Online Medieval Sources Bibliography

An Annotated Bibliography of Printed and Online Primary Sources for the Middle Ages

Source Details

Copeland, Rita and Sluiter, Ineke, eds., "Sciences and Curricula of Language in the Twelfth Century" (Medieval Grammar and Rhetoric: Language Arts and Literary Theory, AD 300-1475, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 367-541)

Text name(s): 

Number of pages of primary source text: 174


Dates: 1080 - 1210

Archival Reference: 

Original Language(s): 


  • Translated into English.

Translation Comments: Translations are cited with their specific sources throughout the chapter.

Geopolitical Region(s): 

  • Europe


Record Types: 

  • Commentary / Gloss / Exegesis
  • Treatise - Instruction/Advice

Subject Headings: 

  • Philosophy / Theology
  • Grammar / Rhetoric
  • Education / Universities


  • Index
  • Bibliography
  • Introduction


This chapter is part of a larger volume, Medieval Grammar and Rhetoric: Language Arts and Literary Theory, AD 300 – 1475, edited by Rita Copeland and Ineke Sluiter. The general introduction (60 pages) delves into the history of the study of grammar and rhetoric in the Middle Ages and its contributors. The scientific classification of knowledge and arts is summarized as a way to begin the discussion of the importance of grammar as the “logic of language.” Medieval grammarians and scholars built on the classical foundations of rhetoric and grammar and systematized them into the study of language. Grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric were included in the trivium of the seven languages arts, which were studied at the first universities. The introduction also provides an analysis of figurative language in grammar and rhetoric, poetics, forms of fiction, reading as an invention, and the ethics of grammar and rhetoric. For anyone interested in medieval grammar and rhetoric, this is an essential book with detailed introductions, notes, bibliography, and indexes of Latin terms, Ancient and Medieval names, and a general index.

This chapter, “Sciences and Curricula of Language in the Twelfth Century” includes the following excerpts:
  • Commentaries on Priscian, ca. 1080 to ca. 1150: Glosule, Note Dunelmenses, trans. Hunt; William of Conches, trans. Thurot, Minnis, Scott, and Reynolds
  • Rupert de Deutz, De sancta trinitate et operibus eius, trans. Haacke
  • Thierry of Chartres, Commentaries on the De inventione and Rhetorica ad Herennium, ed. Fredborg
  • Thierry of Chartres, Prologues to the Heptatechon, Prologues to Donatus, trans. Jeaueau
  • Petrus Helias, Summa Super Priscianum, ed. Reilly
  • Dominicus Gundissalinus, De divisione philosophiae, ed. Baur
  • John of Salisbury, Metalogicon, trans. McGarry
  • Grammatical Commentaries from the “School” of Ralph of Beauvais, ed. Kneepkens
  • Alan of Lille, Anticlaudianus, trans. Sheridan
  • Alexander Neckam, A List of Textbooks (From Sacerdos ad altare), trans. Hunt

Introduction Summary: 

In the twelfth century, the study of grammar and rhetoric took a turn into the deeper philosophical and cognitive treatment of the disciplines with the resurgence of Platonic and Aristotelic works in the West, which for a while, were primarily used in the Arabic tradition. The success of the cathedral schools led to the production of many commentaries with critical analyses of previous works on the subject. Various sources of glosses are named, and a short history of Ciceronian commentaries is given. We see much innovation and interest in the “big picture” of the role of grammar and rhetoric in literary arts in this period. Each excerpt is introduced briefly with the author’s background and contributions.

Cataloger: AKP