Academic year
2023/2024 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
FM0478 (AF:467133 AR:258267)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
1st Semester
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The course of LATIN TEXTS ANALYSIS SP. (one unit of 6 CFU or, as a part of PHILOLOGY AND LATIN TEXTS ANALYSIS, 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, Linguistics and Literature. It aims to refine the student's knowledge of language and style, authors, genres and works of Latin literature and of their critical problems, and contributes to enrich the knowledge of western cultural history and literary traditions, of methods and tools of literary history and philology and of their specialized languages.
The outcome of this course would be the detailed knowledge of a work or of a selection of Latin literary texts in the original language, and of their historical and interpretative problems in the framework of the contemporary scientific debate. Students should be able to read, understand, translate into Italian and comment on the historical-literary and stylistic plan the texts read during the course, to discuss the interpretation proposed by the teacher and the bibliography, to contextualize authors and works studied during the course in the cultural and literary tradition of classical antiquity. Students should then be able to repeat the same type of analysis, applying the methods learned during the course, on a further sample of texts assigned as personal readings.
Already equipped with linguistic skills at at least intermediate level, students should also acquire through the course a greater familiarity with the Latin literary language, a broader set of linguistic knowledge and a more confident ability in translation from Latin into Italian; at the same time, the study of the bibliography should refine the students' knowledge of the concepts and critical vocabulary of philology and literary history, and their ability to discuss literary topics and texts.
The exam of LATIN TEXTS ANALYSIS requires a general knowledge of the history of Latin language and literature and a linguistic competence of Latin at least at an intermediate level.
To access the exam students must also certify their knowledge of Latin language by passing the Test of Latin 2 ( ).

Historiographical, linguistic and literary-historical studies share a deep interest in the persuasive power of words, particularly political words, declined in the most diverse contexts, on the diachronic and synchronic levels. Ancient historiography and classical oratory have set the norm of public communication for centuries; they have influenced and still influence the way Western culture speaks, writes, and thinks today. Literature and poetry have created patterns, forms and images that have enriched the wealth of tools through which to express messages, political and otherwise.
This theme is the focus of an educational pathway entitled "Word and Power between History and Literature," proposed and coordinated by faculty members of the MA courses in Greek Historiography SP, History and Civilization of the Romans SP., Latin Text Analysis SP, Rhetoric SP. This pathway proposes an integrated educational experience within which students can deal at a specialized level with a broad and multifaceted topic such as the "power of the word" from different but related points of view.
During the course there will be a number of moments for sharing content and tools as well as in-depth scientific discussions (through the invitation of external guests). As an integral part of the training course, participants will be able to choose to delve into a topic agreed upon with one of the lecturers and transversal to the topics covered. Participants will present the result of these insights at a dedicated final day.
For those not interested in the integrated course, it is of course possible to choose one or more courses individually.

The topic of the LATIN TEXT ANALYSIS SP course is indicated below; for the syllabus of the other teachings please refer to their respective pages.
The 'power of speech' is a defining element in Roman culture, on an individual and social level: words such as 'fatum,' 'fama,' and 'fabula' derive from the verb 'fari,' an archaic term indicating a particularly pregnant and profound action of 'saying.' In the course of Latin Text Analysis SP - The power of the word: poetic word and political word - texts by Cicero, Virgil, Ovid, among others, will be read to show how such persuasive power is declined in different contexts with precise tools and specific rhetorical forms, thus conveying a strong authorial message, eminently ethical and political in character and still extremely relevant.
In more detail, the course will be divided into two parts, corresponding to the two teaching periods. In the first period, we will consider the two "greats" of Latin literature, in prose and poetry: Cicero and Virgil. Ample space will be devoted to Cicero's De oratore, an impressive rhetorical treatise fired by the author in 55 B.C., at a crucial moment in the history of the republic and of Latin language and literature. In it, Cicero proposes a reflection on eloquence and a wide-ranging cultural project, delivering to us powerful pages that can still contribute today to the inspiration and education of those interested in the art of speaking. AS for Virgil, examples of persuasive "speeches" contained in the Aeneid will be considered.
In the second period, excerpts from Ovid's works will be proposed and one specific talk will be devoted to the masterpiece of Catull. 64.
1) Selection of readings from Cicero, Catullus, Vergil, Ovid translated and commented during classes
2) Three papers
- E. Narducci, Eloquenza, retorica, fiilosofia nel "De oratore", Introduzione a Cicerone, Dell'oratore, Milano (qualsiasi edizione; pp. 5-118 nell'ed. 2021). BAUM 875.01 CICE.
- TWO additional papers
- Cicerone, Pro Archia
- Vergil, Aeneid, one book (with exception of IV and VI) BAUM: 873.01 VERGP AEN).

Students who won't attend classes should get in contact with the teacher.
Learning is tested by means of an oral interview of an individual nature during which the student must show that he/she
- be able to read, understand, translate into Italian, contextualize and comment on the historical-literary level TWO passages proposed by the lecturer from the selection of Latin texts covered during the course;
- be able to read, understand, translate into Italian, contextualize and comment on the historical-literary level TWO passages proposed by the lecturer from the texts indicated as personal readings in the original language (not translated by the lecturer during the course);
- know how to argue with independent judgment and language property on the accompanying bibliography within a discussion with the lecturer;
- know how to use this bibliography as an aid in the interpretation of texts and their evaluation on a historical-literary level.
For those interested, it is possible to propose a personal PAPER on a topic agreed upon with the course instructor or the teachers of the shared track.
The final grade will result from the evaluation of the aspects listed above according to these criteria:
- ability to translate from Latin the required passages to at least a sufficient level (a prerequisite for continuing the test)
- oral interview
- personal paper, with exposition (about 10 folders)
Notwithstanding the requirement for translation ability, the content and exposition of the personal paper, for those who choose to do so, will contribute 50% to the determination of the final grade. The 50% will be determined by the translation and oral interview.
Traditional course based on the reading, translation, linguistic, stylistic and historical-literary commentary of the selection of texts covered by the course; on the illustration of related critical issues; on the presentation of the main and most up-to-date tools of analysis. The Moodle platform (with its various extensions) will be the preferred support for teaching materials. Opportunities to meet and share with external scholars and with colleagues participating in the shared learning path will be provided wherever possible.
Provided with the data for discussion, students will be involved in the debate on the main themes of the proposed critical issues and Latin texts, and invited to propose and argue their own opinions on them.
For further information, see .
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 24/08/2023