That the real genesis of the Latin and doubtless also of the other
Italian languages was anterior to this period, and that even at its
commencement the Latin language was substantially an accomplished
fact, is evident from the fragments of the Twelve Tables, which,
however, have been largely modernized by their semi-oral tradition.
They contain doubtless a number of antiquated words and harsh
combinations, particularly in consequence of omitting the indefinite
subject; but their meaning by no means presents, like that of the
Arval chant, any real difficulty, and they exhibit far more agreement
with the language of Cato than with that of the ancient litanies.
If the Romans at the beginning of the seventh century had difficulty
in understanding documents of the fifth, the difficulty doubtless
proceeded merely from the fact that there existed at that time in Rome
no real, least of all any documentary, research.