|Intro||German classical philologist|
|Was||Philologist Philologist Philologist|
|Birth||1 January 1891, Königsberg, East Prussia, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire|
|Death||1 January 1964, Tutzing, Starnberg, Upper Bavaria, Bavaria (aged 73 years)|
Kurt Latte (9 March 1891, Königsberg – 8 June 1964, Tutzing) was a German philologist and classical scholar known for his work on ancient Roman religion.
His major work is Römische Religionsgeschichte (Munich, 1960), which was intended to replace the work of Georg Wissowa that by then was nearly 60 years old. Although widely referenced, Latte's work has not escaped criticism. Latte attempted to be systematic and historical at the same time, melding Wissowa's Varro-based systematic description with the historical approach of Franz Altheim; the resulting structure can seem haphazard. In the opinion of Stefan Weinstock, Latte's understanding of linguistics was superior to that of Wissowa.
Latte rejected animism as having explanatory value for the study of Roman religion, but made some use of the concept of sympathetic magic, an approach criticized as inconsistent. His discussion of Roman priesthoods is considered "vital."
Latte viewed Roman religious traditions as in decline in the late Republic, and subject to political abuse. He felt, however, that the importance of Imperial cult had been exaggerated, and that "emperor worship" was a minor and perhaps not really a religious phenomenon at all. His is a counterweight to the predominant scholarly view that Imperial cult became increasingly central to Roman religion.
Latte's monumental edition of Hesychius of Alexandria was left unfinished at the time of his death (vol. 1 published in 1953, vol. 2 posthumously in 1966); the work was completed by Peter Allan Hansen and Ian C. Cunningham (vols. 3-4, 2005-2009).