From latin to Galician

From the ninth century, the language spoken in the north-western corner of the Iberian Peninsula was so different from Latin that Latin and Galician can be considered two separate languages. However, written texts in Galician have only been found dating from the end of the twelfth century, because Latin continued to be the cultured language for legal documents, for lithurgy and teaching, not only in Gallaecia but throughout medieval Europe.

The oldest known document is the poem Ora faz ost'o Senhor de Navarra by Joam Soares de Paiva, written around 1200. The first non-literary documents in Galician date from the early thirteenth century, the Noticia de Torto (1211) and the Testamento of Afonso II of Portugal (1214), both samples of medieval notarial prose.

From the eighth century Galicia was a political unit with the kingdoms of Asturias and Leon, but was able to reach a degree of autonomy becoming an independent kingdom at certain times in the tenth, eleventh and twelfth centuries. Galician was the only language in oral use and Latin was used to a decreasing degree in written language. This oral monolingualism was able to exert such pressure in the thirteenth century that it led to a situation of dual official status for Galician and Latin in notarial documents, edicts, lawsuits, etc; Latin, however, continued to be the universal vehicle for culture.

Reproduction of the "Book of Testaments" of Afonso The Chast.