Europe's lingua franca: applications of Latin for graduate medievalists and early modernists - MT887

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn
View Timetable
7 15 (7.5)







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. While you will learn the grammatical structures of classical Latin, the emphasis is on Latin as a living language in the post-classical world. 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?


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Total contact hours: 44

Method of assessment

Language exercises – homework submitted over the course of the term (best four marks, of a minimum of six exercises completed, 4 × 10% = 40%)
Language test – done in class at the end of term (60 min) (20%)
Essay (2,500 words) (40%)

Indicative reading

Textbook - J. F. Collins, A Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin (Washington DC, 1988)
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)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

1. Be able to comprehend, parse and translate Latin texts of the style and level of complexity they are likely to encounter in their MA research
2. Appreciate the pan-European role of Latin and its continuing but shifting status in the medieval and early modern West
3. Show an understanding of both the changes that the Latin underwent in the medieval and early modern world and what they tell us about the societies in which it was used
4. Understand literacy as a cultural construction and the place of multilingualism within it

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