31219 - Germanic Philology 1 (A-L)

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student will possess the theoretical and material fundamentals in order to understand the Germanix languages, literatures and cultures (which must be intended like corpora indipendently from their literary value) from their proto-historical past to the end of the Middle Ages, in other words the cultures that Germanic peoples starting from the prehistorical period. The Middle Ages will be at the centre of investigation because in that period the common Germanic cultural milieu is more evident through the large number of sources and documentation in Old Germanic languages and literatures. The student will be able to read, translate and give a philological and linguistic comment to a short passage in an Old Germanic language

Course contents

Students of the 9 CFU (60hrs) course:

Module A (30hrs):

Fondamentals of Germanic Philology

The cultural peculiarities of the Germanic peoples will be taken into account: the oral transmission of knowledge, law, religion, social structure and the role of women. Part of the module will analyze the literary genres of the Germanic literature of the Middle Ages (heroic poetry, sagas, skaldic poetry, religious poetry). The themes of the module will be analyzed by reading and commenting some primary sources in Italian translation. A particular care will be devoted to the literary and documental production of the medieval period. The main philological methodologies of texs reconstruction will be presented during the course.

Module B (30hrs): Nordic Myths from Iceland

In the 13th century, when Iceland is about to lose its independence, Snorri Sturluson, a powerful man and scholar, decides to preserve the memory of his own people collecting th mythological material from the past in the so-called Edda. Thanks to this fundamental text, we get a lot of information about the myths and the Noridc pagan religion. 

During the module, some passages of Edda will be analysed and commented.

Students of the 6 CFU (30 hrs) course:

Module A or B (at choice)


Module A:

Teaching materials online;

- Anna Maria Luiselli Fadda, Tradizioni manoscritte e critica del testo nel Medioevo germanico, Roma, Laterza, 1994, pp. 113-135.

- Vittoria Dolcetti Corazza, Introduzione alla filologia germanica, Alessandria, Edizioni dell'Orso, 3° ediz., 2009, capitolo V (pp. 83-110)

- Nicoletta Francovich Onesti, Filologia Germanica: lingue e culture dei Germani antichi, Roma, Carocci, 2002, pp. 11-34; 134-140.

- Edward R. Haymes, Susann T. Samples, Heroic legends of the North : an introduction to the Nibelung and Dietrich cycles, New York - London, Garland, 1996, pp. 7-14; 35-47.

- Edgar C. Polomé, Germanic Religion, in The Encyclopedia of Religion, ed. by M. Eliade, vol. 5, New York - london, Macmillan - Corrier, 2005, pp. 520-536.

Module B:

Marco Battaglia, Snorri Sturluson, Edda, Milano, Meltemi, 2021, pp. 19-97, 112 (from “la sezione che segue”) - 116 (to “relativa ai Volsunghi”); 147-153; 179-194.

Snorri Sturluson, Edda, a cura di Gianna Chiesa Isnardi, Milano, Garzanti, 2020.

 not attending students:

Module A:

Marco Battaglia, I Germani. Genesi di una cultura europea, Roma, Carocci, 2013.

Module B:

 Marco Battaglia, Snorri Sturluson, Edda, Milano, Meltemi, 2021

Snorri Sturluson, Edda, a cura di Gianna Chiesa Isnardi, Milano, Garzanti, 2020.


Teaching methods

Classroom. Possible remote attendance if due for compulsory COVID restrictions.

Assessment methods

The exam consists in an oral interview on both modules, which can not be shared into separated moments. During the interview the methodological and critical skills acquired by the student will be evaluated . The student will be invited to discuss the texts covered during the course and to move within the sources and bibliographical material in order to be able to identify in them the useful information that will enable to illustrate the similarities and cultural areas of the discipline. The achievement of an organic vision of the issues addressed during the classes and their critical use, which demonstrate ownership of a mastery of expression and specific language, will be assessed with marks of excellence. Mechanical and / or mnemonic knowledge of matter, synthesis and analysis of non-articulating and / or correct language but not always appropriate will lead to discrete assessments; training gaps and / or inappropriate language - although in a context of minimal knowledge of the material - will lead to votes that will not exceed the sufficiency. Training gaps, inappropriate language, lack of guidance within the reference materials offered during the course will lead to failed assessments.

Teaching tools

Video and audio materials on internet.

Office hours

See the website of Alessandro Zironi