Medieval Latin Language and Literature

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims to provide students with: 1) a basic preparation on the specificities of Latin in use in the Middle Ages and the bibliographical tools useful for its analysis; 2) an introduction to the use of basic bibliographical tools for the study of Middle Latin literature, with practical application experiences; 3) a deepening of the knowledge already acquired in the three-year course on Middle Latin literature, with particular attention to the methodological aspects of the analysis and historical-literary framework of the texts, through the examination of a specific literary genre or a single author or work.
Expected learning outcomes
Knowledge - At the end of the course the student will have acquired an awareness of the characteristics of Latin texts of the Middle Ages, in their linguistic and formal specificity, and will master the fundamental bibliographical tools to deal autonomously with their identification and critical study. They will know the main characteristics assumed by the Latin language in the Middle Ages; the criteria for the bibliographical identification of texts, in the specific problematic of the history of studies on Middle Latin sources; the main methods of philological-literary investigation applicable to medieval Latin texts.

Skills - At the end of the course the student will be able to analyse and critically interpret Middle Latin literary texts both from a linguistic point of view, with awareness of the variables determined by the chronological and geographical context, and in the various aspects connected with their genesis and transmission, their purposes, and their relationship with the previous tradition. Thanks to practical exercises, they will also be able to write a short encyclopaedic entry on an author or text of medieval Latinity and to prepare a public presentation of an individual research.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
In the event that the health emergency is prolonged, guidance on the conduct of the course will be provided on the discipline's Ariel site.
Course syllabus
The course is divided into two sections, carried out in parallel.
Section A includes: 1. an introduction to the basic bibliographic tools for the study of Mediolatin literature, with practical experiences in the classroom; 2. a profile of the main transformations undergone by the Latin language in the transition from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. The last part of the lectures will be dedicated to the presentation by students of their individual exercises in drafting a Wikipedia entry, concerning an author or work from the Latin Middle Ages, prepared by the specific bibliographic tools of the discipline, and uploaded to the web .
The section B will focus on a case study, belonging to the genre of visions of the Afterlife: the Visio Godeschalci (12th century), one of the most original and interesting testimonies of the genre of the afterlife travels for the presence of both Germanic folkloric motifs and episodes of daily life of the time (a theft of relics and a murder). The text will be framed in the tradition of visionary literature and examined also as a case of interaction between the cultured dimension - that of the editor who puts it in writing - and the popular mentality - that of the protagonist, a peasant on the outskirts of the German empire.
For those who take the exam for 9 ECTS, the remaining 3 ECTS must be acquired attending the final section of the course of Medieval Latin Literature.
Prerequisites for admission
The course presupposes the knowledge of the fundamentals of the literary history of the Latin Middle Ages, as acquired through the exam of Medieval Latin literature or, partially, through the exam of Humanistic Philology. A good knowledge of Latin is also essential.
Teaching methods
In the part of section A dedicated to research tools, the presentation by the teacher will be accompanied by experiences of research in group in the classroom, through the digital supports available for the discipline (databases and online archives). Furthermore, part of the time will be devoted to individual presentations of students, aimed at demonstrating both the results obtained in the drafting of the respective Wikipedia entries, and the ability to organize their exposure effectively. The linguistic part of section A will be introduced with lectures, but will also involve the drawing up of individual exercises in applying the acquired knowledge, through the linguistic analysis of a segment of text that will be discussed during the exam.
The lectures of section B will take place in the traditional frontal mode, but students will be invited to discuss points of method and interpretation of the case addressed.
Both sections use booklets provided on the Ariel platform: the first one includes a description and a reasoned list of the research tools of the discipline and texts for individual analysis exercises; the second one contains materials useful for the historical-literary framing and the philological analysis of the case addressed.
Given the strong interactive and applicative component of teaching, attendance is strongly recommended.
Teaching Resources
Section A:
1) E. Löfstedt, Il latino tardo: aspetti e problemi, Brescia, Paideia, 1980, only chapters II e V.
2) P. Stotz, Il latino nel Medioevo: guida allo studio di un'identità linguistica europea, Firenze, Sismel - Ed. del Galluzzo, 2013, only §§ 1-7 (pp. 3-26), 10-11 (pp. 43-50), 15-18 (pp. 57-68).
3) Booklet: Strumenti e testi per le esercitazioni (available from the beginning of February 2021 on the Ariel website, on the page dedicated to Medieval Latin Language and Literature)

Section B:
1) Visio Godeschalci. Il mondo e l'altro mondo di un contadino tedesco del XII secolo, cur. R. Guglielmetti e G. Puleio, Firenze, SISMEL - Ed. del Galluzzo 2021
The volume constitutes an exam text. Knowledge of part of the Latin text in the original language will be required, according to the indications provided during the course.
2) Handout Materiali complementari (available from the beginning of February 2022 in the Ariel website,

Section C:
See the program of the final section of the course of Medieval Latin Literature.

Non-attending students:
For all three sections the exam programme must be agreed with the teacher.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam includes an oral test, which consists of an interview on programme topics, aimed at ascertaining students' acquisition of the knowledge and skills presented above and the specific contents of the monographic section (including the comprehension in the original language of the texts to be studied). Both the solidity of acquired knowledge and the ability to organize them in an effective discourse and to expose them using the specialized vocabulary of the discipline will be evaluated.
For section A, a part of the exam will be the discussion of a written exercise in linguistic analysis on a section of one of the texts contained in the relevant booklet, to be delivered to the teacher at least a week before the exam.
In addition to the final exam, the writing of an encyclopedic entry on an author or text of the medieval Latinity (to be published in Wikipedia and presented to colleagues during the lessons) contributes to the final mark.
International or Erasmus incoming students are kindly requested to contact the teacher of the course. Also SLD should contact the teacher of the course, in order to discuss alternative examination methods, in agreement with the competent Office.
Unita' didattica A
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica B
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica C
Lessons: 20 hours