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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Greek

Undergraduate Course: Greek Palaeography (GREE10032)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryManuscripts matter: for classical philologists, medieval manuscripts remain the primary source upon which the study of ancient literature is ultimately based. In particular, successful and objective textual criticism of classical Greek texts requires a correct evaluation of the work of Byzantine scholars and of the interpolation and corruption which may be found in each individual manuscript. This in turn requires an intimate knowledge of the historical and cultural context in which the Byzantine scribes and scholars worked.
Course description For Byzantinists, medieval Greek manuscripts, besides carrying texts from the Byzantine millennium as well as from the classical period, remain a privileged key for deciphering the cultural world inextricably and complexly linked to Byzantine literary production. Manuscripts have only just begun to be exploited systematically for prosopographical, network, and cultural poetic studies.
Over the twelve weeks of term, this class shall traverse the world of Greek handwriting from c.300 to c.1500, taking the surviving fourth-century codices of the Bible as its starting point and concluding with early prints in Greek manufactured at the workshop of Aldo Manuzio in Venice.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: ( Greek 2A (GREE08007) OR Greek 2a Ex-Beginners (GREE08009)) AND Greek 2B (GREE08008)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students must have passed Greek 2A (or Greek 2a Ex-Beginners) AND Greek 2B, or at the discretion of the Course Organiser.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesAdvanced-level ability in Greek language and literature, equivalent to two years' study at the University of Edinburgh. (If uncertain, consult the Course Organiser.)
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. decipher Greek bookhands of all periods, including fairly intricate scholarly hands of the later Byzantine centuries, without requiring further guidance;
  2. approximately date minuscule bookhands (ninth/tenth; eleventh/twelfth; thirtheenth/fourteenth centuries; Renaissance) and place them on a sliding scale from formal to informal;
  3. describe Greek bookhands by drawing on the appropriate technical vocabulary;
  4. handle original manuscript material competently and independently, especially in the handling sessions in the Scottish National Library;
  5. gain the skill of analyzing and interpreting primary data, and to present orally and in writing topics pertaining to the research fields of Greek palaeography and Byzantine manuscript studies.
Reading List
N. G. Wilson, 'Greek Palaeography', in E. Jeffreys & al., The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies (Oxford, 2008), 101-14.
N. Gaul, 'The Manuscript Tradition', in E. Bakker (ed.), Companion to the Ancient Greek Language (Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 69-82.
N. Wilson, Medieval Greek Bookhands: Examples Selected from Greek Manuscripts in Oxford Libraries, 2 vols (Cambridge, MA, 1972/3; repr. 1995).
R. Barbour, Greek Literary Hands AD 400-1600 (Oxford, 1981).
P. Easterling and C. Handley (eds), Greek Scripts: An Illustrated Introduction (London, 2001).
A. Turyn, Dated Greek Manuscripts in the Libraries of Great Britain (Washington, D.C., 1981).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Special Arrangements In order for a student from outwith Classics to be enrolled on this course, contact must be made with a Course Secretary on 50 3582 in order for approval to be obtained.
KeywordsGreek Palaeography
Course organiserDr Foteini Spingou
Tel: (0131 6)50 3846
Course secretaryMiss Claire Brown
Tel: (0131 6)50 3582
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