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

Undergraduate Course: The Latin Manuscript: Palaeography, Codicology, Textual Criticism (LATI10043)

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
SummaryMost of the ancient and medieval literature we have today came down to us precisely because it was copied by hand, often over successive generations, and preserved in collections where we can still access the copies today. Learning to use manuscript materials allows both classicists and medievalists to break new ground and study previously unknown or understudied texts, authors, traditions, and topics.
Course description Over the eleven weeks of the course, we will explore a thousand years of Latin handwriting, and delve into the foundations of textual scholarship, covering scripts, dating, codicology, cataloguing, libraries, provenance, collation, recension and editing, using both the traditional methods as well as new technologies including digital facsimiles and editing software. The following topics will be covered in the course:

- History of Scripts: Roman, Uncial, Half-Uncial, and National Scripts
- History of Scripts: Insular and Caroline
- History of Scripts: Gothic and Humanistic
- Abbreviations and Paratexts
- Codicology
- Finding manuscripts: Print and Online
- Visit to National Library of Scotland
- Critical editions: Reading introductions and critical apparatus
- Collation and comparison of manuscript texts
- Editing 1: Constructing a stemma
- Editing 2: Producing a text.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: ( Latin 2A (LATI08011) OR Latin 2a Ex-Beginners (LATI08013)) AND Latin 2B (LATI08012)
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking The Latin Manuscript: Palaeography, Codicology, Textual Criticism (PGHC11454)
Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should usually have at least 3 courses in Classics related subject matter (at least 2 of which should be in Latin) at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses but Elementary or Intermediate Latin courses will not count. Students beyond Intermediate level but with less Latin than the prerequisite should consider taking Latin 2a/2b.
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 Latin text-hands and glossing-hands from ca. 500-1500, identifying scripts and approximate dating
  2. describe the construction and codicological features of a manuscript book
  3. use printed catalogues, online databases, and library research to locate and exploit manuscript material
  4. understand the way in which manuscripts are used to produce critical editions
Reading List
Textual Transmission

L. D. Reynolds, ed. Texts and Transmission: A Survey of the Latin Classics. Oxford 1983.
J. Velaza, ed. From the Protohistory to the History of the Text. Frankfurt am Main 2016.

Manuscript studies

R. Clemens, Introduction to Manuscript Studies. Ithaca 2007.
Ch. de Hamel, Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts. London 2016.


E. A. Lowe, Codices latini antiquiores. 12 vol. Oxford 1934-1971.
E. A. Lowe, The Beneventan Script. Oxford 1914.
A. Derolez, The Palaeography of the Gothic Manuscript Book. Cambridge 2003.
B.L. Ullman, Ancient Writing and Its Influence. Toronto 1932.
B.L. Ullman, The Origin and Development of Humanistic Script. Rome 1960.
B. Bischoff, Latin Palaeography: Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Cambridge 1990

R.B.C. Huygens, Ars edendi. A Practical Introduction to Editing Medieval Latin Texts. Turnhout 2000.
R. Tarrant, Texts, Editors, and Readers: Methods and Problems in Latin Textual Criticism. Cambridge 2016.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Justin Stover
Tel: (0131 6)50 9110
Course secretaryMr George Bottrell-Campbell
Tel: (0131 6)50 8349
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