Academic year
2022/2023 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
FM0193 (AF:378478 AR:216662)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
2nd Semester
Go to Moodle page
The course of HISTORY OF THE LATIN LANGUAGE (alone = 6 CFU or as part of LATIN LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE, 12 CFU) falls within the "Core educational activities" of the study plan of the Master's Degree Programmes in Ancient Civilisations: Literature, History and Archaeology and in Italian Philology and Literature. The course aims to refine the knowledge of linguistic history provided in the Bachelor's Degree both through a more comprehensive overview of the historical development of Latin language from the first documents to the early Romance, and through the analysis of a specific sample of texts examined in detail from a philological and historical-linguistic point of view. It also aims to strengthen students' knowledge of the linguistic history of Europe and of Italian language, the processes of linguistic change as a historical and social phenomenon, the relationship between linguistic history and political and socio-cultural history of a given context, and to increase their awareness of methods, concepts and language of historical linguistics.
The outcome of this training activity is the detailed knowledge of a selection of texts in the original language studied from the historical-linguistic point of view. Students should be able to read, understand, translate into Italian and comment from the historical-linguistic standpoint the texts covered during the course, to discuss on them on the basis of the interpretations provided by the teacher and of the general framework of the linguistic history of Latin provided by the bibliography; they should also be able to place and contextualize the linguistic issues of the texts on the background of the overall diachrony of Latin, and to discuss the documentary quality of texts, intended as linguistic evidence, for the purposes of the reconstruction of the history of Latin language. Already equipped with linguistic skills at least intermediate level, students should also acquire more knowledge of the Latin language, now approached from the point of view of historical grammar, a wider range of general linguistic knowledge and (thanks to personal readings included in the exam program), a more confident ability in translation from Latin into Italian; at the same time, the study of the bibliography should refine students' knowledge of categories, concepts and vocabulary of historical linguistics.
The exam of HISTORY OF THE LATIN LANGUAGE requires a general knowledge of the history of Latin language and literature and a linguistic competence of Latin at least intermediate level.
To access the exam students must also certify their knowledge of Latin language by passing the Test of Latin 2 (http://www.unive.it/data/insegnamento/263176 ).
The characters of Late Latin in the mirror of epistolary literature.
Late Antiquity (4th-6th centuries AD) has given us an impressive series of epistolary letters in Latin, both individual and collective, by both pagan and Christian authors (including many Church fathers), of both a private and institutional nature. The study of this documentation through an anthological sample allows us to analyse the specific features of the epistolary code and the general characters of Latin as a written language of interpersonal and public communication in the last centuries of antiquity.
In addition to the texts dealt with in class, each student will agree with the teacher on a personal reading (= an epistolary text to be read in the original language), the translation and commentary of which he or she will carry out with the aid of an appropriate bibliography (see below, Referral texts, nos. 4 and 5).
1) Notes form the lessons.
2) I. MAZZINI, Storia della lingua latina e del suo contesto, vol. I, Linguistica e lingua letteraria, Roma, Salerno Editrice, 2007.
3) E. LOFSTEDT, Il latino tardo: aspetti e problemi, Brescia, Paideia, 1980.
4) C. SOGNO-B.K. STORIN-E.J. WATTS (edd.), Late Antique Letter Collections, Oakland (CA), University of California Press, 2017 (a chapter of the student's choice, depending on the personal reading).
5) An additional bibliographical aid indicated ad hoc by the teacher, depending on the personal reading chosen by the student.

The texts read in class will be provided by the teacher and will be available on the Moodle page of the course.
Learning is verified through an oral interview in which the students must demonstrate to be able to read, understand, translate into Italian and comment on the linguistic and historical-linguistic level some of the texts which have been read by the teacher or assigned as personal readings; students must also be able to discuss the bibliography and to use it as an aid in the historical-linguistic interpretation of texts.
Traditional lesson, mainly based on reading, translation, linguistic and historical-linguistic commentary of the a selection of texts, with illustration of the related critical problems and research tools and methods. During the lessons students are involved in the discussion of specific topics or critical problems and of the theses supported in the bibliography, and are invited to propose and explain their own opinions.
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 29/07/2022