Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Timetable 2022-23: Term 2

Tutor: Iván Parga Ornelas
Term 2 Timetable (January - March 2023). Thursdays 5-6:30 pm (GMT), starting 12th January 2022

During term 2 we will study the works of two Neo-Latin authors, in the first half we will read works by Leon Battista Alberti and in the second, by Thomas More. From Leon Battista Alberti we will read the Intercenales (dinner conversations) and the satiric novel Momus. From Tomas More we will read one of his letters and excerpts from the Utopia. As an intermezzo, and in order to explore Neo-Latin poetry as well as prose one session will be dedicated to Neo-Latin elegy, and another to Epic poetry. NB: Attending the sessions in term 1 is not a pre-requisite to joining this module in term 2.

Week 1 (Jan 12). Leon Battista Alberti, Intercenales (Fatum et Fortuna)

Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472) was an architect, writer, mathematician, and one of the most important Latinists of the Florentine Renaissance. His Intercenales (dinner conversations) are short dialogues which explore the human condition with a bitter and poignant irony that is characteristic of a part of Alberti’s works. Our first two sessions will be dedicated to the Intercenales. In the first session we will read the Fatum et Fortuna, a dream narrative that allegorises the concepts of fate and fortune.

Week 2 (Jan 19). Leon Battista Alberti, Intercenales (Virtus)

In this second session we will continue our reading of the Intercenales. This time we will approach the dialogue Virtus. This is a Lucianic dialogue where a personified Virtue recounts her own misfortunes as she finds no place where she is admitted.

Week 3 (Jan 26). Leon Battista Alberti, Momus

In week 3 we begin our reading of Alberti's satiric novel Momus. In this work, Alberti describes the adventures and misfortunes of Momus, the god of criticism, who, after being expelled from Olympus because of his constant criticism, descends to earth. Through this satirical narrative Alberti comments on and crticises many of the institutions of Renaissance Italy, from politics to religion and intellectual life.

Week 4 (February 2). Leon Battista Alberti, Momus

In this session we will continue reading excerpts from Alberti's Momus.

Week 5 (Feb 9) Neo-Latin Elegy and lyric poetry

In this session we will explore Neo-Latin poems from Alberti but also from other writers outside of Italy, such as the so-called Scottish Horace, George Buchanan.

Week 6 (Feb 16). Reading week ~no class

Week 7 (February 23). Neo-Latin epic

In this session we will explore Neo-Latin epic by reading excerpts from two epic poems by the famous Quattrocento humanist Maffeo Vegio, the Supplementum Aeneidos and the Antoniad. Vegio wrote the Supplementum or book XIII of the Aeneid in 1427. This poem ‘completes’ the Aeneid by picking up where Vergil's book XII ended and narrating the aftermath of Turnus’ death. The Antoniad, written in 1437, narrates the journey of Anthony of the desert to visit the hermit Saint Paul. As we read the poems we will discuss Vegio’s appropriation and transformation of Virgilian motifs and figures.

Week 8 (Mar 2). Thomas More, Utopia

In week 8 we will begin our study of Thomas More's Latin texts which will occupy us for the rest of the term. In the first and second session we will read excerpts Thomas More's famous Utopia, published in 1516. Utopia depicts a fictional island society and its religious, social, and political customs while criticising or questioning socio-political aspects of More's own time. Utopia is also a great example of sixteenth century Latin prose in England dealing with contemporary matters.

Week 9 (Mar 9). Thomas More, Utopia

In this session we will continue our reading of More's Utopia.

Week 10 (Mar 17). Thomas More, Letters

Thomas More held correspondence in Latin with many famous men and women of his time. His final letters were written from prison as he awaited execution. In this last session we will read one of Thomas More's Latin letters to Erasmus of Rotterdam.