When did men stop speaking Latin? How did the actions of society or religion influence vocabulary? What effect did the conquest of the Anglo-Saxon countries by William the Conqueror and his French-speaking knights have on language? Speech and writing play a fundamental part in man's activities. Social life is inconceivable without some system of signs enabling us to communicate with each other, and language is chief among these signs. From Cicero to Gutenberg, WESTERN LANGUAGES AD 100 - 1500 shows how it is impossible to claim any real understanding of the development of the West without knowing about the development of its languages.