Medieval Studies

53 Wall Street, Rm. 310, 203.432.0672

Chair and Director of Graduate Studies
To be announced

Executive Committee R. Howard Bloch, Jessica Brantley, Ardis Butterfield, Stephen Davis, Roberta Frank, Paul Freedman, Dimitri Gutas, Ivan Marcus, Giuseppe Mazzotta, Alastair Minnis, Robert Nelson, Anders Winroth

Faculty associated with the program R. Howard Bloch, Gerhard Böwering, Jessica Brantley, Ardis Butterfield, Walter Cahn (Emeritus), Marcia Colish (Emerita), Stephen Davis, Roberta Frank, Paul Freedman, Creighton Gilbert (Emeritus), Walter Goffart (Emeritus), Harvey Goldblatt, Frank Griffel, Dimitri Gutas, Valerie Hansen, Peter Hawkins, Jacqueline Jung, Traugott Lawler (Emeritus), Ivan Marcus, Vasileios Marinis, Giuseppe Mazzotta, Mary Miller, Alastair Minnis, Robert Nelson, Henry Parkes, Fred Robinson (Emeritus), Barbara Shailor, Denys Turner (Emeritus), Anders Winroth, Mimi Hall Yiengpruksawan, Anna Zayaruznaya

Lecturer Raymond Clemens

Fields of Study

Fields in this interdisciplinary program include history, history of art, history of music, religious studies, languages and literatures, linguistics, and philosophy.

Special Admissions Requirements

The General Test of the GRE is required. A writing sample of ten to twenty pages should be included with the application.

Special Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree

Languages required are Latin, French, and German. Latin may be replaced with Arabic, Greek, or Hebrew when appropriate. Proficiency in Latin, Arabic, Greek, and Hebrew is tested with an examination administered and evaluated by the program during the first term. Proficiency in French and German is demonstrated by passing the departmental examinations and should be achieved by the third term. Students will design their programs in close contact with the director of graduate studies (DGS). During the first two years students take fourteen term courses, and must receive an Honors grade in at least four term courses the first year. Students take an oral examination, usually in the fifth term, on a set of three topics worked out in consultation with the DGS. Then, having nurtured a topic of particular interest, the student submits a dissertation prospectus that must be approved by the end of the third year. Upon completion of all predissertation requirements, including the prospectus, students are admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. What remains, then, is the writing, submission, and approval of the dissertation during the final two years.

Students in Medieval Studies participate in the Teaching Fellows Program in the third and fourth years.


MDVL 550a or b, Directed ReadingStaff

By arrangement with faculty.

MDVL 555a / HIST 542a, Law in Medieval EuropeAnders Winroth

This seminar explores the creation in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries of a sophisticated system of law, the European Common Law (ius commune). All late medieval and much modern legislation is based on this legal system. The course focuses on its roots in the Roman law of Emperor Justinian and in ecclesiastical legislation. We also study the influence of the ius commune on national and local medieval law. The emphasis is on using law in historical research and in learning the technical skills necessary. Prerequisite: facility with Latin or another relevant medieval language.
M 9:25am-11:15am

MDVL 563b / CLSS 602b, Advanced Latin PaleographyBarbara Shailor

The challenges of using hand-produced Latin manuscripts in research, with an emphasis on texts from the late Middle Ages. Gothic cursive scripts and book hands ca. 1200–ca. 1500; fragments of unidentified codices; complex or composite codices with heavy interlinear and marginal annotations. Manuscripts and fragments selected largely from collections in the Beinecke Library. Prerequisite: CLSS 601 or permission of the instructor.
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

MDVL 580a / NELC 548a, Ancient and Medieval Astronomy: From Babylonian to Greek to Arabic to LatinKevin Van Bladel

Astronomy was one of the seven classical liberal arts. This course introduces the history and methods of classical astronomy as practiced by ancient and medieval astronomers of Assyria and Babylonia, Greece, Rome, and Persia; and by medieval scholars in Latin, Arabic, and Sanskrit, down to the time of Copernicus and Kepler.
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

MDVL 581b / NELC 549b, Reading Classical Arabic ScholarshipKevin Van Bladel

This course studies a tenth-century overview of the sciences in classical Arabic and meaningful excerpts of additional texts representing each science covered. Students acquire a large vocabulary of scholarly and technical terms of art as used in classical Arabic, facilitating further research in traditional Arabic scholarship.
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

MDVL 611a, Medieval Latin for Sinners and SaintsJohn Dillon

An introductory reading course in Late Antique and Medieval Latin that is intended to help students interested in Christian Latin sources improve their reading ability. The primary objective is to familiarize students with Medieval Latin and improve their proficiency in reading and translating Medieval Latin texts. Students learn to recognize the features (grammatical and syntactical) that make Medieval Latin distinct, improve their overall command of Latin by reviewing grammar and syntax, and gain an appreciation of the immense variety of texts written in Medieval Latin.
TTh 9am-10:20am

MDVL 612b / HIST 537b, The Mediterranean in Late Antiquity and the Middle AgesPaul Freedman

This course looks at the Mediterranean in late antiquity and the Middle Ages. How unified or diverse was this area in terms of climate, cultures, and populations? Historiography of the Mediterranean includes works by Braudel, Abulafia, McNeil, Horden, and Purcell.
T 1:30pm-3:20pm