Medieval Latin: An Introductory Bibliography

General Guides.

R. E. Kaske, Medieval Christian Literary Imagery: A Guide to Interpretation, Toronto Medieval Bibliographies 11 (Toronto, 1988).

Helpful beyond its immediate subject matter as a general guide to medieval philology. Very good on how to track down biblical echoes etc. One of a series of Toronto bibliographies that also includes introductions to Medieval Rhetoric and Latin Palaeography.
[M.R.P. McGuire & H. Dressler, Introduction to Medieval Latin Studies: A Syllabus and Bibliographical Guide 2nd ed. (Washington,
D.C. 1977). Replaced by ...]

F. Mantello and A.G. Rigg, Medieval Latin (Washington, D.C. 1996).

A well-organized collection of short bibliographical essays by various scholars. Includes sections on technical usage and non-literary areas (Mining, Astrology, Botany etc.), as well as major literary genres.
Dag Norberg, Manuel pratique de latin medieval (Paris 1968).
Brief history of ML  as it developed in various areas of Europe, followed by a selection of texts with notes. Very good for verse technique, on which Norberg was an expert.
Karl. Strecker, Introduction to Medieval Latin, trans. R.B. Palmer (Zurich 1957)
Out of date (especially on bibliography), but interestingly cranky. The sections on language and style (p. 11ff.) are still worth reading.
Ludwig Traube, Einleitung in die lateinische Philologie des Mittelalters = vol. 2 of his Vorlesungen und Abhandlungen, ed. P. Lehmann
(Munich, 1911)
Introduction (primarily early) medieval Latin philology by one of the founders of the discipline, very strong on palaeography in particular. Still worth reading, especially by those planning to teach ML at some point. Includes a number of frequently quoted characterizations (e.g. Medieval Latin as the corpse whose hair and fingernails continue to grow) and obiter dicta.


Classical Latin

K. E. Georges, Ausführliches lateinisches-deutsches Handwörterbuch, 2 vols. (Darmstadt 1985)

Comparable to Lewis and Short, but often including material not found there (and vice versa).The companion German/Latin volumes (1 vol. abridgement still in print) are perhaps the best vernacular-to-Latin dictionary available.
Aegidius Forcellini and V. De-Vit, Totius Latinitatis Lexicon (Prato 1858-60)
Replaced by the TLL, but still valuable where the latter is not yet available.
P.G.W. Glare, ed., Oxford Latin Dictionary (Oxford, 1982)
Based on a comprehensive collection of material (like the TLL). Note, however, that it cuts off at 200 AD, omitting all Christian authors, and is thus of limited usefulness for medieval Latinists (though a good place to turn for brief, up-to-date etymologies).Some find its semantic groupings over-subtle and/or arbitrary.
C.T. Lewis & C. Short, A Latin Dictionary (Oxford 1879)
Still an anecdotal dictionary: deductions should not be drawn from its silence. But still the best first resource.
Thesaurus Linguae Latinae (Leipzig 1900- present) (TLL or ThLL) Classics, just left of circulation desk under the portrait of W.A. Oldfather.
The definitive dictionary for classical and late antique Latin, based on all the material up to 200 AD, and a comprehensive selection up to 600. Issued in fascicules; currently available are A-M, O, and parts of P; completion is scheduled by 2050.

The bulk of the entries are the citations from ancient authors, categorized in a series of logically structured oppositions. For many words all the citations in the files are printed; in other cases (indicated by a superscript x before the headword) only selected citations are given.

Particularly useful are the headers to longer articles, including inter alia:

  • Currently accepted etymologies
  • Ancient speculations on etymology
  • Spelling variations
  • Morphological variants
  • Metrical irregularities
  • Definitions in ancient authors
  • Brief histories of usage (inde a X; non habent A, B, C)
  • Romance derivatives
  • Typical scribal confusions
  • See also the TLL Index, which explains abbreviations (including those used only in earlier volumes), and what editions the numbering refers to.

    Late Antiquity/Early Christian

    A. Blaise, Dictionnaire Latin-Francais des auteurs chretiens (Turnhout 1954)

    Not wholly satisfactory or reliable, but sometimes useful especially for technical Christianisms and terms with theological resonance.
    A. Souter, A Glossary of Later Latin to 600 A.D. (Oxford 1957; current reprint by Sandpiper/Powells)
    Conceived as a supplement to Lewis and Short. A glossary, not a dictionary, and a one-man job, but a remarkably good performance as such. Meanings given should always be checked against the original passage.
    Medieval Latin

    C. Du Fresne Du Cange, Glossarium mediae et infimae latinitatis (Paris 1840)

    Not originally intended as a dictionary at all, but a kind of encyclopedia in Glossary form. A dictionary of last resort after the one-volume ML dictionaries have failed you.
    R.E. Latham, Revised Mediaeval Latin Word-List from British and Irish Sources (Oxford 1965)
    A preparatory boiled-down version of the next entry. Gives only meanings and dates (not citations, or authors). Nevertheless, and despite its geographical limits, this is probably the most useful one-volume ML dictionary (and what's more, still in print at a reasonable price). A combination of Lewis & Short + Latham will get you where you're going much more often than not.
    R.E. Latham, et al., Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources (Oxford 1975-) (up to L)
    Comparable to the Oxford Latin Dictionary in format, this is one of a number of national dictionaries in various stages of progress (smaller countries, e.g. Sweden, tend to be further advanced).
    J. F. Niermeyer, Mediae Latinitatis Lexicon Minus (Leiden 1976)
    Not usually the first dictionary I reach for, but often useful for legal, historical, & administrative texts.Definitions are in French and English.
    Archivum latinitatis medii aevi (=ALMA or Bulletin Du Cange) 1924 ff.
    This includes an on-going dictionary of ML from Italian sources; consultation is made more difficult by its periodic publication as part of a larger journal.
    O. Prinz, ed. Mittellateinisches Wörterbuch bis zum ausgehenden 13. Jahrhundert (Munchen 1967-)
    Covers Germany, Switzerland, Austria. Thorough and detailed, but its slow rate of publication (currently up to C) makes it of limited usefulness.
    Grammars (of Classical Latin).

    B. Gildersleeve and G. Lodge, Latin Grammar, 3d ed. (New York, 1895 etc.)

    A handy desk grammar for quick consultation.
    J.B. Greenough, G.L. Kittredge, etc., Allen and Greenough's New Latin Grammar (many reprints, most recently New Rochelle 1983)
    Comparable to Gildersleeve & Lodge. Also available online.
    R. Kuhner & C. Stegmann, Ausfuhrliche lateinische Grammatik, 2 vols. (Hannover 1912-14)
    A reference grammar, somewhat easier to find your way around in than Leumann-Hofmann.
    M. Leumann, J. B. Hofmann, & A. Szantyr, Lateinische Grammatik, 2 vols. + Index (Munich 1977) [HdA]
    Another mammoth reference work; better than Kuhner-Stegmann on the linguistic side, and has a useful index locorum.
    E.C. Woodcock, A New Latin Syntax (Cambridge 1959)  Classics 475.2 W83N
    Innovative and very readable. Explains how and why certain constructions developed, and more satisfying in that respect than grammars of the Gildersleeve & Lodge type.
    Literary History:

    Erich Auerbach, Literary Language and its Public in Late Antiquity and in the Middle Ages (Princeton, 1965; German original, 1958)

    Franz Brunhölzl, Geschichte der lateinischen Literatur des Mittelalters (München, 1975)  Classics 875.9 B83g

    Two volumes to date. More recent than Manitius, which it may eventually replace when completed. There is also a French translation.
    A. Ebert, Allgemeine Geschichte der Literatur des Mittelalters im Abendlande, 3 vols. 1889 (also translated into French (Paris 1883-89)

    Reinhart Herzog, ed., Restauration und Erneuerung: die lateinische Literatur von 284 bis 374 n. Chr. (Handbuch der lateinischen Literatur der Antike V) (Munich 1989) [HdA]

    M. Manitius, Geschichte der lateinischen Literatur des Mittelalters (Munich 1911) 3. vols. [HdA]

    Mammoth resource, w/ bibliography now heavily out of date. Good on who imitated whom, later history of texts etc.
    F.J.E. Raby, A History of Christian-Latin Poetry in the Middle Ages (Oxford 1953)

    ------. A History of Secular Latin Poetry in the Middle Ages, 2 vols. (Oxford 1934)

    The division of into Christian and Secular is sometimes a pain and leads to some overlap between these works. Raby does include extensive quotations, and is thus almost usable as a kind of mini-anthology.
    Martin Schanz, Geschichte der Römischen Literatur, rev. C. Hosius and G. Krüger (Munich, 1927-59) [HdA]
    Will eventually be replaced by Herzog-Schmidt, but still useful for many late antique authors.
    F.A. Wright and T.A. Sinclair, A History of Later Latin Literature (London, 1931).
    Goes from the 4th c. all the way to Milton. Not a scholarly work, but handy as a quick way to get a sense of who's who.
    Anthologies and Readers.

    C.H. Beeson, A Primer of Medieval Latin (Chicago 1925)  Classics 875.8 B39P

    Well-chosen selections, and a good introductory section on language. Not much in the way of notes, though there is a glossary.
    K.P. Harrington, Mediaeval Latin rev. J. Pucci (Chicago, 1997) [required text] Classics 875 H23M1997
    The old Harrington was a useful collection handicapped by a lack of notes. Pucci's revision has altered the selections (new cut-off at 1250; more women writers; but too many brief snippets) and added notes (not always reliable), plus an introduction on Medieval Latin by Alison Goddard Elliott.
    F.E. Harrison, Millenium (Oxford 1968)
    Interesting selections of reasonable length, with notes in the back.
    F.J.E. Raby, The Oxford Book of Medieval Latin Verse (Oxford 1959).
    Practically no notes; Raby is also prone to excerpting longer works without making clear that he's doing so. But many interesting and enjoyable texts; a good place to go for classics like "Vexilla Regis".
    Keith Sidwell, Reading Medieval Latin (Cambridge, 1995)
    Probably the best recent entry. Geared to a British audience, so terminology may cause occasional problems for American readers.
    Note also the series of Toronto Medieval Latin Texts (TMLT); these are student editions, usually based on a single manuscript, with brief notes.


    Mittellateinisches Jahrbuch.

    Journal of Medieval Latin.

    Work on medieval Latin also appears in most of the standard medieval journals, e.g. Mediaeval Studies, Speculum, Traditio.


    L'Annee Philologique (Paris, 1924 - )

    For Classics, including late antiquity. Current vol. available online.
    Medioevo Latino (Spoleto, 1980- ).
    For late antiquity and later.
    Cf. also Mantello & Rigg (above under General Guides) and Charlie Wright's online bibliography of medieval reference works.

    Major Reference Works

    Pauly-Wissowa Realencyclopadie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft = PW (or) RE.

    Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum = RAC (Leipzig, 1941 -)

    More recent than RE, with a late-antique focus. In progress (up to I/J)
    Lexikon des Mittelalters (Munich, 1977- ).
    Standard medieval encyclopedia, much fuller than the English-language Dictionary of the Middle Ages.
    Series of Texts etc.


    E. Dekkers, Clavis Patrum Latinorum (Steenbrugh, 1995)

    D. Krömer and C.G. van Leijenhorst, Thesaurus linguae Latinae. Index librorum scriptorum inscriptionum ex quibus exempla afferuntur (Leipzig, 1990). [For authors to Isidore]


    Corpus Christianorum  Divided into several sub-series, of which two are particularly important to us:

    Corpus Christianorum. Series Latina = CCSL.  Stacks (3 East) 281.1 C817

    Corpus Christianorum. Continuatio Medievalis = CCCM  Stacks (3 East) 281.1 C817

    [Also available as a computerized database (CETEDOC) on CD-ROM]

    CSEL editions are generally preferable where available, but for many authors CC is the best bet, and almost always a major improvement on the PL.

    Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum = CSEL or "Vienna Corpus." Classics Ref. 872 C81

    Generally the best editions where available.
    Monumenta Germaniae Historica = MGH.
    Enormous collection (covers a whole wall), notoriously difficult to navigate around in. 'Germaniae' is interpreted broadly, so that the Auctores Antiquissimi includes e.g. authors like Claudian or Aldhelm whose claim to be historical monuments of Germany is a little dubious.
    Patrologia Latina = PL or "Migne."
    Electronic Version (available from UVA machines only).
    A wretched 19th c. reprint of much earlier (often already corrupt) editions, produced at high speed. But for many, many authors still the only resource.
    Sources chrétiennes = SC (Paris, 1940ff.)
    Volumes normally include facing French translations; sort of a patristic version of the Budé (C.U.F.) series.