Europe’s lingua franca: Latin for graduate pre-modernists - MEMS8930

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2022 to 2023
Combined Autumn and Spring Terms 7 30 (15) David Rundle checkmark-circle


Latin was the premier language of medieval and early modern Europe, and a firm grounding in it becomes essential to you now that you are graduate students. The module is specifically tailored for medievalists and early modernists. It has two interlocking aims: one is to ensure you are well versed enough in the language that you can feel confident in approaching primary sources in your dissertation research for the MA and, indeed, beyond if you continue to doctoral studies. The second is to consider the role of Latin as a living language in the post-classical world — and one whose influence is still felt in our society today. You will be considering its transformations and variety and will be encouraged to ask what these developments tell us about the societies in which it was used. Alongside that, we will consider the role of Latin: how did that change from its classical origins? Why did it survive so long? How far did it decline in power over the long period we study?


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 88
Total private study hours: 212 hours
Total module hours: 300 hours

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:

Language exercises – homework submitted over the course of the terms (best six marks, of a minimum of five exercises completed, 6 × 5% = 30%)
Exam (2 hours; 20%)
Essay (3,000 words; 30%)
Presentation on a selected text (in class, 10%)
Public engagement project (10%)

Reassessment methods:
Coursework (100%)

Indicative reading

J. F. Collins, A Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin (Washington DC, 1988)
K. Sidwell, Reading Medieval Latin (Cambridge, 1995)
In addition, students will be encouraged to use relevant online resources, including:
Cultural status of Latin
F. Waquet, Latin, or the Empire of a Sign (London, 2001)
R. Ashdowne and C. White ed., Latin in Medieval Britain (Oxford, 2017)
C. Celenza, The Lost Italian Renaissance (Baltimore MD, 2005)
S. Tilg and S. Knight ed., The Oxford Handbook of Neo-Latin (Oxford, 2015)
V. Moul ed., A Guide to Neo-Latin Literature (Cambridge, 2017)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate a level of competence in Latin as would be required from a student undertaking relevant primary research
2. Demonstrate an advanced appreciation of the peculiarities of the various medieval and early modern styles of Latin
3. Show a nuanced understanding of the changing status of Latin texts in medieval and early modern Europe
4. Understand literacy as a cultural construction and the place of multilingualism within it
5. Reflect on the challenges and the potential of making medieval and early modern Latin accessible to wider audience

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Have confidence that they have mastered Latin to a standard compatible with undertaking advanced primary research
2. Appreciate the potential of close critical analysis of primary sources in a language other than their mother tongue, as well as of secondary material
3. Show mastery of the grammatical vocabulary in order to articulate their understanding and knowledge
4. Show enhanced appreciation of the role of grammar in expression in any language through developed powers of communication
5. Display a level of appreciation of the details of the Latin language to provide close analysis of relevant primary sources
6. Show an ability to explicate Latin texts to an academic audience
7. Show a recognition of the methods that can be used to make Latin material accessible to audiences beyond the academic


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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