffel's first edition of History of Roman Literature defined an early period, the Golden Age, the Silver Age and goes on to define other ages first by dynasty and by century. In subsequent editions he subsumed all periods under three headings: the First Period, the Second Period and the Third Period, "the Imperial Age", subdivided into the Silver Age, the 2nd century, Centuries 3–6 together, a recognition of Late Latin, as he sometimes refers to the writings of those times as "late."
Imperial Latin went on into English literature. There are, insoluble problems with the beginning and end of Imperial Latin. Politically the excluded Augustan Period is the paradigm of imperiality, yet the style cannot be bundled with either the Silver Age or with Late Latin. Moreover, in 6th century Italy, the Roman Empire no longer existed. Subsequently the term Imperial Latin was dropped by historians of Latin literature, although it may be seen in marginal works; the Silver Age was extended the final four centuries represent Late Latin. Low Latin is a vague and pejorative term that might refer to any post-classical Latin from Late Latin through Renaissance Latin depending on the author, its origins are obscure but the Latin expression media et infima Latinitas sprang into public notice in 1678 in the title of a Glossary by Charles du Fresne, sieur du Cange. The multi-volume set had many expansions by other authors subsequently; the title varies somewhat. It has been translated by expressions of different meanings.
The uncertainty is understanding what media, "middle", infima, "low", mean in this context. The media is securely connected to Medieval Latin by Cange's own terminology expounded in the Praefatio, such as scriptores mediae aetatis, "writers of the middle age." Cange's Glossary takes words from authors ranging from the Christian period to the Renaissance, dipping into the classical period if a word originated there. Either media et infima Latinitas refers to one age, which must be the middle age covering the entire post-classical range, or it refers to two consecutive periods, infima Latinitas and media Latinitas. Both interpretations have their adherents. In the former case the infimae appears extraneous; the two-period case postulates a second unity of style, infima Latinitas, translated into English as "Low Latin". Cange in the glossarial part of his Glossary identifies some words as being used by purioris Latinitatis scriptores, such as Cicero, he has said in the Preface that he rejects the a