04358 - Latin Palaeography and Diplomatics

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student knows the main stages of the evolution of Latin writing and knows the main factors related to the production of manuscripts. He knows what a diplomatic document is, its basic forms and functions. He has direct knowledge of the main types of Medieval handwritten documents. He knows the basic principles and the most up-to-date and accurate ways of studying and researching the discipline. At the end of the course the student has skills for reading, interpreting, transcribing, dating a manuscript. He can use critically the main tools for researching and interpreting handwritten documentary material and enhancing documentary heritage. He can set up issues related to the interpretation of handwritten sources with methodological rigor.

Course contents

During the course it will be reviewed the basics of Latin Paleography and Diplomatics, in order to give student the tools and skills necessary to read, date and interpret an handwritten source. It will be illustrated the main stages of the evolution of Latin writing from its origins to XVII cent. It will be analyzed different types of scripts and different types of handwritten sources, both of library and of documentary types (codices and documents, public and privates ones), taking into account their extrinsic and intrinsic aspects. 

To this end, the course is structured in two teaching modules (A and B) of 30 hours each, closely interrelated (the students of the course of 6 cfu is required only the frequency of module A):

Module A (6 cfu):

1) Hints of the History of Palaeography and Diplomatics, from the beginning of the two disciplines up to contemporary guidelines. What is Palaeography; what is Diplomatics

2) Main concepts:

- writing tools and materials,

- lexicon and terminology of paleographical analysis,

- the functions of writing and the differences among books', documents' and chancellery' scripts;

- the definition of document; the variable part and the form of the document.

3) Introduction to the History of Latin writing (with practice):

- introduction to the study of the Latin abbreviation system,

- general periodization,

- the graphical unity of the Roman world,

- the Medieval graphical particularism,

- the new graphical unity of the Carolingian world.

4) Methods: 

- the method of Paleography and the description of handwritten sources;

- the method of Diplomatics and the critical judgement about the authenticity of the document.

Module B (12 cfu):

1) Outlines of the history of Latin writing (with practice):

- insights on the writings of Carolingian world;

- the Gothic period;

- the Universities' scripts and the pecia system;

- the rebirth of cursive and the "mercantesca";

- Francesco Petrarca and the writings of the humanistic period.

2) The dating and localization of handwritten sources:

- the computation of time,

- hints of medieval chronology.

3) The critical edition of handwritten sources: guidelines and standards for the transcription of manuscripts.

4) Excursus among some of the main types of documents (publics and privates) of the Middle Ages, through the analysis of specific cases.

Readings/Bibliography

1) Attenders (Module A 6 cfu)

- G. Cencetti, Paleografia latina, Roma Jouvence, last ed.

- A. Pratesi, Genesi e forme del documento medievale, Roma 1999.

- Didactic material provided during the course

2) Attenders (Module B 12 cfu): in addition to the titles listed above, the reading is also required of:

- B. Bischoff, Paleografia latina: antichità e medioevo, ed. italiana a c. di G. Mantovani e S. Zamponi, Antenore, Padova 1992, pp. 257-340.

3) Unattenders (Module A and B):

- G. Cencetti, Paleografia latina, Roma Jouvence, last ed.

- A. Pratesi, Genesi e forme del documento medievale, Roma 1999

In addition to the two titles listed above, unattenders of Module A (6 cfu) are also required to read 1 article in the list below; unattenders of Module B (12 cfu) are also required to read 2 articles in the list below:

- B. Bischoff, Paleografia latina: antichità e medioevo, ed. italiana a c. di G. Mantovani e S. Zamponi, Antenore, Padova 1992, pp. 257-340

- S. Ammirati, Per una storia del libro latino antico: i papiri latini di contenuto letterario dal I sec. a.C. al Iex.IIin. d.C., in «Scripta», 3 (2010), pp. 29-45;

- S. Ammirati, Per una storia del libro latino antico: osservazioni paleografiche, bibliologiche e codicologiche sui manoscritti latini di argomento legale dalle origini alla tarda antichità, in «Journal of Juristic Papyrology» 40 (2010), pp. 55-110;

- P. Fioretti, Sul paratesto nel libro manoscritto (con qualche riflessione sui 'titoli' in età antica), in Nel segno del testo. Edizioni, materiali e studi per Oronzo Pecere, a cura di L. Del Corso, F. De Vivo, A. Stramaglia, Firenze 2015, pp. 179-202;

- G. Cencetti, Dall'unità al particolarismo grafico. Le scritture cancelleresche romane e quelle dell'alto medioevo, in Id., Scritti di paleografia, a cura di G. Nicolaj, Zurich 1993, pp. 225-271;

- L. Iannacci, M. Modesti, A. Zuffrano, La misteriosa scrittura grande dei papiri ravennati, tra prassi documentaria pubblica e legislazione, in «LR Legal Roots. The International Journal of Roman Law, Legal History and Comparative Law», 1 (2012), pp. 89-119;

- C. Aimi, M. Modesti, A. Zuffrano, Il frammento bolognese del De civitate Dei di s. Agostino: un nuovo palinsesto goto-latino. Considerazioni paleografiche e cronologiche, edizione e analisi filologica del testo, in «Scriptorium», 67 (2013), fasc. 2, pp. 319-359;

- A. Petrucci – C. Romeo, Scrivere «in iudicio» nel «Regnum Italiae», in «Scriptores in urbibus». Alfabetismo e cultura scritta nell'Italia altomedievale, Bologna 1992, pp. 195-236;

- G. De Angelis, Aganone vescovo e la scrittura carolina a Bergamo alla metà del IX secolo: dinamiche ed eredità di un'innovazione culturale, in «Scrineum Rivista», 4, pp. 5-34; scaricabile online sul sito di «Reti Medievali», url: http://www.rmoa.unina.it/552/ ;

- G. Nicolaj, Alle origini della minuscola notarile italiana e dei suoi caratteri storici, in «Scrittura e civiltà», 10 (1986), pp. 49-82;

- C. Carbonetti Vendittelli, La scrittura come strumento di governo: il registro della cancelleria di Federico II del 1239-40, in La produzione scritta tecnica e scientifica nel Medioevo: libro e documento tra scuole e professioni. Atti del Convegno internazionale di studio dell’Associazione italiana dei Paleografi e Diplomatisti, Fisciano-Salerno, 28-30 settembre 2009, a cura di G. De Gregorio e M. Galante, Spoleto 2012, pp. 243-260.

- G. Orlandelli, Osservazioni sulla scrittura mercantesca nei secoli XIV eXV, in Id., Scritti di Paleografia e Diplomatica, a cura di R. Ferrara e G. Feo, pp. 145-178;

- I. Ceccherini, La genesi della scrittura mercantesca, in Régionalisme et internationalisme: problèmes de palèographie et de codicologie du Moyen Âge, édités par O. Kresten et F. Lackner, Wien 2008, pp. 123-138;

- G. Nicolaj, Il volgare nei documenti italiani medievali, in La langue des actes, distribuito in formato elettronico all'indirizzo <http://elec.enc.sorbonne.fr/CID2003/nicolaj >, pp. 339-347;

- G. Orlandelli, “Littera nova” e “Littera antiqua” fra glossatori e umanisti, in Scritti, pp. 213-236;

- E. Condello, La Bibbia al tempo della Riforma gregoriana: le Bibbie atlantiche, in Forme e modelli della tradizione manoscritta della Bibbia, a cura di P. Cherubini, Città del Vaticano, BAV, 2005, pp. 347-372

Teaching methods

Frontal lessons and practical workshops concerning reading and analysis of documents. There is also planned a visit to the State Archive of Bologna, discovering the Bolognese documentary heritage. In addition, for Attenders (Module B 12 cfu) there are planned visits to Archbischop Archive of Bologna and also to States Archive of Modena, where transcription and commentary exercices on some Renaissance documents from the Estensi Archive will take place.

The Module A will start on September 25th 2018.

The Module B will start on November 7th 2018.

Assessment methods

1) Attenders (Modules A and B): the exam consists in an oral test divided in three parts:

a) one or more general questions about the history of Latin writing, on the basis of the manual;

b) one or more general questions about the basic principles of Diplomatics, on the basis of the manual;

c) the reading and the analysis of an handwritten source similar to those seen during the course, with particular regard to the problems of transcription that it presents. Students will be required also to make a short 'regesto' and a diplomatistic analysis of the text. Attenders of Module B (12 cfu) will be questioned about all the scripts and documentary types presented during the course.

2) Unattenders (Modules A and B): the exam consists in an oral test divided in three parts:

a) one or more general questions about the history of Latin writing, on the basis of the manual. It will be evaluated the knowledge and the comprehension of the main steps of the History of Latin writing and of the fundamental principles and method of the discipline.

b) one or more general questions about the basic principles of Diplomatics, on the basis of the manual;

c) one or more specific questions about the articles chosen by the student. Special attention will be given to the critique abilities of the student, who will have to demonstrate to be able to orient himself into the world of manuscript sources, handing the tools and the method of Paleography and Diplomatics.

In the both cases (attenders and unattenders) the achievement of a systematic and complete comprehension of the basic principles of the discipline, joined with their critical use, in addition to the demonstration of owning the competence of the specific language, will be evaluated with excellence marks. A mechanical and/or mnemonic knowledge of the subject, bad structured analysis abilities and/or a correct but not always appropriate language will lead to decent evaluations; formative lacks or an inappropriate language – even if in a context of basic knowledge of the exam material – will lead to marks that will not go beyond sufficiency. Formative lacks, inappropriate language, scarcity of orientation in the bibliography offered during the course will be evaluated in a negative way.

Teaching tools

During the course there will be provided reproductions and fac-similes of handwritten sources (codices and documents), exemples of critical editions and information about the main data-bases and digital tools of paleographical and diplomatistic type (only for attenders). Facsimiles are available on this site: Facsimiles_Paleografia e Diplomatica

Office hours

See the website of Maddalena Modesti