Academic year
2020/2021 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
FM0088 (AF:334550 AR:175396)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
4th Term
Go to Moodle page
This course is optional for bachelor students of Italian Philology / Medieval and Renaissance studies. It focuses on reading, analysing and interpreting texts and subjects of Medieval Latin and Old Italian literature. In a diachronic and interdisciplinary approach, various aspects of literature, scholarship and historiography in Medieval Latin manuscript traditions will be covered.
Knowledge, analysis and understanding of a Latin or Vernacular work from the period in question.
Acquisition and refinement of palaeographical, philological and exegetical methods and tools as the basis for the interpretation of ancient texts in different contexts of its creation, transmission and adaptation.
Students will be able to further develop acquired skills and competence in the field of Medieval Latin and vernacular literature.
Knowledge of Latin language.
During the course we will read the ‘Compendium in genealogia Christi’ written by Peter of Poitiers (c. 1130-1205), first chancellor of the Parisian university and pupil of Peter the Lombard. The work is designed as a graphic visualization showing the succession of the patriarchs, prophets and kings of the Old Testament up to the birth and death of Jesus Christ as narrated in the gospels of the New Testament. We will read and analyze the short texts passages that are briefly summarizing biblical persons and events as represented in the timeline and diagrams of salvation history from Adam to Christ - and in some manuscript traditions even beyond where medieval chronologists extend the biblical account by adding the details of ancient and medieval dynasties up to their own present days. Even though the compendium had an immediate and enormous success among his contemporaries and subsequent authors it has never been published because of its rather unusual graphical format and the complexity of its variant traditions. For this reason we will read the text in a selection of original manuscripts and thus learn about medieval scripts and handwriting as well as about material and iconographic characteristics of the work's transmission.
Text versions will be transcribed, compared, translated and interpreted. Biblical and literary sources will be identified (from the Book Genesis to Petrus Comestor’s Historia Scholastica) as well as the reception of the work by subsequent authors (such as Brunetto Latini or Dante Aligheri) and the adaption of the biblical figures and stories in modern and contemporanean art and literature (from Rembrandt to Thomas Mann).
- Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Cod. 363 Han, Benediktinerkloster St. Michael, Mondsee (c. 1180-1190):
- Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 029 (c. 1200-1225):
- Houghton Library, Harvard University, Typ 216 (c. 1200-1250):$2i

Other manuscripts (more than 200):
- Jean-Baptiste Piggin: “Peter's Stemma”, in: The Library of Latin Diagrams:
- Mirabile: Petrus Pictaviensis, Parisiensis cancellarius: Compendium historiae in genealogia Christi:
- Biblissima:

editio princeps (incomplete):
- ed. Ulrich Zwingli, Basileae 1592:

References (as far as possible PDFs will be uploaded to Moodle):
- Laura Alidori: “Il Plut. 20.56 della Laurenziana. Appunti sull’iconografia dei manoscritti della Genealogia di Petrus Pictaviensis”, in: Cicli e immagini bibliche nella miniatura. Atti del VI Congresso di Storia della Miniatura. Urbino, 3-6 ottobre 2002, ed. by Laura Alidori (= Rivista di Storia della Miniatura, VI/VII (2001/02)), p. 157–70 (with a list of manuscripts, 166–68).
- Andrea Worm: “Visualising the Order of History: Hugh of Saint Victors' Chronicon and Peter of Poiters' Compendium Historiae”, in: Romanesque and the Past: Retrospection in the Art and Architecture of Romanesque Europe, ed by Richard Plant and John McNeill. Leeds 2013: Maney, p. 243-263 (esp. 248sqq.).

- Adriano Cappelli: Dizionario di Abbreviature Latine ed Italiane. Milano 1912: Ulrico Hoepli. Online:
- LLT-A - Library of Latin Texts. Series A (su cerCa’ - portale delle risorse bibliografiche di Ca’ Foscari)

The students that will regularly attend the lessons can prepare the examination by means of their notes. The students that cannot attend the lessons will prepare the examination by means of a detailed bibliography, that will be sent by request.
Learning outcomes will be verified through the student’s active participation during classes and individual assignments. An oral exam will examine the students’ knowledge about the respective author and work as well as the reading and interpretation competences regarding passages in one of the manuscript copies that has been studied during classes.

Classes with individual and collaborative activities and interaction between teacher and students. Attendance is strongly recommended. Students are requested to create a file card providing a transcript of a passage with critical annotations, identifying persons, places and events (biblical, historical, geographical), indicating sources and various forms of interpretation, reception and nachleben.
Whenever needed, the didactic material will be made available through the Moodle e-learning platform.

Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 15/03/2021