Medieval Latin: The Calamitous Life of Peter Abelard

Spring 2018
TTh 9:00 - 10:20am
Permission Not Required
Limited Enrollment
Course Description: 

This is an intermediate reading course in Medieval Latin that is intended to help students improve their reading ability by working directly with a medieval text. In this course, we will read Peter Abelard’s Historia calamitatum (“A History of My Calamities”) in which the foremost scholar and theologian of the twelfth century gives a candid account of his life. Abelard was a celebrity professor at the dawn of the university, only to spectacularly fall into disgrace for a secret love affair with Heloise that resulted in his castration at the hands of his father-in-law. As we read Abelard’s fascinating account of his life, we will focus on reinforcing our knowledge of Latin grammar and syntax and pay special attention to the features of Abelard’s language that are typical of Medieval Latin.

Background Expected: 

Basic knowledge of Latin grammar and syntax, equivalent to the elementary Latin grammar classes offered by the Classics Department (Latin 110, Latin 120).

Course Requirements: 

Preparation of Latin passages for translation and discussion in class. Study and reinforcement of basic Latin grammar and Medieval Latin idiosyncrasies. Regular quizzes, one or more compositions, and a final exam.

Basis of Evaluation: 

The grade will be based on: 10% preparation and class participation (primarily translation and discussion), 20% quizzes, 30% composition assignments, and 40% a final exam.