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Latin for Research in the Humanities 2017-18

Does your research involve works written in Latin? Would you like to learn more about post-classical and humanistic Latin through discussion of some key Neo-Latin Renaissance texts? Do you compulsively end every speech with 'Carthago delenda est'? Do your friends refuse to watch Game of Thrones with you because you attribute nearly every reference to some passage the Aeneid? If so, then you may wish to come and join the Latin for Research in the Humanities course offered at the The Centre for the Study of the Renaissance.

This seminar is intended for postgraduates and staff who have basic knowledge of the language (GCSE Latin, the Classics Department's Beginners' course, or one year of Beginners' Latin at the university level) and wish to improve or maintain these Latin language skills. It is also intended for researchers who wish to develop further proficiency in early modern Latin. The course will run in Term 2, the first three weeks being taught by Bobby Xinyue (Classics) day/time tbc. The rest of the term will be taught by Simone Mollea (Classics) and will be held on Wednesdays at 5.00-6.30pm in H4.50 (accessible through the Graduate Space).

The aims of this course are

  • to give you a chance to try your hand at a wide variety of post-classical Latin texts
  • to expose you to some crucial Neo-Latin texts that were at the forefront of important early modern debates
  • to enrich your understanding of post-classical genres, forms, and styles
  • to give you confidence in reading Latin texts that are not available in translation
  • to improve your critical reading skills when evaluating existing translations and summaries
  • to increase the confidence and accuracy of your translation skills

Each class session will be organised around a short passage by an important early modern writer. We will read and translate the passage together, while also discussing grammatical and stylistic characteristics. Sessions will also include revision of relevant points of grammar. Texts to be studied include:*

  1. In the wake of ancient biographers: Giovanni Boccaccio’s De casibus virorum illustrium.

  2. Writing History in the Renaissance: Poggii Bracciolini Historia Florentina. 

  3. What was the true nobility in Quattrocento Italy? Poggius, Quirini, and others.

  4. The Church and the Council of Basel: Nicholas of Cusa’s Epistola ad Rodericum Sancium de Arevalo.

  5. In Lucian of Samosata’s footsteps: Erasmus’ satirical Moriae encomium.

  6. Theorising philology (and the Renaissance tout court?) in Guillaume Budé’s De philologia.

  7. Looking into the technicalities of the Latin language: Thomas Linacre’s De emendata structura Latini sermonis.

  8. Translating out of Greek: Canter’s Latin version of Aelius Aristides’ orations.

*N.B.: This list is only representative and is subject to change throughout the course of the term.

In term 3, participants will be invited to suggest readings that they would like to discuss.


  • regular attendance (no more than 3 classes missed per term)
  • active participation in class
  • homework: preparing and attempting to translate the text for each class
    (texts will be distributed at the end of the previous meeting)

Due to limited class size, postgraduate students and staff will have priority, but undergraduate students may also be considered (don't hesitate to get in touch if you are interested).

If you have any questions, please contact the course tutor, Simone Mollea: (

Classes are not accredited. Although free of charge, places are limited. If you wish to attend, please contact me or the Renaissance Centre administrator, Jayne Sweet ( to register.

Location: H4.50

Monday or Wednesday tbc(weeks 1-3, Term 2) with tutor Bobby Xinyue


Wednesday, 5-6.30pm. (weeks 4-10, Term 2) with tutor Simone Mollea

Course resources for 2017-18:


Reading exercises

Grammar exercises


Former students say:

The classes have been really helpful by covering the basics and applying them to the sort of Latin documents we are likely to come across in our research. Studying Latin this way is much more relevant - and can even be fun!

The best way to learn; friendly, relaxed and informal but with a serious purpose. It is essential for my Art History studies that I improve my lapsed Latin and I appreciate the flexible structure of teaching which adapts the coursework to the needs of the current group.


Lewis and Short, A Latin Dictionary

Society for Neo-Latin Studies

 International association for Neo-Latin Studies

 Online resources for Neo-Latin