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Latin for Research in the Humanities

Epigraphic manuscript NAL 1149 in the Bibliothèque nationale de France

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 wish to brush up your Latin skills while discussing key ideas of the Renaissance? If so, then you may wish to join the (online) Latin for Research in the Humanities course delivered by the Warwick's Centre for the Study of the Renaissance. This course aims to help participants (whether staff or students) develop the ability to read and understand Renaissance texts, while allowing them to brush up their Latin skills for research purposes. The weekly meetings of approximately 90 minutes (Mondays, 5-6.30pm UK time), will consist of the reading and translation of a fourteenth- to sixteenth-century text, supported by grammar and vocabulary revision. A previous acquaintance with the Latin language (typically to intermediate level) is required for this course. If you have any questions, please contact the course tutor, Clive Letchford by email at: 

Sessions will focus on a selected number of Neo-Latin authors in order to build familiarity with their particular styles and rhetorical practices. In the first of the two terms, the readings will include extracts from the works of renaissance schoolteachers and Francis Petrarch (1304-1374) and aim to refresh applying the basics of Latin. In the second term students will read extracts from Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) and Leonardo Bruni (1360-1444). The study of these authors will introduce participants to the particularities of Renaissance Latin and, at the same time, to the conventions of some of the most important genres practised by Neo-Latin writers, such as letter-writing, the philosophical dialogue, or the satirical speech. The outline for Term 1 is as follows:

1-3 School Colloquia

  • Pueriles confabulatiunculae - Gallus
  • Confabulationes - Schottenius
  • Dialogi Sacri - Castellion

 4-6: Epistolary writing

  • Cicero’s letters, in Sturm’s edition
  • Petrarch, introduction to his collection of letters (Fam. I.1)
  • Petrarch’s letter to Cicero (Fam. XXIV, 3)

 7-8 Narrative

  • Petrarch’s Ascent of Mt. Ventoux (Familiares. IV, 1)

9 Christmas texts

  • comparison of Vulgate and Erasmus's Novum Testamentum omne (1516)
  • Adeste fideles

The two terms may be taken independently of each other.

Places are limited, and the availability of this course is subject to a minimum enrolment. All classes will be taught virtually via Microsoft Teams on Mondays, 5-6.30pm (UK time), with the first class due to commence on Monday 9th October 2023. Term 2 will start on Monday 8th January 2024. To apply, please compete the short application form here (tab also on top left of page). Deadline for applications is Monday 18th September 2023.

Participants will pay £200 for the course before the beginning of term. Participants whose institution belongs to the Newberry Library Consortium may be eligible to receive CRS Consortium Grants to cover the cost of the course. (Contact your local consortium representative for details.) Warwick PhD Students will not have to pay the course fees.

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.