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Queen's University

*Please note that course syllabi are updated each year in late August 
Prior to August, syllabi on the Classics Department website will reflect the courses as they were offered in the last term or year.  Significant changes in emphasis in course material may occur from year to year, including grading methodology, grade weighting and assignments.   Up-to-date syllabi will be available to students by the first day of class.

LATN 327/410
Medieval Latin

Instructor: Dr. M. S. Cummings
Watson Hall, Room 511
533-6000, ext. 74822
Office Hours:
TBA - Please check office door
Class Schedule:
Mondays 4:00 PM - 5:15 PM
Wednesdays 2:30 PM - 3:45 PM 
Location: Watson 122 (WAT-122)

Course Description

The course will focus on reading excerpts from a representative range of authors and genres of the medieval period in order to develop students’ Latin skills in general and to equip students in particular with the knowledge and background necessary for further reading in post-classical Latin. Students enrolled in LATN 410 will have to read some supplementary material. The instructor will hand out a schedule of readings on the first day of class.

Required Texts

  • Godfrey, A.W. Medieval mosaic. Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers.
  • Sidwell, K. Reading medieval Latin . Cambridge University Press.
  • Simpson, D.P., ed. Cassell's Latin dictionary : Latin-English, English-Latin. Hungry Minds Inc.
  • Allen, J.H. and J.B. Greenough. Allen & Greenough’s New Latin Grammar . Rev. A. Mahoney. Focus.

A few additional passages for translation will be handed out by the instructor. 

Note: there are many good mid-size Latin dictionaries on the market, but Reading medieval Latin presumes that its user has a copy of Cassell’s Latin dictionary, which has been ordered for this class. If a student has a large Latin dictionary such as Lewis and Short, Freund’s, or the O.L.D., the Cassell’s... will not be necessary.

Marking Scheme

  • Fall Term:
    Mid-term test (November 4) - 16%
    Two short assignments, due October 28 and November 18  - 10%
    Unseen translation exam (November 27) - 8%
    Class Participation - 8% 
  • Winter Term:
    Mid-term test (date TBA, around the 4th week of classes) - 16%
    Two short assignments (dates TBA) - 10%
    Class participation - 8%
    Final exam - 24 %
    Total: 100%

Grading Methodology

All components of this course will receive letter grades which, for purposes of calculating your course average, will be translated into numerical equivalents using the Faculty of Arts and Science approved scale:

Arts & Science Letter Grade Input Scheme

Assignment mark

Numerical value for calculation of final mark

























F48 (F+)


F24 (F)


F0 (0)


Your course average will then be converted to a final letter grade according to Queen’s Official Grade Conversion Scale:

Queen’s Official Grade Conversion Scale


Numerical Course Average (Range)


























49 and below



  1. This outline is the authoritative one for the class. It takes precedence over any that might appear online. 
  2. The mid-terms will consist of passages that have been read in class (from Medieval mosaic, Reading medieval Latin, and extra passages the instructor has provided) for translation and some grammatical and historical comment. The final exam will be like a mid-term with an unseen translation (worth approximately thirty percent of the exam) added. Students should note that LATN 310, 311, and 327 are proportionally more difficult than LATN 209: more material is covered in class and on the exams, and greater understanding of the subject is expected from students. Students that want to improve on their performance in LATN 209 will have to work significantly harder.  Students enrolled in Latin 410 will have an extra passage on each of the exams for translation.
  3. Examination policy: examinations should be taken at the scheduled time and date. In certain exceptional circumstances (e.g. a medical emergency, a death in the family), the instructor might grant the student the opportunity to write an exam outside of the regularly scheduled time. All such arrangements must be agreed upon by the instructor before the time of the regularly scheduled exam and will require the appropriate documentation. The format of any such special exams will be determined by the instructor and may differ considerably from that of the exam written by the rest of the class. These measures are intended solely to be fair to students who complete all course components, not to punish those who encounter some misfortune or hardship. Note in particular that no deferrals will be given to students who are out of town during the April final exam.
  4. The assignments will be passages for translation at home, but will have a brief turnaround time: they will generally be handed at the end of class on Wednesday and will be due before or at the start of class on the following Monday. Assignments will not be accepted after the start of class on the due date unless a student has a verifiable illness,  family crisis/emergency, or religious conflict. Students are expected to work on these assignments independently: copying an assignment or allowing one to be copied constitutes academic dishonesty. The professor will keep an eye out for excessively similar translations. 
  5. Because regular practice is extremely important in helping to learn a language, 16% of the final grade in this course will be based on class participation. This includes very regular attendance in class and being prepared for class (which means being able to make a decent attempt at translating the Latin and explaining grammatical, syntactical, and morphological points and being ready with questions about material they do not understand). Some material that is discussed in class but is not in your textbooks will inevitably appear on the exams.  I do not expect in-class practice work (i.e., “homework”) to be perfect, but I expect you to have made a genuine attempt to complete and understand it. Be assured that I can tell if you have tried to do the work and are having trouble with something or if you are simply unprepared. If you attend almost all classes and have made a serious attempt to prepare for class, you will get 100% on this component. On the other hand, if you miss as few as one-third of the classes and are usually not well prepared, you will get only 10% on this component.

    Not only will some material that is discussed in class, but which is not in the textbooks, inevitably appear on the exams, but the extra exposure to the Latin that comes from being in class and working through problems in the Latin greatly helps most students understand the material. It is also unfair to those students that have prepared for someone class unprepared and write down the work of those other students. A student that misses as few as one class in four will very likely have trouble passing the exams. If students have not prepared enough material to fill the class time, I will continue translating on my own. Remember that the classes are seventy-five minutes long.

     Moreover, adjustments to the reading list will inevitably need to be made as the class progresses. If you miss a class, you might not know about any changes and so might be unprepared for the next class.

     Finally, students should note that they cannot expect to miss, or come unprepared for, many classes (without good reason) and then make these up by extensive private tutorial sessions with me. Students that show a commitment to the class will have the most call on my help.
  6. Marks may be deducted for poor English skills from any work handed in to me (including exams). Grammar and spelling are important at all times.

Electronic Devices in the Classroom

The Department of Classics believes that maintaining an atmosphere of respect and consideration in the classroom is an important part of the pursuit of free intellectual enquiry. The use of electronic devices in the classroom can be disruptive to both the instructor and to other students, and thus we are introducing guidelines on their use. These guidelines will follow the procedure explained in Section 14 of the Student Code of Conduct and are in force starting January 2011:

  1. Non-course related use of electronic devices (e.g. playing games, watching movies, social networking and texting), including smartphones, tablets and laptops, is regarded by the Department of Classics as disruptive pursuant to Section 14 of the Student Code of Conduct. The use of these devices may be restricted at the discretion of the instructor;
  2. In some courses in CLST, LATN or GREK laptops may not be permitted. You will be told in class by your instructor if this is the case. If the use of laptops is permitted, please understand that their use is restricted to note-taking;
  3. The use of recording devices for lectures is not allowed unless you have requested and been given the express permission of the instructor of the course.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is constituted by the five core fundamental values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility (see These values are central to the building, nurturing and sustaining of an academic community in which all members of the community will thrive. Adherence to the values expressed through academic integrity forms a foundation for the "freedom of inquiry and exchange of ideas" essential to the intellectual life of the University (see the Senate Report on Principles and Priorities

Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the regulations concerning academic integrity and for ensuring that their assignments conform to the principles of academic integrity. Information on academic integrity is available in the Arts and Science Calendar (see Academic Regulation 1), on the Arts and Science website (see, and from the instructor of this course.

Departures from academic integrity include plagiarism, use of unauthorized materials, facilitation, forgery and falsification, and are antithetical to the development of an academic community at Queen's. Given the seriousness of these matters, actions which contravene the regulation on academic integrity carry sanctions that can range from a warning or the loss of grades on an assignment to the failure of a course to a requirement to withdraw from the university.

Disability Accommodations

Queen's University is committed to achieving full accessibility for persons with disabilities. Part of this commitment includes arranging academic accommodations for students with disabilities to ensure they have an equitable opportunity to participate in all of their academic activities. If you are a student with a disability and think you may need accommodations, you are strongly encouraged to contact the Disability Services Office (DSO) and register as early as possible. For more information, including important deadlines, please visit the DSO website at:


The material in this outline is copyrighted and is for the sole use of students registered in LATN 327-410.  This material shall not be distributed or disseminated to anyone other than students registered in LATN 327-410.  Failure to abide by these conditions constitutes a breach of academic integrity under the University Senate's Academic Integrity Policy Statement.

This page was last updated 28 August, 2013.

Department of Classics, 505 Watson Hall
Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6.
P: 613.533.2745 | F: 613.533.6739