Latin 414
Medieval Latin and Palaeography
Fall 2012

Instructor: Robert W. Cape, Jr., Professor of Classics
Office: Admin. 310 - - - Phone: ext. 2241 - - - Email:
Office hours: M 4:30 -5:30, T 1:30 - 2:30, WF 4:30 - 5:00 post meridiem & by appt.

  • Harrington, Karl P. Medieval Latin. 1st ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1925; rpt. 2007.
  • Clemens, Raymond and Timothy Graham, Introduction to Manuscript Studies. Cornell: Cornell University Press, 2007.
  • Souter, Alexander. A Glossary of Later Latin to 600 A.D. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1949; rpt. 1996.
  • This course will be conducted as an undergraduate seminar in medieval Latin. We will have three main goals this semester: 1) to read medieval Latin with precision and understanding; 2) to appreciate how it functioned as a transmitter of ideas and culture; and 3) to understand better the linguistic development of Latin after the Classical period and the changes it underwent when it became a vehicle of international communication after the development of the vernaculars. The material covered in the course will span late antiquity to the early Renaissance. We will pay special attention to certain topics, such as women writers, the Latin love poem tradition, miracle stories, animal tales, and the Latin of popular sermons. The class will also function as an introduction to Latin paleography and we will devote one class each week to the study of medieval manuscripts, Latin paleography, and textual transmission.

    Since this is a seminar we will spend most of our time reading and discussing the texts. Our aim will be to translate the texts as accurately and idiomatically as possible, emphasizing the communicative nature of a translation rather than its strict grammatical correctness. Each student will give two brief, informative reports during the course of the semester. One report will be about one of the special topics mentioned above; the other will be a précis of a scholarly article about a topic in our texts. Each student will also complete a term project. The project will be a commentary designed to elucidate the text for an elementary college or high school reader. There will be more details about the project later in the term.

    Due to the seminar nature of this course, students are expected to show a high degree of interest, commitment, and responsibility for doing the work assigned. They also have the right to expect these from the instructor. Students will be expected to attend every class and to come to class fully prepared. Each unexcused absence in excess of three (3) will lower the participation score by five percentage points.

    The final grade is based on your participation in the course, bi-weekly vocabulary quizzes, the two brief reports, two examinations (a midterm and a final), and the presentation and completion of a final project. The final project will be due at the time of the final examination. The percentage breakdown is as follows:



    weekly quizzes


    brief reports


    (5% each)



    term project


    final exam


    (Friday, December 12, 3:00 - 5:00)

    Austin College's Standards of Academic Integrity are assumed to apply to your work for this course. The Academic Integrity Policy can be found in the "Student Conduct" section of The Environment: Austin College Student Handbook 2012-2013 ( You are encouraged to work with others on homework and in studying for quizzes and exams. Homework may reflect work done in a group, but should not be merely copied from someone else. All work on quizzes, the midterm and final must be your own. Infringements of the Academic Integrity Policy may result in failing grades on assignments, for the course, or removal from the course.

    Austin College seeks to provide reasonable accommodations for all individuals with disabilities and will comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations and guidelines. It is the responsibility of the student to register with and provide verification of academic accommodation needs to the Director of the Academic Skills Center as soon as possible. The student also must contact the faculty member in a timely manner to arrange for reasonable academic accommodations. For further information regarding disability services or to register for assistance, please contact the office at 903-813-2454 or visit the Academic Skills Center. For additional information, see the Center's web pages,

    Access to grades and some assignments will be available through Austin College's Moodle []

    [Bob Cape's Homepage] [Classics Program Homepage]

    Robert W. Cape, Jr., Professor of Classics
    Classical & Modern Languages
    900 N. Grand Avenue, Suite 61653
    Sherman, TX 75090-4440
    phone: (903) 813-2241 fax: (903) 813-2011  



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