Tutor: Iván Parga Ornelas
Term 1 Timetable (October - December 2020)
(Mondays 3-4:30 pm)
Revival of Classical Latin
Week 1 (Oct 5). Lorenzo Valla’s Elegantiae linguae Latinae.
Lorenzo Valla (1406-1457) was a leading philologist, philosopher, theologian, and translator and one of the most influential figures of Quattrocento humanism. His Elegantiae, a handbook of Latin language and style, was used by generations of humanist to polish their Latin skills. The prefaces to the six books that comprise this work are a great example of early Quattrocento Latin prose, and characterise the views on language and of many among early humanists.
Week 2 (Oct 12). Duecento humanists and Petrarch’s letters.
In this session we will read excerpts from the poems of Paduan humanist Lovato Lovati (1241–1309). The poems evidence a conscious attempt to write clacisising Latin and to follow ‘veterum vestigia vatum’ —the footsteps of the ancient poets. We will also read excerpts from Petrarch’s Familiares which show his attitude towards classical and medieval Latin.
Week 3 (Oct 19). Erasmus of Rotterdam’s Antibarbarorum liber and Dialogus Ciceronianus.
Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466-1436) is one of the greatest Early Modern scholars and the most prominent figures of the Northern Renaissance. In this session we will read excerpts from one of his earliest works Antibarbarorum, and one of his latest, Dialogus Ciceronianus. In the former, Erasmus, with his characteristic irony, attacks the scholars and writers of the middle ages for their barbarous Latin, while in the latter he criticises his contemporaries for an excess of zeal in the imitation of Cicero.
Week 4 (Oct 25). Maffeo Vegio, from pagan to Christian epic. The Supplementum and the Antoniad.
Maffeo Vegio wrote the Supplementum or book XIII of the Aeneid in 1427. The Supplementum ‘completes’ the Aeneid by picking up where 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 5 (Nov 2). Christian Epic. Girolamo Vida’s Christiad.
In this session we will read one of the most important Christian epics of the sixteenth Century. At the request of Pope Leo X, Marco Girolamo Vida (1485-1566) wrote the Christiad in 1535. It is an epic poem which retells the life of Christ, in the style of Virgil. We will analise passages that echo specific episodes of the Aeneid.
Week 6 (Nov 9). Reading Week.
Week 7 (Nov 16). Laura Cereta’s Correspondence.
Laura Cereta (1469 – 1499), a prominent humanist of the Quattrocento, collected a volume of 82 letters in which she deals with personal matters and childhood memories, and discusses themes such as women’s education, war, and marriage. We will read her letter to a fictitious accuser, Bibulus Sempronius, in which she responds to the charges made against her and woman writers in general.
Philosophy and political thought
Week 8 (Nov 23). Giovanni Pico della Mirandola’s Oratio de hominis dignitate
Pico della Mirandola (1463 –1494) wrote his Oratio de hominis dignitate in 1486 to accompany his 900 theses or Conclusiones philosophicae, cabalasticae et theologicae. The Oratio, sometimes called a ‘manifesto of the Renaissance’, with its syncretism and insistence on the centrality of the human being in creation, is characteristic of Renaissance philosophy. Stylistically, the Oratio provides a good example of philosophical Latin prose which is not deterred from following certain medieval linguistic conventions in order to discuss issues of medieval philosophy.
Week 9 (Nov 30). Thomas More’s Utopia
In this session we will read excerpts Thomas More´s (1478–1535) famous treatise 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 his own time. Utopia is also a great example of sixteenth century Latin prose in England dealing with contemporary matters such as the discovery of America.
Week 10 (Dec 6). Scottish Horace: George Buchanan’s lyrics
George Buchanan (1506-1582) was a Scottish historian and humanist scholar considered by some of his contemporaries the foremost poet of his time. In this session we will read some of his lyrical poems including his translation of the Psalms into classicising Latin using ancient metres. We will pay attention to his borrowings from Horace as well as his innovations.