Introduction to german Philology (2020/2021)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Anna Cappellotto
Anna Cappellotto
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
II semestre (Lingue e letterature straniere) dal Feb 15, 2021 al May 29, 2021.

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

The course is an Introduction to Germanic Philology; it aims at transmitting basic information on the multi-disciplinary topics of Germanic Philology, which encompass the historical-linguistic survey of Germanic languages, and furthermore information on codicology and the history of books, paleography, textual criticism, and on the cultural history of Germanic peoples.

Expected Outcomes

- Basic knowledge of methods and cultural contents related to the literary traditions of Germanic languages
- High level proficiency in the specialistic vocabulary related to every field of Germanic Philology
- Basic knowledge of the different specialistic fields of Germanic Philology, mainly focussing on historical linguistics, in compliance with the general learning outcomes of the Bachelor Degree in Foreign Languages and Literatures (curriculum Literature)


This course is meant as an introduction to the study of Germanic Philology that enables students to become acquainted with the grounds of the philological method and with a selection of texts belonging to the early Germanic vernacular literatures. These will be considered in their documentary, linguistic, and cultural-historical ‘facies’.
The first part of the course qualifies as a historical introduction to the birth of Germanic Philology as a discipline and to some milestones in its development up until now.
Later on, the history of the so-called ‘Germani’ will be presented through their description in the classical sources and in their foundational cultural aspects such as society, religion, conversion to Christianity, and literacy. Students will be also introduced to historical linguistics both concerning the evolution of Proto-Germanic and the development of single Germanic languages.
Based on the peculiar features of Germanic manuscript traditions, the history of material culture primarily meant as manuscript culture will be traced. Essentials of codicology and palaeography will be studied in order to arrive to the historical recovery of texts through textual criticism.
The second part of the course will consider the birth of Germanic vernacular literatures. A number of lectures will be devoted to the reading, analysis (both philological-linguistic and cultural-historical) and translation of a selection of texts belonging to the Germanic tradition. The texts will be provided during the course and they will be examined starting from the historical documents in which they are handed down.


In compliance with the University guidelines, the course will entirely take place on the institutional Zoom platform, in form of streaming lectures which might be integrated by video recordings. Any change will be announced beforehand (at least 24 hours before class) and the Zoom link for the streaming will be provided in due time before course begin by means of an announcement on my personal webpage and on Moodle. All students (attendees and non-attendees) are requested to subscribe to the Moodle platform. Any other information regarding the lectures will be provided in the same way.
Materials for attendees are lectures, slides and other materials available on Moodle. The program for non-attendees will have to be agreed with the instructor, so please contact me through an institutional e-mail account to arrange an online meeting.
Bibliographical references indicated below will be further specified and integrated at the beginning of the course.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Nicoletta Francovich Onesti Filologia germanica. Lingue e culture dei germani antichi (Edizione 1) Carocci 2011 9788843023158
Alessandro Zironi Il Carme di Ildebrando. Un padre, un figlio, un duello (Edizione 1) Meltemi 2019 9788855190244 Tutto eccetto il cap. 3 (pp. 43-64)
Luiselli Fadda, Anna Maria Tradizioni manoscritte e critica del testo nel Medioevo germanico (Edizione 5) Laterza 2003 pagine da studiare: parte II "Codici e copisti" (pp. 113-179), Parte III "Il recupero storico del testo" (pp. 185-253)

Assessment methods and criteria

There will be an oral exam on Zoom or in person (depending on the development of the pandemic) and in both cases it will follow the official schedule published by the University. The exam cannot be split into modules.
The oral exam will assess both the level of acquired contents and the ability to critically address the topics considered during the course, as well as to create connections among them. A part of the assessment will be based on the correct and coherent presentation of the acquired knowledge; another part will consider the competent and appropriate use of the philological micro-language. During the oral exam the assimilation of the primary sources can be verified by means of reading, translation, and comment of short excerpts selected from the texts studied during the course and provided by the instructor during the exam. The final result is expressed out of 30 and it is meant as a global assessment of the achieved results.
Non-attendees will have to take an oral exam following the procedure explained above.