Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Texts that made the Middle Ages: advanced Latin reading for postgraduate students
Academic Year
Semester 2 (Taught over 2 semesters)
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminar 10 x 2 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 3,500 word essay  50%
Semester Exam Written exam  50%
Supplementary Assessment 3,500 word essay  50%
Supplementary Exam Written exam  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Demonstrate a critical understanding of relevant themes and approaches in the history and historiography of the intellectual legacy of high medieval Europe.

Evaluate differing ways of understanding the relationship between the past and its cultural representation.

Marshal and understand key principles of Latin composition and language as used in early and high medieval Europe.

Demonstrate and apply an advanced understanding of Latin syntax, grammar and vocabulary.

Demonstrate through written work their ability to engage with, understand and analyse select materials in Latin.


This module will help you advance your Latin reading skills by studying select passages from key texts. Materials for discussion will be selected with two aims in mind: first, to provide you with an understanding of key works in the classical repertoire, consulted and read in the European Middle Ages; and, second, to help you gain familiarity with the vocabulary of particular writers or genres featuring prominently in your research. Texts will thus include the writings of chroniclers like Matthew Paris and William of Malmesbury, but can easily extend to administrative sources (charters and administrative manuals), or religious and theological texts (Peter Comestor or Bernard of Clairvaux, liturgical treatises, and so on), as well as, of course, key classical authors like Suetonius, Quintillian, or Cicero, and medieval ones like Bede, Einhard, or Peter Comestor. The overarching aim, in short, is to help you advance your ability to read and understand both medieval materials and the textual inheritance on which many of them drew.

Brief description

This module pursues two closely related goals. First, it is an intensive Latin reading class. It will allow you to develop further your Latin reading skills, to work on issues of Latin that you may find difficult, to pursue aspects you enjoyed/are curious about etc. Should you intend to undertake a PhD, the module will provide you with essential training, and will bring you to a level where you can read most primary sources in the original with relative ease. Second, the module will introduce you to key texts, to materials that most reasonably educated writers in the Middle Ages would have known, and that fundamentally influenced their way of writing and thinking. These were the foundational texts on which medieval literature, theology, historical writing etc. rested, and without some knowledge of which it will be difficult to make sense of many primary sources. Texts and writers normally include Augustine, Gregory the Great, Boethius, Isidore of Seville, the Rule of St Benedict, and the Sententiae of Peter the Lombard.


The module will offer students an opportunity to engage in more detail with primary sources in the original Latin than in HYM2120. It will require some knowledge of Latin. Texts that made the Middle Ages will focus on the kind of materials that any medieval writer with a more than rudimentary education would have known and used. It thus provides not only training in tackling Latin materials, but will also allow students access to a canon of texts that fundamentally shaped the texts they have read in HYM2120, and that will aid them in analysing and interpreting the sources they will need to use for their dissertation or if they intend to pursue doctoral research. It also provides additional training for PhD students as part of their research training.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Communication Written communication skills will be developed through the coursework and written examination; skills in oral presentation will be developed in seminars but are not formally assessed.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be advised on how to improve research and communication skills through the individual tutorial providing feedback on submitted coursework.
Information Technology Students will be encouraged to locate suitable material on the web and to apply it appropriately to their own work. Students will also be expected to word-process their work and make use of Blackboard. These skills will not be formally assessed.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will develop a range of transferable skills, including time management and communication skills, which may help them identify their personal strengths as they consider potential career paths.
Problem solving Students are expected to note and respond to historical problems which arise as part of the study of this subject area and to undertake suitable research for seminars and essays.
Research skills Students will develop their research skills by reading a range of texts and evaluating their usefulness in preparation for the coursework and the written examination.
Subject Specific Skills Developing Latin reading skills.
Team work Students will be expected to play an active part in group activities (e.g. short group presentations in seminars) and to learn to evaluate their own contribution to such activities.


This module is at CQFW Level 7