Among verb forms, the Indo-European aorist indicating simple occurrence of an action without reference to duration or completion and perfect indicating an action or state completed at the time of utterance or at a time spoken of combined, and the conjunctive expressing ideas contrary to fact and optative expressing a wish or hope merged to form the subjunctive mood.
In general, the morphology of the Classical period was codified and fluctuating forms rigidly fixed. Where earlier writers might have used prepositional phrases, Classical authors preferred bare nominal-case forms as terser and more exact.
Complex sentences with subtle use of distinctive conjunctions were a feature of the Classical language, and effective play was made with the possibilities offered by flexible word order. In the post-Classical era, Ciceronian style came to be regarded as laboured and boring, and an epigrammatic compressed style was preferred by such writers as Seneca and Tacitus. Contemporaneously and a little later, florid exuberant writingвoften called Africanвcame into fashion, exemplified especially by Apuleius 2nd century ce.
Imitation of Classical and post-Classical models continued even into the 6th century, and there seems to have been continuity of literary tradition for some time after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
The growth of the empire spread Roman culture across much of Europe and North Africa. In all areas, even the hilarious headline for dating site, it was not only the rough language of the legions that penetrated but also, it seems, the fine subtleties of Virgilian verse and Ciceronian prose. Research in the late 20th century suggested that in Britainfor instance, Romanization was more widespread and more profound than hitherto suspected and that well-to-do Britons in the colonized region were thoroughly imbued with Roman values.
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