Latin Language Blog

The Nativity Story in Latin Posted by on Dec 17, 2013 in Latin Language

With Christmas around the corner, many people are embarking on their Christmas Tree shopping, gift giving, or other Holiday tasks. While, not everyone celebrates Christmas or believe it to coincide with the birth of Jesus Christ; the story of the Nativity offers beginning Latinist a great learning opportunity.  Everyone is at least familiar with the story of Jesus’ birth, the three Wiseman, the inn in Bethlehem, etc. Furthermore, Biblical Latin was written in a simply style and uses repetitive language so that it was easy for any person to read- even if they only knew a little Latin.

Adoration of the Magiby Fra Angelico and Fra Filippo Lippi

Adoration of the Magiby Fra Angelico and Fra Filippo Lippi

Latin Vulgate: Fabula Dies Natalis Christi

Matthew 2: 1-12  

2:1 cum ergo natus esset Iesus in Bethleem Iudaeae in diebus Herodis regis ecce magi ab oriente venerunt Hierosolymam

2:2 dicentes ubi est qui natus est rex Iudaeorum vidimus enim stellam eius in oriente et venimus adorare eum

2:3 audiens autem Herodes rex turbatus est et omnis Hierosolyma cum illo

2:4 et congregans omnes principes sacerdotum et scribas populi sciscitabatur ab eis ubi Christus nasceretur

2:5 at illi dixerunt ei in Bethleem Iudaeae sic enim scriptum est per prophetam

2:6 et tu Bethleem terra Iuda nequaquam minima es in principibus Iuda ex te enim exiet dux qui reget populum meum Israhel

2:7 tunc Herodes clam vocatis magis diligenter didicit ab eis tempus stellae quae apparuit eis 2:8 et mittens illos in Bethleem dixit ite et interrogate diligenter de puero et cum inveneritis renuntiate mihi ut et ego veniens adorem eum

2:9 qui cum audissent regem abierunt et ecce stella quam viderant in oriente antecedebat eos usque dum veniens staret supra ubi erat puer

2:10 videntes autem stellam gavisi sunt gaudio magno valde

2:11 et intrantes domum invenerunt puerum cum Maria matre eius et procidentes adoraverunt eum et apertis thesauris suis obtulerunt ei munera aurum tus et murram

2:12 et responso accepto in somnis ne redirent ad Herodem per aliam viam reversi sunt in regionem suam

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2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,

2:2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

2:3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

2:4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be

2:5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of born Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,

2:6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

2:7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 2:8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

2:9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

2:10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

2:11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.

2:12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

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Is this too advanced? A great resource for teaching Latin and using Christmas can be found here.

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About the Author: Brittany Britanniae

Hello There! Please feel free to ask me anything about Latin Grammar, Syntax, or the Ancient World.


  1. Wayne Watts:

    Awesome! Salve, Brittany. My Latin is really terrible, but I think that this is awesome. Gratis for sharing!