Courses taught

Courses at IHR

Course: Palaeography and Diplomatic from Roman Times to c1700
Lecturer: Jenny Stratford
Level / Length: MA, PhD / 2 terms
Assessment: 2 written assignments
Contact: IHR website
Description: The course is designed to help students to work with medieval and early modern manuscripts. It will be tailored as far as possible to individual needs within the group. Besides practical training (transcription, editing, the physical aspects of manuscripts and documents including illumination), the course introduces the history of script and its intellectual context from Roman times to c. 1700. Some Latin is required for the first term. Students without Latin are welcome to apply for the second term.

Courses at KCL

Course: Latin Epigraphy
Lecturers: John Pearce, Henrik Mouritsen
Level / Length: MA / 2 terms
Assessment: 2 x 3000-word commentaries; 1 x 4000-word essay
Contact: j.fryer@ucl.ac.uk
Description: This is a module on a dedicated MA course, designed to introduce students to both the practical study and the interpretation of Latin inscriptions of all types. The classes will survey the expanding resources available for the study of Latin inscriptions, including electronic resources as well as traditional printed corpora; the production of epigraphic material from the point of view of those commissioning it and the individual craftsman; the development and the decline of ‘epigraphic habit’; and the analysis and interpretation of the texts in the broader context of the artefacts, monuments or buildings to which they were attached. Students will learn how to measure and record inscriptions; how to read and interpret epigraphic texts; and how to edit and prepare epigraphic texts for publication. They will study and interpret a wide variety of examples of different types of inscriptions: official, public, private and graffiti, from Rome, Italy and the provinces.

Course: History of Script in Britain, 600-1100
Lecturer: Julia Crick
Level / Length: MA, PhD / 1 term
Assessment: 4000-word essay
Contact: history@kcl.ac.uk
Description: This module will focus on the development of Latin and vernacular writing in England in a particularly formative period. The centuries between the conversion to Christianity and the Norman Conquest saw the development of new written language – English – and experimentation with a range of novel types of writing, each produced to meet contemporary needs in an environment in which writing was not only exceptionally precious but carried particular social and political significance. The module will introduce students to techniques for dating and localizing manuscripts and will investigate circumstances in which writing was developed and practised. It will consider library books, new compositions and documents, and the development of new types of script to meet the demands of readers and patrons.

Course: Skills for Medievalists: Palaeography I
Lecturer: Julia Crick
Level / Length: MA, PhD / 2 terms
Assessment: 1-hour exam, 3000-word essay
Contact: history@kcl.ac.uk
Description: The aim of this module is to train students to read, date and describe Latin manuscripts from AD 500 – 1500 and to understand manuscript culture and the circumstances in which texts were transmitted from the Middle Ages to modern times. It consists of a survey of the history of Latin handwriting from antiquity to the Renaissance. Students will also be taught how to describe a manuscript book and will be introduced to codicology. (Basic Latin is a requirement of this module.)

Course: The Ancient and Early Medieval Book
Lecturer: Julia Crick
Level / Length: BA / 1 term
Assessment: 4000-word essay
Contact: complit@kcl.ac.uk
Description: This module introduces you to the study of classical and biblical texts in Anglo-Saxon England and to the response of native writers to that tradition. The great cultural inheritance of the Roman world, in its pagan and later Christian forms, enraptured but also entrapped those, like the English, who neither spoke Latin nor used the Latin alphabet. Attempts to negotiate this gulf are exemplified in the early scholarship of the English, who went through stages of emulation, mediation, and finally translation in order to master and to own the Roman inheritance.

Course: The Medieval Book
Lecturer: Julia Crick
Level / Length: BA / 1 term
Assessment: 4000-word essay
Contact: complit@kcl.ac.uk
Description: The course examines the ways in which later medieval texts were made, circulated, and used, analysing how the circumstances of production and distribution help us to understand the literature and literary culture of England in the period. Bilingualism and trilingualism characterised the writing of the high Middle Ages, when French, German, and a variety of other languages joined English and Irish as written European vernaculars, and when writers and texts moved with apparent ease between Latin and one or more vernacular languages. The course explores literacy and education, the nature of textual communities and the circulation of texts, and readers and reception. We will look at a series of influential genres, a number of which crossed political, social and linguistic boundaries, and finally consider how they fared after the end of the Middle Ages, in the culture of print. All the texts discussed in class will be accessed in modern English translation.

Courses at RHUL

Course: Elementary Greek Palaeography
Lecturer: Charalambos Dendrinos
Level: MA, PhD
Assessment: Exam
Contact: ch.dendrinos@rhul.ac.uk
Description: This is an introductory course in Greek Palaeography addressed to students with either little or no knowledge of Greek, who attend mainly the intercollegiate University of London MA programme in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies, MA Classics, and RHUL MA History: Hellenic Studies, or pursue MPhil/PhD studies in the field of Classical and Byzantine studies.

Course: Greek Palaeography
Lecturer: Charalambos Dendrinos
Level: MA, PhD
Assessment: Essay
Contact: ch.dendrinos@rhul.ac.uk
Description: This course, a progression of Elementary Greek Palaeography, is addressed to students with good knowledge of classical Greek, who attend mainly the intercollegiate University of London MA programme in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies, and MA Classics, and RHUL MA History: Hellenic Studies, or pursue MPhil/PhD studies in the field of Classical and Byzantine studies. It aims to introduce the study of the Greek book and script from the Hellenistic period to the fifteenth century AD.

Course: Greek Hands of the Palaeologan Period (13-15th Century)
Lecturer: Charalambos Dendrinos
Level: MA, PhD
Assessment: Essay
Contact: ch.dendrinos@rhul.ac.uk
Description: This is an advanced course in Greek Palaeography addressed to students with reading knowledge of Greek, who attend mainly the intercollegiate University of London MA programme in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies, and MA Classics, and RHUL MA History: Hellenic Studies, or pursue MPhil/PhD studies in the field of Classical and Byzantine studies. This course is a progression of the HS5123 Elementary Greek Palaeography and HS5124 Greek Palaeography. It is offered on alternative years with HS5128 Byzantine Autographs of the Palaeologan Period (13th-15th century).

Course: Byzantine Autographs of the Palaeologan Period (13-15th Century)
Lecturer: Charalambos Dendrinos
Level / Length: MA, PhD
Assessment: Essay
Contact: ch.dendrinos@rhul.ac.uk
Description: This is an advanced course in Greek Palaeography addressed to students with reading knowledge of Greek, who attend mainly the intercollegiate University of London MA programme in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies, and MA Classics, and RHUL MA History: Hellenic Studies, or pursue MPhil/PhD studies in the field of Classical and Byzantine studies. This course is a progression of the  Elementary Greek Palaeography and Greek Palaeography. It is offered on alternative years with  Greek Hands of the Palaeologan Period (13th-15th century).

Courses at UCL

Course: Unstitching the Early Modern: Archival and book skills
Lecturer: Dr Robyn Adams
Level/Length: MA/1 term
Assessment: 1 x 4000 word essay
Contact: r.adams@ucl.ac.uk
Description: This course provides intensive training in the essential skills required for postgraduate research in the period 1500-1800 and focuses mainly on two areas; paleography and book history. The paleography section introduces the handwriting and scripts of early modern England (1500-1800) and manuscript culture. Knowledge of these scripts is essential for students wishing to pursue archival research. In addition, this course provides access to the resources required for archival research, such as provenance markers and situating the source material in its historical context. The book history section is intended as a primer towards advanced bibliographical research and study which focuses on textual history. It equips the student with the resources, methodological questions and techniques required for understanding the historical context and processes of book production in the early modern period. The course combines practical research skills with a program of key areas of historical bibliography and history of reading.

Course: Latin Palaeography
Lecturer: Marigold Norbye
Level / Length: BA / 1 term
Assessment: 3-hour examination
Contact: classicsoffice@ucl.ac.uk
Description: This module aims to introduce students to the materials and methods employed in the production of written documents on stone, papyrus and parchment and to familiarise them with the historical development of Roman scripts. These include Roman capitals and cursives, and Insular, Merovingian, Caroline, Beneventan and Gothic scripts. This module will also train students in the skills of identifying different writing styles and transcribing Latin texts. (Pre-requisite: a working knowledge of Latin.)

Course: Manuscripts and Documents
Lecturer: David d’Avray and Marigold Norbye
Level / Length: MA / 1 year
Assessment: 3-hour examination; coursework
Contact: d.d’avray@ucl.ac.uk
Description: This module is taught in the History Department, though palaeography modules elsewhere in the university will be available to students and the examination will be designed to give credit to students who have profited from them. The first aim of the module is to teach students how to read manuscript books and documents. It also provides introductory training in the description and dating of manuscript books, in textual criticism, and in the methods and concepts of ‘diplomatic’. Students capable of more advanced work in any of these areas will be given the opportunity to do it. They will be encouraged to use the collections of medieval manuscripts and documents in London, which has a concentration unrivalled in the English-speaking world. Students will normally have an opportunity to study directly and in detail a manuscript or manuscripts in the British Library.

Course: Greek Papyrology
Lecturer: Nick Gonis
Level / Length: MA / 1 year
Assessment: 2 written assignments
Contact: classicsoffice@ucl.ac.uk
Description: This module aims to introduce participants to the study of Greek papyri, documentary as well as literary, and to offer training in editing them. Each class will focus on a small number of texts, one or two of which will be studied in detail on a photograph. The texts are chosen to illustrate the development of Greek cursive scripts and bookhands; to examine formal aspects of the transmission of Greek literature on papyrus; and to give an idea of the range of documentary types available as sources for the history of Egypt from the age of the Ptolemies to late antiquity.

Course: Manuscript Studies
Lecturer: David Rundle
Level / Length: MA / 1 term
Assessment: Transcription test; essay
Contact: k.michaels@ucl.ac.uk
Description: This module introduces students to the province of medieval manuscripts, providing a foundation of the knowledge necessary to deal with manuscripts in a rare-books environment. The focus is the medieval book as object: how it was created and stored in its medieval setting, how it came into the hands of early-modern and modern collectors, and how it comes to be used and regarded in the present.