History of the Latin language (m) (2020/2021)

Course code
Name of lecturers
Paolo De Paolis, Renata Raccanelli
Paolo De Paolis
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
CuCi IIA dal Feb 15, 2021 al Apr 1, 2021.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The course aims to provide an in-depth analysis of the historical development and of linguistic typologies of the Latin language, through the study of Latin texts with useful features for this aim. The selected texts will be strongly marked for their linguistic aspects during the history of the Latin language, from the archaic period to the classical and imperial age up to the late period, on the other side the course will deal with texts with peculiar features related to the literary genre and to specific types of language, such as “Umgangsprache”, colloquial Latin, technical languages and vulgar Latin. The course will provide theoretical lectures concerning the main features of the concerned periods and languages, through a linguistic analysis and an historical and cultural placement of the selected texts.
Advanced knowledge of the Latin language related to phonetics, morphology, syntax and fundamental lexicon, together with basic prosodical skills for poetical texts.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course the student:
- knows the essential features of the linguistic typology of the selected texts
- is able to understand the different features of periods and typologies of the Latin language
- is able to provide a literal translation and a grammatical analysis of the texts chosen for the course;
- develops autonomous skills of understanding and interpreting the texts offered, as well as identifying the linguistic features even of other Latin texts;
- improves communication skills, elaborating a better awareness of the linguistic codes of communication;
- is stimulated to develop autonomous ability to recognize linguistic varieties and their functionalization in a given context.


Course will deal with the language of the Latin comedy, with particular reference to Plautus. The first part of the course will give a general overview on the origin of the Latin language and on the linguistic features of comic language, with a specific focus on Plautus. The second part will be devoted to a linguistic and philological analysis of a choice of episodes of Plautus' Pseudolus.
Il course will be divides in three modules:
Module A. Introduction to the History of Latin language, prof. Paolo De Paolis, 12 hours
Module B. Main features of Plautus' language, with analysis of a selection of passages from Pseudolus, prof. Paolo De Paolis, 12 ore
Modulo C. Main features of Plautus' dramatic style, with analysis of a selection of passages from Pseudolus, prof.ssa Renata Raccanelli, 12 hours
Teaching methods:
Teaching will be divided in lessons and seminars, aiming to involve students and to provide their critical judgment, through discussion and debate opportunities.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
J. Clackson A Companion to the Latin Language Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2011 9781405186056
A. Traina Forma e suono. Da Plauto a Pascoli. Pàtron 1999 9788855524902
I. Mazzini Storia della lingua latina e del suo contesto. 1. Linguistica e lingua letteraria Salerno Editrice 2010 978-88-8402-687-3
C. Questa - A. Torino Titus Maccius Plautus Pseudolus QuattroVenti 2017 978-88-392-1017-3

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral exam aiming to verify:
- knowledge of the peculiarities of latin comic language, with a specific reference to Plautus, with knowledge of principal modern studies about it;
- comprehension, translation and explanation skills of Plautus' Pseudolus text, referring to its main linguistic, literary and philological features;
- full comprehension, correct exposition with appropriate language, critical discussion of the essay proposed in bibliography.
Selected biblioghraphy:
Titus Maccius Plautus Pseudolus, ed. Caesar Questa, curis adiectis Alexidis Torino, Sarsinae et Urbini, QuattroVenti, 2017
A. Traina, Forma e suono. Da Plauto a Pascoli. Nuova edizione, Bologna 1999, only the following chapters: Prolegomeni a Forma e suono (pp. 11 -17), Forma e suono (pp. 19-53), Le iterazioni foniche e la loro incidenza sulla lingua di Plauto (pp. 55-104), Epilegomeni a Forma e suono (pp. 105-125), Appendice I: Integrazioni a Forma e suono (pp. 127-128).
W. de Melo, The Language of Roman Comedy, in J. Clackson (ed.), A Companion to the Latin Language, Malden MA-Oxford, 2011, 319-343
I. Mazzini, Storia della lingua latina e del suo contesto. 1. Linguistica e lingua letteraria, Roma 2007, only the following chapters: Introduzione alla storia della lingua latina (pp. 17-43); L’età dei re, delle leggi e delle XII tavole (pp. 47-66); L’età degli Scipioni e di Plauto (pp. 67-98).