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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: The Latin Manuscript: Palaeography, Codicology, Textual Criticism (PGHC11454)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting 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 Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking The Latin Manuscript: Palaeography, Codicology, Textual Criticism (LATI10043)
Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  15
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 5 course-work exercises each worth 20% of the final grade.

Examples of possible assigned coursework include: analysis, dating, and transcription of a selection from a manuscript; full codicological and analytical description of a manuscript; construction of a handlist of manuscripts of a given text; collating an unreported witness to a published text and establishment of its place in the stemma; producing an edition of a short text from multiple manuscript sources.
Feedback Students will receive written feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser during their published office hours for this course or by appointment.
No Exam Information
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
  5. demonstrate originality and independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; and a considerable degree of autonomy in class discussion and coursework.
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 secretary
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