In a recent post on math.se, I suggested that G. Peano's Arithmetices principia, nova methodo exposita (1889) was probably the last important scientific work written in Latin. This work set forth the so-called Peano axioms, which are still of major importance.

I suppose there must be something published in Latin by the Vatican astronomer. Let's disqualify Vatican-related holdouts. Other than these, is there any significant scientific or mathematical work written in Latin after 1889?

  • $\begingroup$ As per the tagging here, I think the academia tag might work. Also, welcome to HSM! $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868
    Dec 10 '14 at 21:29
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Why discount the works produced by the Vatican? $\endgroup$
    – dotancohen
    Dec 11 '14 at 6:13
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The Vatican observatory has a website, with a section on publications. On a quick scan, mostly English, a few other modern langauges, no Latin. Studi Galileiani, for example, is a project name -- all of the works published as part of it seem to be in English. $\endgroup$ Dec 11 '14 at 23:07
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I would not judge about importance, but here is a bona fide mathematical paper in Latin from 2006: V. Schechtman, Definitio nova algebroidis verticiani, in: Studies in Lie Theory, Birkhauser, 2006, 443--494 math.univ-toulouse.fr/~schechtman/defin-nova-preprint.pdf $\endgroup$ Dec 27 '14 at 14:09
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Related question: What was the last mathematical paper published in Latin? $\endgroup$ Dec 27 '14 at 16:17

This answer is a bit off because it is not about entire work written in Latin, but until 2012 (with the 'Melbourne' Code of Botanical Nomenclature), it was still required for new species of plants to be described in latin (not just the name but the full diagnosis).
As for the zoological nomenclature, it was still common to describe new species in latin until the end of the 19th century.

As far as complete works in Latin from the field of taxonomy go, the most recent ones I found are various monographies of Malpighiales genera by Franz Josef Niedenzu ranging from 1888 to 1933. The last one that contains more than just new taxa description seems to be a determination key Malpighiaceae palaeotropicae II (1924). It is however difficult to judge the significance of the work without being a botanist.


Absence of evidence is poor evidence, particular when the absence is limited to Wikipedia, and shown to be false by information contained in the question itself. But ignoring those small issues, Wikipedia has two articles:

New Latin


Contemporary Latin

These seem to try to include all major works in Latin for their period (though Peano 1889 is missing), and the last entry is for 1864.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.