Latin's Riches

Latin's Riches 1

David Goldman, AP, Corbis

In 2011, A.J. Burnett, a pitcher for the New York Yankees, displayed the Latin phrase “Fortius Quo Fidelius,” or “strength through loyalty,” tattooed on his arm.

To secure his appointment as cantor in Leipzig, Johann Sebastian Bach had to take an examination conducted in Latin. To the glory of the ages, he passed. In Latin: Story of a World Language, recently published in translation by Harvard University Press, Jürgen Leonhardt recalls that event to illustrate the status of Latin in German education in 1723—a status fast slipping away.