Medieval Latin Language and Literature

Instrue praeceptis animum, nec discere cessa. Distichs of Cato, Book III,1

Master's degree programme, full-time study mode, single-subject, Czech, 2 years 
Master's degree programme, full-time study mode, double-subject, Czech, 2 years 
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Medieval Latin studies, i.e. the philology of Latin in the medieval period, constitutes the foundation of European medieval studies. The Latin medievalist makes the primary sources of information, i.e. the sources written in Latin language, accessible to researchers who are interested in the medieval period, thereby providing the basis for all fields of research connected with medieval times. It exists as an auxiliary science, especially for history, philosophy, theology, archaeology, art history, music history, and science history. As a standalone discipline, research of medieval Latin language and literature makes a wide range of the sources written in Latin accessible, provides critical interpretations of these texts, and analyses these texts in the literary historical context of the European cultural tradition. It is an interdisciplinary field of research essential for understanding the European medieval period.

This Master’s degree study programme provides students with the opportunity to learn all of the constituent actual knowledge of the subject. The study programme can be a single-subject Master’s degree or a double-subject Master’s degree.

The study programme specializes in medieval Latin language and literature. Because of the connection between the medieval period and the previous developments during ancient times, this study programme uses the student’s knowledge of ancient literature from the Bachelor’s degree study programme. In this way, students gain an overview of the phonological and morphological development of the Latin language from ancient times through the end of the Middle Ages; the students know late Latin and medieval peculiarities in contrast to Latin normative grammar and the classical Latin style; they are also able to make comparisons in the fields of literary historical analysis and textual interpretations. Students also gain knowledge of the basics of palaeography and codicology in theory and in practice. The specialization necessarily involves general knowledge of other social and cultural sciences connected with the medieval period (especially medieval history, history of law, philosophy, theology, and religion).

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After successfully completing his/her studies the graduate is able to:

  • describe and explain orthographical, morphological, and syntactic peculiarities of medieval Latin in comparison with classical Latin
  • describe factors that influenced the development of late and medieval Latin vocabulary and give concrete examples of this development
  • illustrate the main features of European and Bohemian medieval literature written in Latin and describe its connection to ancient literature
  • describe the genre peculiarities and the formal and contextual characteristics of medieval prose and poetry
  • briefly describe the historical, philosophical, and religious background of the development of medieval society
  • describe basic rules employed in auxiliary sciences of history (especially in palaeography and codicology) and in textual criticism
  • read basic medieval scripts
  • read medieval Latin manuscripts and participate in preparing their modern critical editions
  • interpret critically selected original Latin texts from the medieval period
  • translate complicated Latin texts into Czech and individual sentences into Latin
  • work with scholarly literature written in foreign languages, with electronic databases, and with various sources of information
  • write a long structured text on scholarly topics
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The study programme will allow graduates to adapt to the changing requirements of the labour market. They will be able to search for different types of information sources, assess them critically, and use them appropriately. They will be fully qualified to work in the departments of the Academy of Sciences or in universities engaged in the humanities, and in archives and museums where medieval literature and diplomatic sources are studied. Graduates can work as university lecturers of Latin language; their skills are also helpful for secondary education in concrete history, Czech language, and foreign languages. Graduates may also work as Latin language experts in various publishing houses, mass media, and bookstores (in tasks such as proofreading).

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The standard duration of studies is four semesters. For admittance to the final state examination, students must earn a total of 120 ECTS credits for type A/required, type B/selective, and type C/elective courses and for foreign language courses. The number of required credits is different in the single-subject and double-subject programme.

In the single-subject programme, students have to earn 81 credits for type A/required courses which focus on reading and interpreting medieval Latin texts, medieval literature written in Latin, and basics of editing manuscripts. Students must also earn 26 credits for type B/selective courses (chosen from the list of courses) and 9 credits for type C/elective courses (chosen from all the courses taught at university). Thus, students can modify their study plan according to their interests and intended professional specialization. Four credits have to be earned for foreign language courses.

In the double-subject programme, students have to earn either 55 credits (if they decide to write the Master’s thesis in Medieval Latin Language and Literature) or 35 credits (if they decide to write a Master’s minor thesis in Medieval Latin Language and Literature) for type A/required courses. Students must also earn 13 credits for type B/selective courses and 2 credits for the foreign language courses (i.e. half of 4 credits which they have to earn in both of their fields of study together).

Students have to read selected passages of medieval Latin texts and be able to translate and understand them.

The list of required reading is available in the Masaryk University Information System. Students also have to pass a test in grammar of classical Latin.

During the course of their studies, students should follow the study catalogue valid for their year of matriculation. The study catalogues for the individual years of matriculation are available at the Faculty of Arts website.

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The Master’s final state examination consists of an oral exam which tests the students’ knowledge of orthographical and grammatical peculiarities of medieval Latin and their ability to translate and interpret selected medieval Latin texts, their familiarity with European and Bohemian medieval literature written in Latin, and their understanding of its broader historical and cultural context.

In the single-subject programme and double-subject programme within which the Master’s thesis is submitted, one part of the final state examination is also the defence of the Master’s thesis. The requirements concerning the Master’s thesis are available on the faculty’s website (https://is.muni.cz/auth/do/phil/Pracoviste/SO/4581421/Vzor_bakalarske_prace.pdf) and on the department’s website (http://www.phil.muni.cz/wuks/home/studium).

More information about the graduation requirements can be found in the study catalogue in the Masaryk University Information System or on the website of the Department of Classical Studies.

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After completion of the Master’s studies, graduates can continue further studies in any doctoral degree study programme (after satisfying the admission requirements). At the Department of Classical Studies, it is possible to study in the doctoral degree study programme in Medieval Latin Language and Literature which focuses mainly on preparing critical editions and studying medieval literature written in Latin.

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Field of study specifications

Field of Study: Medieval Latin Language and Literature
Abbreviation: LLS
Code: 7310T327
Type: Master's degree programme (following the Bachelor's one)
Degree: Mgr.
Accreditation: to 31/12/2024
Programme: N7310 N-FI Philology
Faculty of Arts
Field of study guaranteed by:
Faculty of Arts
Field guarantor:
prof. PhDr. Daniela Urbanová, Ph.D.