Before the Roman Empire spread to the British Isles, there really was no English language, only local dialects and influences from nomadic tribes—Anglos, Jutes, Saxons, Celts, etc. With the Roman conquest of these regions and the habitation of Roman soldiers, the Latin language merged with the local languages. The history of the English language is very complex, but Latin provided such features as prefixes and suffixes, tense, and conjugation. Today, virtually half of all English words have a Latin root, and the cognates to the Latin language make “latinated” languages easy to learn. In addition, as the English language developed through the Middle Ages and Elizabeth's reign, through such innovators as Chaucer and Shakespeare, Latin became the required language for public office, trade, and learning. In fact, a person could escape the death penalty if he could read the Latin Bible, because it was proof that the criminal was educated and therefore more valuable to the society alive than dead.