Medieval and Renaissance Latin for historians

The autumn term course is now completely full!
Course date(s): 
4 Oct 2017 to 6 Dec 2017
10 Jan 2018 to 14 Mar 2018
11 Apr 2018 to 13 Jun 2018
Wednesdays. Beginners course: Oct-Dec. Intermediate: Jan-Mar. Further: Apr-Jul. Individual courses cost £250 each or all three for £500.
Course tutor(s): 


This course is a comprehensive introduction to post-classical Latin. Aimed at complete beginners or those with a rusty smattering of school Latin, it will cover the fundamentals of grammar and provide a grounding in general vocabulary and the specialised language frequently encountered in historical source materials. The course may be taken as a complete unit over three terms or as three separate modules - Beginners, Intermediate and Further - each lasting one term.

Course details

Latin was a living language in the Middle Ages: it changed and developed, just as the contemporary vernaculars did. And then, at the end of the Middle Ages, the Humanists rediscovered classical Latin, and developed their own version of it. This ten-week course will provide an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary of Latin as it was used in these periods, as a starting point for reading texts and documents from the post-classical era.

The introductory course will focus on giving students a basic understanding of how the language works and some of the changes it underwent during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. We shall cover the fundamentals of Latin grammar, and develop a broad grounding in vocabulary, both general and specialist. Students may like to study the first few chapters of G. D. A. Sharpley’s Get Started in Latin (Teach Yourself Books, 2010) as preparation for the course.

Texts for study will represent a range of materials that a medieval or early modern historian may want to read, with a particular emphasis on historical texts and legal records, but also including literature (poetry and prose), ecclesiastical and ‘scientific’ works. The course will be tailored in as far as possible to the research interests of the participating students, so when applying please state the texts, or types of text, in which you are interested.

The course is open to all who are interested in using Latin for their research, and no previous experience is required. Sessions will take place at the IHR on Wednesday afternoons between 2.30 and 4.00.

The IHR runs three Latin courses, introductory, intermediate and further, in the first, second and third terms of the year respectively. Each can be taken by a suitably qualified candidate as a discrete unit or the three courses can be taken as a comprehensive introduction to medieval and renaissance Latin. The fee for each course is £250, but students booking for all three may subscribe for the reduced price of £500.