Humanistic Philology

A.Y. 2024/2025
9
Max ECTS
60
Overall hours
SSD
L-FIL-LET/08
Language
Italian
Learning objectives
The course provides students with historical and methodological tools in the field of the transmission of texts, as an essential phenomenon for the cultural development of a society and an era. The specific field of action of the course are Latin texts, in their passage from antiquity to humanism, with their connected transformations.
Expected learning outcomes
Knowledge of the forms, patterns and channels of transmission of Latin texts from Late Antiquity to Humanism. Knowledge of the writing techniques in the Middle Ages. Knowledge of the role of institutions (libraries, schools, scriptoria, monasteries, bishoprics, courts, book trade) in the transmission of texts in the Middle Ages and Humanism.Knowledge of the transmission of Latin texts in the various European regions in the Middle Ages and Humanism. Knowledge of the methods of humanists in their approach to ancient texts, with consequences on the cultural activity of the time.

Ability to employ the basic technical lexicon of textual criticism. Ability to distinguish between the different types of manuscript evidence (e.g. direct and indirect tradition). Awareness of the different value of the available editions of a text, according to their different methodological lines. Critical awareness of the close connection between the knowledge we have of a text and the way in which this text has come down to us. Awareness of the historicity of methods of textual criticism, highlighted through the history of their applications.
Single course

This course cannot be attended as a single course. Please check our list of single courses to find the ones available for enrolment.

Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Responsible
Lesson period
Second semester
Course syllabus
The first 20 hours of the course deal with the history of the textual tradition in the Middle Ages and in Italian Humanism, namely:
1) production and circulation of the book in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages;
2) the features of the codex as a writing support;
3) history of transmission of Latin texts in the Early Middle Ages
4) Carolingian libraries, schools and scriptoria;
5) production and circulation of the book in the Late Middle Ages
6) production and circulation of the book in the Humanism
In the following 20 hours, some examples of applied textual criticism method will be provided, in order to show reconstructive methods connected to the history of the transmission. These examples will be chosen among Latin literary works with medieval and humanistic tradition.
In the year 2024-25, the last 20 hours of the course will be in common with the course of "Letteratura latina medievale" (prof. Rossana Guglielmetti) and will be devoted to a monographic topic ("The Policraticus by John of Salisbury: authorial variants and classical readings"). See the webpage of the course (https://www.unimi.it/it/corsi/insegnamenti-dei-corsi-di-laurea/2025/letteratura-latina-medievale).
Students who earn 9 ECTS will attend the whole course (60 hours); students who earn 6 ECTS will attend the first 40 hours of the course.
Prerequisites for admission
Good knowledge of Latin language and literature of the classical age. Basic knowledge of the history of Late Antiquity and of the Middle Ages.
Teaching methods
Basis teaching method is lecturing, supported by projection of images related to main topics. Classroom discussion, as a method for acquiring technical language, is fostered. The images presented during classes will be made available free of charge on the MyAriel website.

Even of there is a specific program for non-attending students, course attendance is strongly recommended.
Teaching Resources
a) Attending students, 6 ECTS (40 hours in class)

- P. Chiesa, La trasmissione dei testi latini. Storia e metodo critico, Roma, Carocci, 2019.
pp. 15-141 e 223-229.
This volume is the basis of the course, but classes widen and present its content in a more detailed way: attendance therefore allows to access material and explanations which are not included in the manual. In the examination, for attending students, will be assessed the knowledge of, and the ability to discuss, the textual case-studies presented in the volume which have been actually explained during classes, included the more in-depth studies and the additional material touched upon in class. During the examination, attending students may be asked to comment some images of manuscripts (among those presented in class); in this way, not only value is given to the work underken during classes, but also it will be possible to discuss the topics of the course with a visual support.

- P. Chiesa, Elementi di critica testuale, seconda edizione, Bologna, Pàtron, 2012
N.B.: students that have already taken the course and exam in Medieval Latin Literature (Letteratura latina medievale) will prepare alternative readings as outlined below in point e);

- V. De Angelis, Petrarca, i suoi libri e i commenti medievali ai classici, in Scritti di filologia medievale e umanistica, Napoli, D'Auria, 2011, pp. 233-269

- V. Fera, Problemi e percorsi della ricezione umanistica, in Lo spazio letterario di Roma antica. III. La ricezione del testo, a cura di G. Cavallo - A. Giardina - P. Fedeli, pp. 513-543.

Visual material discussed in class and connected to the chapters of the handbook will be made available to attending students in ARIEL portal, and will be of use in preparation to the exam.

b) Attending students, 9 ECTS (60 hours in class)

- All the bibliography assigned for 6 ECTS, as outlined above in point a), which remains entirely part of the program.
Furthermore, for the additional 3 ECTS:

the program for the last section of the course of "Letteratura latina medievale" (https://www.unimi.it/it/corsi/insegnamenti-dei-corsi-di-laurea/2025/letteratura-latina-medievale).
c) Non attending students, 6 ECTS

- P. Chiesa, La trasmissione dei testi latini. Storia e metodo critico, Roma, Carocci, 2019 (pp. 15-141 e 223-229).
Of students not attending, knowledge and ability to discuss all the textual examples included in the book will be required and assessed.

- P. Chiesa, Elementi di critica testuale, seconda edizione, Bologna, Pàtron, 2012; on the Ariel portal the links are provided to some lectures of philological methods available on Youtube, as a support to the study of the handbook.
N.B.: students that have already taken the course and exam in Medieval Latin Literature (Letteratura latina medievale) will prepare alternative readings as outlined below in point e).

- V. De Angelis, Petrarca, i suoi libri e i commenti medievali ai classici, in Scritti di filologia medievale e umanistica, Napoli, D'Auria, 2011, pp. 233-269

- V. Fera, Problemi e percorsi della ricezione umanistica, in Lo spazio letterario di Roma antica. III. La ricezione del testo, a cura di G. Cavallo - A. Giardina - P. Fedeli, pp. 513-543;

- G. Cappelli, L'umanesimo italiano da Petrarca a Valla, Roma, Carocci, 2007
only the following pp.: 17-124 (Introduzione; 1. Petrarca, l'Umanesimo e la modernità; 2. Firenze: Umanesimo e politica; 3. L'introduzione dello studio del greco); 163-187, 195-215 (6. Roma: i curiali e i grandi papi mecenati); 227-250 (7. Milano: umanesimo ducale); 337-80 (11. Lorenzo Valla: un innovatore controverso e polemico).

d) Non attending students, 9 ECTS

- All the bibliography assigned for 6 ECTS, as outlined above in point a), which remains entirely part of the program.

Furthermore, for the additional 3 ECTS:

- P. Chiesa, La trasmissione dei testi latini. Storia e metodo critico, Roma, Carocci, 2019.
The whole volume, included the sections not assigned for 6 ECTS;

- M. Ferrari, Il rilancio dei classici e dei padri, in Lo spazio letterario del Medioevo. I. Il medioevo latino, a cura di G. Cavallo - C. Leonardi - E. Menestò, Roma (Salerno) 1995, vol. 3. La ricezione del testo, pp. 429-455;

- Giovanni Boccaccio, Vita di Petrarca, a cura di G. Villani, Roma, Salerno Editrice, 2004.
Of this book will be required the reading of the introduction (pp. 11-60), of the Vita written by Boccaccio (pp. 72-91) with the enclosed commentary, and of Petrarch's epistle, Seniles XVIII (pp. 106-126) with the enclosed commentary. During examination, of the latter two works translation and discussion of a passage from the Latin text will be required.

e) Students that have already taken the course and exam in Medieval Latin Literature:

- Of the handbook Elementi di critica testuale (of which, for the Literature exam chapters 1, 2, 4 are assigned) he knowledge of the whole content will be required, included chapers 3 and 5;

- A. Stussi, Fondamenti di critica testuale, Bologna, Il Mulino (several editions) (only the essays by Bédier, Timpanaro, Contini);

- G. Pasquali, Storia della tradizione e critica del testo, (several editions), chapters I, II e IV («Il metodo del Lachmann», «Ci fu sempre un archetipo?», «Recentiores non deteriores»).
Assessment methods and Criteria
Single oral examination, in a single test, with a mark out of thirty; the mark is communicated at the end of the exam (minimum passing grade: 18/30).
Evaluated knowledge and awareness: 1) Knowledge of the history of Latin literary works in their transmission. 2) Ability in discussing and exposing cases of textual transmission; 3) Knowledge of the basic ecdotic techniques, also in the discussion of practical exemples; 4) Awareness of the connection through editorial practice and transmissional history .
Assessment criteria: 1) level of knowledge; 2) language property in the specific matter; 3) effectiveness of presentation; 4) ability in connecting topics; 5) width of critical perspective.
Bibliography is partially different for attending and not-attending students (see above). International or Erasmus incoming students are invited to contact the teacher early. The procedures of examining and grading for students with disabilities and / or with SLD must be discussed with the teacher, in agreement with the competent Office.
Unita' didattica A
L-FIL-LET/08 - MEDIEVAL AND HUMANISTIC LATIN LITERATURE - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica B
L-FIL-LET/08 - MEDIEVAL AND HUMANISTIC LATIN LITERATURE - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica C
L-FIL-LET/08 - MEDIEVAL AND HUMANISTIC LATIN LITERATURE - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours