28949 - Latin Philology and Literature (1) (LM)

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Elisa Dal Chiele

  • Credits 6

  • SSD L-FIL-LET/04

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Italian Studies, European Literary Cultures, Linguistics (cod. 9220)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale

  • Course Timetable from Mar 21, 2022 to May 06, 2022


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

Good health and well-being Quality education

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the classes, students will have a deep knowledge of Latin literature, they will be able to analyze Latin texts with regard to language, style, subject, they will understand textual problems referring to Latin texts, they will use the tools needed for a philological research.

Course contents

This is a upper-intermediate level course; basic skills in Latin must have already been acquired in other university courses.


  • The transmission of Latin literature and textual criticism: an introduction
  • The pursuit of happiness: Cicero, Seneca, Augustine (a detailed list of all passages examined in the lessons and requested for the exam will be supplied during the course).


  • LATIN TEXTS: students are required to read Horace, Sermones I 1, 5, 9, II 6; Seneca, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium 2, 23, 53, 54, in its original language
  • HANDBOOKS: see below, Bibliography.
  • CRITICAL ESSAYS: one chosen among the essays listed below.
Students not attending the course are required to replace the study of the Latin texts dealt with during the special focus course by reading IN LATIN Seneca, De vita beata; they are also required to study at least TWO critical essays chosen among those indicated by numbers 1-5 (see below, Bibliography).



  • The texts to be translated will be included among the course’s materials.



  • Horace: Satire, introduction, translation and notes by M. Labate, Rizzoli 1981 or any other paperback edition; useful commentaries are Orazio, Le opere. Antologia, introduction and commentary by La Penna, Florence 1969; Orazio, Satire, introduction, translatio and commentary by L. De Vecchi, Rome 2013.
  • Seneca: Lettere morali a Lucilio, edited by F. Solinas, Milan 1995 (reprinted) or any other paperback edition; useful commentaries are Lucio Anneo Seneca, Lettere a Lucilio, Libro primo, text, introduction, translation and commetary by G. Scarpat, Brescia 1975, pp. 43-57 (to epist. 2); Lucio Anneo Seneca, Lettere a Lucilio, Libro III, epp. XII-XXIX, edited by G. Laudizi, Naples 2003, pp. 66-95 (to epist. 23); L. Anneo Seneca, Lettere a Lucilio, libro VI: Le lettere 53-57, edited by F.R. Berno, Bologna 2006, pp. 34-157 (to epist. 53, 54).


  • Morphology and Syntax: the student will be expected to master Latin morphology and syntax, based on university-level handbooks (e.g. I. Dionigi-L. Morisi-E. Riganti, Il latino, Bari, Laterza, 2011 = 2011 = Verba et res. Morfosintassi e lessico del latino, 2 voll., Bari, Laterza, 1999), as well as to know the aspects of history of the language, metrics and textual criticism contained in A. Traina - G. Bernardi Perini, Propedeutica al latino universitario, Bologna: Pàtron, 2007. For Latin syntax, see also A.Traina - T. Bertotti, Sintassi normativa della lingua latina, Bologna: Pàtron, 2015.
  • Metrics: the student will be expected to master the scansion and reading of the hexameter and the knowledge of Latin prosody (cf. Propedeutica al latino universitario, cap. VIII).
  • Textual criticism: for a basic knowledge of textual criticism, it is required to study chapter VIII of Propedeutica al latino universitario; furthermore, it is necessary to study L.D. Reynolds – N.G. Wilson, Copisti e filologi. La tradizione dei classici dall’antichità ai tempi moderni, Padua, Antenore, 20164, capp. I, III and F. Stok, I classici dal papiro a internet, Rome, Carocci, 2012, capp. IV-VI. For more details, see also P. Chiesa, Elementi di critica testuale, Bologna 2012; R. Tarrant, Texts, Editors, and Readers: Methods and Problems in Latin Textual Criticism. Roman Literature and its Contexts, Cambridge 2016; T. Braccini, La scienza dei testi antichi. Introduzione alla filologia classica, Florence 2017.

CRITICAL ESSAYS (further essays will be supplied during the course):

At least one essay among

  1. E. Asmis, Seneca’s On Happy Life and Stoic Individualism, «Apeiron» 23/4, 1990, 219-255.
  2. A. Michel, A propos du bonheur: pensée latine et tradition philosophique, «REL» 56 (1978), 349-368.
  3. A. Michel, Dialogue philosophique et vie intérieure. Cicéron, Sénèque, saint Augustin, «Helmantica» 28 (1977), 353-376.
  4. A. Setaioli, Philosophy as therapy, self-transformation, and “Lebensform”, in G. Damschen, A. Heil (eds.), Brill’s Companion to Seneca. Philosopher and Dramatist, Leiden-Boston 2014, 239-256. OR Setaioli, La filosofia come terapia, autotrasformazione e stile di vita in Seneca, in F. Gasti (a c. di), Seneca e la letteratura greca e latina: per i settant’anni di Giancarlo Mazzoli, Atti della IX giornata ghisleriana di filologia classica, Pavia, 22 october 2010, Pavia 2013, 1-18.
  5. A. Traina, Lo stile “drammatico” del filosofo Seneca, Bologna 19954, 9-41.
  6. L.F. Pizzolato, Il De beata vita o la possibile felicità nel tempo, in Aa. Vv., L’opera letteraria di Agostino tra Cassiciacum e Milano. Agostino nelle terre di Ambrogio (1-4 ottobre 1986), Palermo 1987, 31-112.
  7. P. Courcelle, Les premières confessions de saint Augustin, «REL» 22 (1945), 155-174.
  8. M. Cutino, Felicità terrena e immortalità nell’Hortensius ciceroniano e in Agostino, «Sileno» 22 (1996), 69-80.

Teaching methods

For section I, lectures in class; parts II is supposed to be prepared by the students.

Assessment methods

The examination consists of a viva voce exam and is divided in two parts (students are required to take both parts of the examination on the same date):
1) in the first part, the students will be tested on Latin phonetics, morphology and syntax through the reading and translation of the Latin texts (in section II). Students are required to answer questions about Latin grammar (phonetics, morphology and syntax) derived from the texts in section II.

2) in the second part, the examination will concern the Special Focus Course and the critical essay. Students are asked to provide a translation from Latin and a philological and literary commentary on one of the passages analyzed in class. Students are required to discuss the chosen critical essay; they will be asked about history of Latin texts' tradition and textual criticism.

N.B. The exam requires a medium-high level of knowledge of the Latin language. Beginner students are recommended to choose a basic course of the bachelor degree.

Erasmus students can take the Latin translation part of the exam in one of the following languages: English, French, Spanish, German.

The assessment criteria is thus explained:

failing grades: lack of basic linguistic knowledge and inability to produce a correct translation and interpretation of the text; lack of knowledge of Latin prosody, metrics and textual criticism.

passing grades: language proficiency at an intermediate level; translation and literary interpretation of the texts are mostly correct, but inaccurate and lacking in autonomy; satisfactory knowledge of Latin prosody, metrics and textual criticism.

excellent grades: language proficiency at an upper-mid level; translation and interpretation of the texts are not only correct, but carried out with autonomy and precision. Excellent knowledge of Latin prosody, metrics and textual criticism.

Teaching tools

Slides and other materials will be available online on the course website.

Office hours

See the website of Elisa Dal Chiele