CORDIS - EU research results

Priscian’s Ars grammatica in European Scriptoria. A Millennium of Latin and Greek Scholarship

Project description

New digital life for ancient grammatical studies

Among outstanding works of great importance for European heritage, the Ars grammatica of Prisciano di Cesarea is a special one. This last antique work of the Latin language includes many passages of lost ancient Greek texts. It stimulated European linguistic studies and through the centuries served Western scholars to practice Latin and Greek. With digital technology, Prisciano’s work can be studied again in a multidisciplinary approach. The EU-funded PAGES project enables a new critical edition of the Ars with systematic analysis and translations. PAGES will reconstruct Prisciano’s role in linguistic and Greek studies through historical, philological, palaeographical and digital humanities research and a multispectral analysis of manuscripts. All outcomes will be accessible on a digital platform.


Written at the beginning of the 6th century AD in the bilingual context of Constantinople, the Ars Prisciani, in 18 books, is the last and greatest Latin grammar handbook of Antiquity. Bringing together the inheritance of Latin and Greek grammatical traditions, it stands as a milestone in the history of linguistic speculation and is an important source of fragments of lost literary works. The deep impact of this text on European culture falls beyond its original scope. Conceived to teach Latin to Greek speakers, in the early Middle Ages (8th-10th centuries) and during the Renaissance (15th-16th centuries) the Ars turned out, due to its great amount of Greek passages, to stimulate the study of Greek by Western scholars.
The peculiar East-Western transmission of the Ars can now be exploited and thoroughly illustrated thanks to the progress of digital philology. PAGES aims both to supersede Hertz’s outdated and unreliable edition (1855-59) and, in a broader perspective, to reconstruct Priscian’s key role not only in the revival of Latin in 9th-century Europe but also in the practice of Greek script and language in Carolingian scriptoria, in the renaissance of Greek philological studies in the Humanistic Age, and in the history of linguistic education in Europe. The project tackles these challenges with a multidisciplinary approach, gathering experts in textual criticism, digital humanities, palaeography and multispectral imaging, history of linguistics, and medieval and humanistic scholarship.
PAGES will build an open source digital scholarly resource on the text, the tradition, and the reception of Priscian. The infrastructure will make available the results of the systematic census of medieval manuscripts and early printed editions, including the comprehensive inquiry about the Greek script and glosses in Priscian’s 8th-10th-centuries manuscripts as well as about the emendations and interpolations in 15th-16th-centuries manuscripts and printed editions.

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 2 486 375,00
Piazzale Aldo Moro 5
00185 Roma

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Centro (IT) Lazio Roma
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 2 486 375,00

Beneficiaries (1)