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Latin Grammar at the Court of Charlemagne

Updated: Dec 13, 2019

Anneli Luhtala and Anna Reinikka present the critical edition of Petrus Pisanus' Ars grammatica, a Latin grammar from Charlemagne's court circle. - (CCCM 293)


Peter of Pisa was among the scholars invited by Charlemagne to his court in the late 780s, and, according to Einhard, Charlemagne’s biographer, he taught grammar to the Emperor himself. The present book offers a critical edition of the textbook on grammar that Peter composed while teaching in the palatine school. It has survived in three versions, which enable us to see, how Peter’s ideas on language pedagogy developed, when new grammatical works and methods of teaching became accessible to scholars in the court circle. Grammatical education was at the heart of the Carolingian reform of learning, which owed many of its crucial features to Alcuin of York. His teaching of the Liberal Arts assigned major importance to the use of dialectic in all intellectual inquiry, including the study of grammar. This new approach to grammar, which is first attested in the works of Peter of Pisa and Alcuin, affected not only the advanced study of grammar but even secondary level pedagogy. Interaction between grammar and logic became standard practice with the subsequent generations of grammarians, establishing itself as a permanent feature of medieval culture from the eleventh century onwards. It is to this intellectual context that Peter's manual on grammar is related in the present book.

Anneli Luhtala (PhD, 1994) is a lecturer of Latin literature at the University of Helsinki. She studied at the University of Helsinki and was a visiting student and scholar in Clare Hall, Cambridge. Her publications include two monographs on ancient language theories as well as articles and editions of medieval grammatical texts. Anna Reinikka’s PhD thesis (University of Helsinki, 2013) was a first edition of a late antique Latin grammar, Ars Pseudo-Scauri.

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