Dante and Thirteenth-Century Latin Education: Reading the Auctores Minores

Doctoral Dissertation


In late thirteenth-century Italy, literacy had become accessible to a significant portion of the lay population. It thus became a crucial means to the middle class’s cultural and political empowerment, and to the secularization of learning. This project investigates how minor Latin authors that were read in thirteenth-century schools shaped Dante’s hermeneutic posture toward classical, pagan literature.

As this study shows, these school authors offered a particular type of classical reception that provided a Christianizing access to the ancient authors and had a major impact on Dante’s poetics.

The study analyzes six Latin school texts—the Ilias latina, the Latin Aesop, the Disticha Catonis, the Ecloga Theoduli, Statius’s Achilleid, and Claudian’s De raptu Proserpinae—and integrates an analysis of selected medieval school books, their commentaries, and glosses to reconstruct these texts’ medieval readership.


Attribute NameValues
Author Filippo Gianferrari
Contributor Zygmunt Baranski, Research Director
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline Medieval Studies
Degree Name PhD
Defense Date
  • 2017-07-07

Submission Date 2017-07-14
Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

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