cod. 1006225

Academic year 2020/21
1° year of course - Second semester
Academic discipline
Paleografia (M-STO/09)
Discipline linguistiche, filologiche e metodologiche
Type of training activity
30 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Integrated course unit module: CLASSICAL TRADITION AND PALEOGRAPHY

Learning objectives

The course aims to introduce students to paleography with references to classic diplomatics. It wants to encourage the head-on contact with the written sources of the past and to show the essential contribution of paleography to historical and philological studies.

Knowledge and understanding
Students will develop knowledge and comprehension competence in the field of paleography thanks to the use of different sources (traditional facsimiles and digital reproductions of manuscripts now available on-line, etc.) regarding foundation topics and advanced research in this field.

Applying knowledge and understanding
At the end of the course students should be able to recognize, read and describe the various kinds of writing of Latin manuscripts, from the origins to 15th century.
Comprehension and problem solving skills will be reinforced and applied to new or unfamiliar topics, belonging to wider or interdisciplinary contexts related to their field of study.

Making judgements
Students will be able to collect and interpret data to determine autonomous judgements in in the field of paleography, including cross-cultural and interdisciplinary thinking on cultural, scientific and ethical topics connected to the judgements expressed.
Students will be able to integrate their knowledge, manage complexity and make judgements based on limited or incomplete data.

Communication skills
Thanks to the specific focus on communication competences connected with the history of writing students will be able to convey information, ideas, problems and solutions to specialists and non-specialists.
Students can make conclusions clearly and through the support of their knowledge. They will also be able to explain the reasons for their conclusions.

Learning skills
Thanks to the general scaffolding of the course which puts processes related to the writing’s history in different historical and social contexts at the centre, students will develop learning skills useful to continue studying autonomously and in a self-directed way in lifelong learning education.



Course unit content

Historical “excursus” about the Latin writings of manuscripts from the ancient times to invention of printing. References to codicology and diplomatics. Reading and analysis of various writing with the help of traditional facsimiles and of digital reproductions of manuscripts now available on-line.

Full programme

Introduction to paleography. Technical terminology. References to codicology. Origin and development of the Latin writing: the earliest examples. Writing and manuscripts in the 1st-8th centuries: capitals; uncial; half-uncial; minuscules. Scribal abbreviations’ system. Writing and manuscripts in the 8th-13th centuries: “pre-Caroline”; Beneventan; Visigothic; Merovingian; Caroline. The writing and the manuscripts in the 13th-14th centuries: Gothic. Writing and manuscripts in the 15th century: humanistic. References to diplomatics.

To hold up the exam without attending lessons please contact the teacher: phone number +39.0521.90 6693; e-mail:


1. Manual
Giulio BATTELLI, “Lezioni di paleografia”, 4th ed., Città del Vaticano, Libreria editrice Vaticana, 1999, and following reprints (at head of title page: Scuola Vaticana di Paleografia, Diplomatica e Archivistica).

2. Further readings (at least one book among the following)

Armando PETRUCCI, “Prima lezione di paleografia”, Roma-Bari, GLF editori Laterza, 2002, and following reprints (Universale Laterza, 811; Prime lezioni).


Giorgio COSTAMAGNA, “Perché scriviamo così. [Invito alla paleografia latina]”, Roma, Il centro di ricerca, 1987 (Fonti e studi del Corpus membranarum Italicarum. 1a ser., Studi e ricerche, 26). Disponibile in linea al seg. indirizzo: .

3. Materials distributed during the course.

4. A list of supplementary and optional (but not compulsory) readings will be supplied during the course.

Teaching methods

Frontal lessons, exercises, seminars, conducted tours.
All the teaching material (facsimiles, slides, etc.) used during the course will be loaded on platform “Elly”,

Assessment methods and criteria

The final examination is oral and aims to test the knowledge of Latin writing’s history and the ability to recognize, read and describe the various kinds of Latin manuscripts’ writing, from the origins to 15th century.
The examination consists in one or more questions about Latin writing’s history and in reading and analysis of one or more facsimiles chosen by the teacher.
Evaluation criteria: oral proficiency; correct use of language and of specialistic lexicon; ability to elaborate the contents; ability to produce interdisciplinary links; ability to give proper answers to given questions.
Students will have to answer correctly and in observance of the above criteria to 60 percent or better of the questions to get a pass grade. The evaluation is on 30-point scale.

For futher details about the course please contact the teacher: phone number +39.0521.90 6693; e-mail:

Other information

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