Mediaeval Latin

Bruce A. McMenomy, Ph.D.
for Scholars Online
2023-24: Tuesdays 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM ET

Overview    Materials    Schedule

Schedule of reading and discussion assignments

Readings from Sidwell are shown in dark blue; readings from Mantello and Rigg in purple.

1. Tue, Sep 5, 2023

Introductory Matters

Mantello and Rigg:
AA, AB, and AC: Introduction, pp. 3-10;
CA: Med. Latin Philology, pp. 71-78.

[no lines of Latin]

For this first session there will be no assignment from Sidwell, but I would like you to read the relevant sections of Mantello and Rigg, so that we can begin a discussion about just what Mediaeval Latin is. I'm not expecting you to master any of these sections: they are for information and orientation in a very large, rather amorphous field.

At least part of what I'd like to accomplish today is setting up the sign posts and defining the lay of the land. We will consider what the field is about — both how it is manifest (or not) in various university classics programs, and what the nature of the field itself is. I'd also like to define terms: what do we mean by Classical Latin, Late Latin, Vulgar Latin, Mediaeval Latin, Neo-Latin, and the rest? We'll have occasion to resort to these later throughout the year.

2. Tue, Sep 12, 2023

The Voice of the Rule

Benedict of Nursia,
Isidore of Seville, pp. 11-13

Mantello and Rigg:
CB: Orthography and pronunciation, pp. 79-82;
GB: Latin Literature of Late Antiquity, pp. 537-546.

[34 lines of Latin]

These monastic rules are several things at once for us: they represent a kind of crystallization of Latin Latin writing, but they are also the seedbed of the dictional world of the monastic Middle Ages. When one considers how much of the writing of the early Middle Ages in particular comes from the monastic tradition, the importance of this cannot be overestimated.

3. Tue, Sep 19, 2023

The Community of the Book

Cassiodorus, Institutiones, pp. 13-17.

Mantello and Rigg:
CC: Morphology and Syntax, pp. 83-92;
FH: Manuscript Production, pp. 465-467.

[45 lines of Latin]

Cassiodorus was an acquaintance, perhaps even a friend, of Boethius, whom some of you may remember from Western Literature to Dante. He is one of the founding fathers of Western Monasticism from an institutional level; his contributions are only secondarily spiritual. His great and exemplary contribution was in establishing his Vivarium to be a place where books were collected, preserved, and copied.

If you want to find out a lot more about Cassiodorus, you may refer to the now-definitive work on his life and career, the magisterial biography by James J. O'Donnell, who has placed a "postprint" version of the text on his website at Georgetown here. (He himself has moved on to the University of Arizona, but the website remains.)

4. Tue, Sep 26, 2023

The Shape of Liturgy in the Early Monastic World

Benedict of Nursia, pp. 19-21.

Mantello and Rigg:
CD: Vocabulary, Word Formation, and Lexicography, 93-105;
DB: Liturgy, pp. 157-182.

[37 lines of Latin]

The liturgy of the early monastic world was molded around the shape of the community, and the community was molded around the liturgy. Benedict's Rule explores that relationship and also gives us a view into the day-to-day workings of the monastery.

5. Tue, Oct 3, 2023

Psalter and Song

Gallicanum, Ps. 22/3: p. 22;
Ambrose of Milan, Veni redemptor gentium, pp. 22-4.

Mantello and Rigg:
CE: Metrics, pp. 106-110;
GJ: Hymns, pp. 597-606.

[42 lines of Latin]

These are not many lines, and at least some of them should be familiar to you (in fact, the Ambrose might be familiar to you too, if you have this particular hymn in your hymnal: it's definitely in the Episcopal Hymnal). But give them a look in terms not only of their Latinity (which is of course important) but also in terms of their poetic qualities. One is of course a translation from the Hebrew, and so has some of the limitations and issues that will accompany any translation. The other is a new composition.

6. Tue, Oct 10, 2023

A Nun's Travels

Egeria, Peregrinationes, pp. 24-28.

Mantello and Rigg:
CG: Latin and the Vernacular Languages, pp. 122-129;
GS: Travel Literature, pp. 682-687.

[41 lines of Latin]

Egeria is a charming, and thoroughly unlearned, woman who traveled throughout the Middle East in the obscurest part of Late Antiquity. Almost nothing is known about her other than her name and what she has written, but her personality fairly leaps off the page: her lively engagement with what she is describing and the simple zeal of her faith is curiously appealing. Her Latinity can generally be described as "vulgar" — which is not to say that it was in any way crude (she seems in fact to have been a woman of delicate sensibilities, in her way) but merely that her language is the language of the vulgus — the popular and corrupt Latin that in various places gives way to the different vernacular languages.

7. Tue, Oct 17, 2023

Spiritual Autobiography

Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, pp. 45-48.

Mantello and Rigg:
GU: Devotional and Mystic Literature, pp. 694-701.

[49 lines of Latin]

The Confessions of St. Augustine have been described as the greatest spiritual autobiography ever written. While one might debate such a designation, or offer other contenders, there is no doubt that in terms of its penetrating and serious insight and self-awareness, no other Christian spiritual autobiography has come anywhere close to it in total influence. It has been a classic — and regarded as one — since shortly after it was written. No age has been without its admirers of this work; the Catholic tradition is steeped in Augustinian self-analysis, and the Protestants have claimed him as well. The passage excerpted here focuses on the crisis of Augustine's conversion, after a long resistance, to Christianity, and it speaks with an honesty and immediacy that is hard to ignore.

8. Tue, Oct 24, 2023

Epistolography and Hagiography, 1

Jerome, Epistles pp. 51-53.

Mantello and Rigg:
CF: Prose Styles and Cursus, pp. 111-121;
GO: Epistolography, pp. 650-658.

[44 lines of Latin]

9. Tue, Oct 31, 2023

Epistolography and Hagiography, 2

Jerome, Epistles, pp. 54-56.

Mantello and Rigg:
DA: Christian and Biblical Latin, pp. 137-156.

[47 lines of Latin]

10. Tue, Nov 7, 2023

Education and the Study of Scripture

Caesarius of Arles, pp. 58-63.

Mantello and Rigg:
DI: Grammar, pp. 288-295.

[75 lines of Latin]

11. Tue, Nov 14, 2023

Christian Allegorical Poetry

Prudentius, Psychomachia, pp. 63-64;
Columba, Altus prosator A-C, pp. 73-75.

Mantello and Rigg:
GP: Sermons, pp. 659-669.

[72 lines of Latin]

12. Tue, Nov 21, 2023

Hagiography and Morals

Aldhelm, pp. 96-101.

Mantello and Rigg:
GL: Hagiography, pp. 618-628.

[53 lines of Latin]

13. Tue, Nov 28, 2023

Christian History in Anglo-Saxon England

Bede, Historia ecclesiastica, pp. 102-106.

Mantello and Rigg:
EF: Chronology and Systems of Dating, pp. 383-387.

[84 lines of Latin]

A Merovingian sarcophagus
Saint-Denis, France.

14. Tue, Dec 5, 2023

Christian Historiography on the Continent

Gregory of Tours, pp. 119-122.

Mantello and Rigg:
GN: Historiography, pp. 639-649.

[59 lines of Latin]

15. Tue, Dec 12, 2023

Review, exam.

No new reading: review.

Mantello and Rigg:
No new reading: review.

[0 lines of Latin]

The tomb of Clovis
Saint-Denis, France.

16. Tue, Dec 19, 2024

Stories from the Germanic Migration

Jonas of Bobbio, pp. 126-129.

Mantello and Rigg:
Pick one section we are not otherwise covering and write a short presentation on it for the class, to be posted in the Conference Center.

[61 lines of Latin]

17. Tue, Jan 9, 2024

The Carolingian State and Culture

Capitulare episcoporum, pp. 134-136; Alcuin of York, pp. 136-138.

Mantello and Rigg:
DE: Charters, Deeds, and Diplomatics, pp. 230-240.

[49 lines of Latin]

18. Tue, Jan 16, 2024

Carolingian Historiography

Paul the Deacon, pp. 138-142.

Mantello and Rigg:
DD: Secular Administration, pp. 195-229.

[73 lines of Latin]

19. Tue, Jan 23, 2024

Carolingian Biography and Poetry

Einhard, pp. 143-148.

Mantello and Rigg:
GK: Biography, pp. 607-617.

[66 lines of Latin]

20. Tue, Jan 30, 2024

Carolingians and Ottonians and the Northmen

Abbo of St. Germain, pp. 152-155;
Notker Balbulus, pp. 155-157.

Mantello and Rigg:
Pick one section we are not otherwise covering and write a short presentation on it for the class, to be posted in the Conference Center.

[72 lines of Latin]

21. Tue, Feb 6, 2024

The Dramatist Nun of the Millennium, 1

Hrotsvitha von Gandersheim, pp. 160-165a.

Mantello and Rigg:
GG: Drama, pp. 574-581.

[89 lines of Latin]

22. Tue, Feb 13, 2024

The Dramatist Nun of the Millennium, 2

Hrotsvitha von Gandersheim, pp. 165b-169.

Mantello and Rigg:
GA: Towards a History of Medieval Latin Literature, pp. 505-520.

[104 lines of Latin]

This section contains a lot of lines, but they are colloquial and short, and should actually prove considerably easier than a number of other things. The chief impediment is the special vocabulary, and there is not a lot of that.

I have also given you the largest single section of reading from Mantello and Rigg for this week: you do not, of course, need to master its content, but going through it at least once should give a general lay of the land. We'll finish it up next week. By now you should have enough examples and ideas in play to be able to make sense of it.

23. Tue, Feb 20, 2024

The Norman Conquest as Heroic Poetry

Wido of Amiens, pp. 185-188.

Mantello and Rigg:
GA: Towards a History of Medieval Latin Literature, pp. 520-536.

[66 lines of Latin]

24. Tue, Feb 27, 2024

Administration in Norman England and the Beginnings of the Crusades

Domesday Book, pp. 189-190;
Baudri of Bourgueil, pp. 219-223.

Mantello and Rigg:
GM: Rhetoric, 629-638.

[65 lines of Latin]

25. Tue, Mar 5, 2024

A Debate on a Proof of the Existence of God

Anselm of Canterbury and Gaunilon, pp. 236-242.

Mantello and Rigg:
GR: Debates and Dialogues, pp. 677-681.

[71 lines of Latin]

26. Tue, Mar 12, 2024

A Mix of Poetic Forms

Carmina Cantabrigiensia, pp. 244-248;
Ruodlieb, pp. 248-250.

Mantello and Rigg:
GC: Epic, pp. 547-555.

[84 lines of Latin]

27. Tue, Mar 19, 2024

The Beginnings of Scholastic Philosophy

Pierre Abelard, pp. 259-262.

Mantello and Rigg:
DH: Theology and Philosophy, pp. 267-287.

[43 lines of Latin]

28. Tue, Apr 2, 2024

The Foundation of Canon Law

Gratian, pp. 263-267.

Mantello and Rigg:
DF: Canon Law, pp. 241-253.

[82 lines of Latin]

29. Tue, Apr 9, 2024

The Mystic Allegorist against Abelard

Bernard of Clairvaux, pp. 273-278.

Mantello and Rigg:
DC: Ecclesiastical and University Administration, pp. 183-194.

[50 lines of Latin]

30. Tue, Apr 16, 2024

The Private Woes of two Lovers

Abelard, pp. 278-282; Heloise, pp. 283-285.

Mantello and Rigg:

[101 lines of Latin]

31. Tue, Apr 23, 2024

The Mystical Musician of Bingen

Hildegard of Bingen, pp. 285-290.

Mantello and Rigg:
GT: Vision Literature, pp. 688-693.

[72 lines of Latin]

32. Tue, Apr 30, 2024

Student Songs from the Early Days of the University

Carmina Burana, pp. 336-340.

Mantello and Rigg:
GI: Lyric, pp. 589-596.

[78 lines of Latin]

33. Tue, May 7, 2024

A Goliardic Poet

The Archpoet, pp. 348-352.

Mantello and Rigg:
GW: Anthologies and Florilegia, pp. 708-712.

[94 lines of Latin]

34. Tue, May 14, 2024

Religious Satire in the High Middle Ages

Nigel Whiteacre, pp. 357-361.

Mantello and Rigg:
GD: Beast Epic and Fable, pp. 556-561;
GE: Satire, pp. 562-568.

[52 lines of Latin]

Last Updated on 7/25/19 by Bruce A. McMenomy
© Copyright 2019, Bruce A. McMenomy