Course Expectations and Objectives

We will read a wide selection of medieval Latin texts, focusing closely on the grammar, vocabulary, and style of the assigned texts, with significant comment on the historical background. The student is expected to have mastered a basic second year vocabulary and to be prepared to absorb a considerable quantity of new vocabulary. Complete familiarity with basic forms (declension patterns, pronouns, verb tenses, infinitives, and participles) is required.

Latin underwent many changes at the end of the Empire, and continued to evolve throughout the Middle Ages until the rebirth of "Neo-Latin" by the Renaissance scholars. Many of these changes are glossed in the text, but for those interested in a more in-depth treatment, the following is recommended:

Students are expected to have prepared the assigned text well enough to read it with minimal difficulty and discuss grammatical constructions. Our goals are to read with reasonable ease the passages assigned and to articulate a basic understanding of the author's aims and general worldview. The work required is considerable, the rewards commensurate.

Our Texts

The Quicumque Creed (5th-6th century)

Einhardi, Vita Karoli Magni (Excepta) (9th century)

Johannes de Alta Silva, de Thesauro et Fure Astuto (12th Century)     Notes     Vocabulary

Breve Chronicon Northmannicum (12th century)

Iacobus de Voragine, Historia de Sancto Georgio (12th century)

Stories from the Gesta Romanorum (13th-14th century)     Notes     

Do not hesitate to make use of a modern translation (if you can find one) in order to understand the grammar of the Latin. Remember that English translations are not grammatically faithful to the original.

Grammar Resources

A systematic grammar of Latin is recommended. Bennett's New Latin Grammar or, better, Allen and Greenough's New Latin Grammar. Both are available for on-line purchase. Handouts on basic grammar and vocabulary are available at the Latin Handout Page.

The Instructor

William L. Carey, Esq.
Blankingship & Keith, P.C.
4020 University Drive, Suite 300
Fairfax, Virginia 22030
703-620-6377 (home)


Additional Resources:

Chronology of the Middle Ages