90139 - Greek Palaeography (1)

Course Unit Page


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

Quality education

Academic Year 2023/2024

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course students are acquainted with the specific methodologies of palaeographical research, and gain both general and specific technical knowledge. Moreover, they develop the ability to understand the basic elements for the evaluation of the different handwritings within the Greek context, from Late Antiquity to the Middle Byzantine Era, with a brief overview on the subsequent periods. Finally, students are able to apply the knowledge they achieve during the course to the identification and dating of the main Greek bookhands, providing a critical and interpretative reading of the assigned facsimiles.

Course contents

The course aims to provide students with fundamental knowledge and scientific equipment necessary for a first approach to methodologies of the palaeographical research on Greek manuscripts, with a constant overlook on the criteria of the philological and historical scientific investigation.

– Introduction to the discipline and criteria for palaeographical assessment.

– History of Greek majuscule handwriting, with particular reference to the “canons” of the 4th-9th centuries.

– Origins of the Greek minuscule script.

– The Greek minuscule script from the 9th/10th to the 12th century (with an analysis of the Byzantine chronology).

– Overlook on the late Byzantine era.

Further aspects will be examined in depth during the palaographical workshop (selectable in the second period of lessons).

Basic knowledge of classical Greek is requested.



  • L. Perria, Graphis. Per una storia della scrittura greca libraria (secoli IV a.C. - XVI d.C.), Roma - Città del Vaticano 2011 (Quaderni di Nea Rhome, 1).
Manuscript facsimiles collections:
  • H. Follieri, Codices graeci Bibliothecae Vaticanae selecti temporum locorumque ordine digesti commentariis et transcriptionibus instructi, apud Bibliothecam Vaticanam 1969 (Exempla scripturarum, IV) [a selection of plates with transcription].
  • P. Canart - A. Jacob - S. Lucà – L. Perria, Facsimili di codici greci della Biblioteca Vaticana, 1. Tavole, Città del Vaticano, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1998 (Exempla Scripturarum, V) [a selection of plates with transcription].
  • Further manuscript images will be presented and handed out in digital format during the course.
Non-attending Students

To be added to the above indicated bibliography:

  • G. De Gregorio, Materiali vecchi e nuovi per uno studio della minuscola greca fra VII e IX secolo, in I manoscritti greci tra riflessione e dibattito. Atti del V Colloquio Internazionale di Paleografia Greca (Cremona, 4-10 ottobre 1998), a cura di G. Prato (Papyrologica Florentina, XXXI), Firenze, Gonnelli, 2000, pp. 83–151.

Non-attending students are recommended to contact the professor before they start preparing the exam.

Teaching methods

Frontal lessons combined with practical exercises (reading, transcription and dating of the proposed handwriting examples).

Assessment methods

Assessment during the practical exercises and final oral exam about the topics covered by the course. The judging criteria will include an evaluation about the acquired knowledge (facsimiles reading and presentation of the main addressed issues), about the use of a sufficient appropriate technical vocabulary as well as about the ability in framing the writing phenomenon within the historical and cultural context of which it is an expression.

Teaching tools

During the course, reproductions of manuscripts and related transcriptions will be provided in both paper and digital format. Bibliography as well as online resources will also be indicated for the retrieval of information and the consultation of digitized images relating to the manuscript heritage in Greek language and writing - for the last aspect students are referred to the palaeographical workshop which will be held in the second period of lessons. Teaching support material will be regularly downloadable from the platform page dedicated to the course on the web site https://virtuale.unibo.it.

Office hours

See the website of Giuseppe De Gregorio