This version of the course guide is provisional until the period for editing the new course guides ends.

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Code: 104224 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2503702 Ancient Studies OT 4 0


Jesús Alturo Perucho

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
catalan (cat)
Some groups entirely in English:
Some groups entirely in Catalan:
Some groups entirely in Spanish:


J. Antoni Iglesias Fonseca


A minimum knowledge of Latin is advisable. It is recommended to read an elementary Latin grammar, corresponding, at least, to a high school level.

Objectives and Contextualisation

Paleography, despite being an autonomous discipline, is a fundamental tool for all studies of Philology and History, as it provides the basis for the correct interpretation of the written sources of any age. Therefore, the aim of the course is to train students to read and interpret all kinds of written documents, codices, diplomas and inscriptions in the Latin alphabet, within a chronological arc that goes from antiquity to this day. The classes will have an eminently practical character. Previously, however, the basic theoretical notions necessary for the technical reading and critical editing of the texts, as well as for the understanding of the evolution of Latin writing, will be given. The possibility of orienting the subject towards a certain chronological period will be taken into account, depending on the specialty and homogeneity of the groups.


  • Dominate the use of specific instruments, with special attention to digital tools, for analysing the ancient world.
  • Extract and interpret data from texts written in an ancient language in different formats applying knowledge of the auxiliary sciences of history (epigraphy, numismatics, codicology, palaeography, etc.).
  • Interpret texts written in Latin and Greek to understand the history and Classical civilisations.
  • Students must be capable of collecting and interpreting relevant data (usually within their area of study) in order to make statements that reflect social, scientific or ethical relevant issues.
  • Students must develop the necessary learning skills to undertake further training with a high degree of autonomy.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Apply the rules and regulations of textual criticism in order to establish a text.
  2. Describe the conditions of transmission and fixation of an ancient text.
  3. Distinguish the period and the typology of a text by analysing its formal characteristics.
  4. Locate truthful and meaningful to the reading and interpretation of literary texts or epigraphic information.
  5. Reading historical texts written in different formats.
  6. Recognise and comment on the characteristics of the various types of ancient writing in the texts.
  7. Submitting works in accordance with both individual and small group demands and personal styles.
  8. Using the specific interpretational and technical vocabulary of the discipline.


Subject program:

Historical - and also philological - research in any of its epochs requires the researcher to be able to read and interpret manuscript texts, whether they are of a literary or paraliterary nature, which requires direct consultation of the sources of 'History and Philology information for each of its periods. Only in this way will it be possible to be critical of the interpretations that the various historiographical schools make today or have made in the past, and to be able at the same time to formulate their own scientific judgment and rigorously grounded.

The subject of Paleography is therefore intended to enable the reading of literary and paraliterary texts, both in Latin and in any other language that uses its alphabet from any period.

- Concept of Paleography and main old and current schools
- The origin of the Latin alphabet and first witnesses
- Latin writing in classical antiquity. The various types and the birth of lowercase writing
- The pre-Carolingian writings: the Visigothic; the Benevento; the Merovingian and the insular in its main variants
- The new continental writing: the tiny carolina
- Gothic writings
- Humanistic writing


The subject will have an essentially practical orientation, based on the transcription and commentary of handwritten documentation. You will be taught to read each of the various writings of the Latin alphabet used throughout history and, in particular, the typologies that are most abundant in the archives and libraries of Catalonia.

Consultation of original documentation and, where appropriate, internships in archives and libraries, mainly with which the UAB Seminar on Paleography, Codicology and Diplomacy has signed collaboration agreements.

The content of the subject will be sensitive, as far as possible, to aspects related to the gender perspective (for example, with the exhibition of female graphic manifestations, the role of women in the transmission of written culture, the libraries, female readers and readings).

Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Transcription work 0 0


In the case of continuous assessment, students must take two written tests throughout the course (30% + 30% of the total subject). Other important grading details: active participation in class (15%).

It will also be essential to carry out a course work, which will consist of the transcription of unpublished handwritten documentation (25%).

At the time of carrying out / delivery of each evaluation activity, the teacher will inform (Moodle, SIA) of the procedure and date of review of the grades.

In the event that the tests or written work cannot be done in person, their format will be adapted (maintaining their weighting) to the possibilities offered by the UAB's virtual tools. Homework, activities and participation in class will be done through forums, wikis and / or discussion discussions through Moodle, Teams, BBCollaborate, etc. Teachers will ensure that the student can access it or offer alternative means that are available to them.

In the event that the student commits any irregularity that may lead to a significant variation in the grade of an assessment act, this assessment act will be graded with 0, regardless of the disciplinary process that may be instructed. In the event of several irregularities in the evaluation acts of the same subject, the final grade for this subject will be 0.

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
1st written test 30% 2 0.08 1, 2, 3, 5, 4, 7, 6, 8
2nd written test 30% 2 0.08 1, 2, 3, 5, 4, 7, 6, 8
Active participation in class 15% 60 2.4 2, 3, 5, 6, 8
Course work 25% 86 3.44 1, 2, 3, 5, 4, 7, 6, 8


Web links:


Basic bibliography:

4. The Oxford handbook of Latin Palaeography (Oxford, 2020).

5. Millares Carlo, A.: Tratado de Paleografía española. 3ª ed. (Madrid, 1983).

6. Bischoff, B.: Paléographie de l’Antiquité romaine et du moyen âge occidental (París, 1985) [l’obra original és en llengua alemanya, i hi ha traduccions en llengua italiana i anglesa].

7. Mallon, J.: Paléographie romaine (Madrid, 1952).

8. Alturo, J.: Història del llibre manuscrit a Catalunya (Barcelona, 2003).