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Latin in Old Norse-Icelandic Manuscripts (ISLANDIA LATINA)
Start date: Jan 1, 2013, End date: Dec 31, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"Dr. Jensson, a professor of comparative literature and classics at the University of Iceland, proposes to develop a comprehensive description of Latin letters in medieval Old Norse-Icelandic manuscripts at the Department of Scandinavian Research, University of Copenhagen. This entails a two-year Work Programme in Copenhagen to compile an analytical state-of-the-art XML database offering full informational coverage of Latin works, composed, copied, translated or otherwise utilized by Old Norse-Icelandic scribes. Few original texts in Latin are preserved in Old Norse-Icelandic manuscripts compared with the great number of Icelandic vernacular works. This seems to underlie a common but inaccurate assumption that medieval literacy in the area was radically exceptional in western and central Europe with respect to the use of Latin. But if one documents the number of known and lost original Latin works, references to the use of Latin in Iceland and Norway, Latin texts found in Old Norse-Icelandic manuscripts, vernacular translations of Latin works, lists of Latin books that were in the libraries of churches, monasteries and cathedral schools, and Latin sources identified in the vocabulary collection of the Dictionary of Old Norse Prose, a very different picture emerges of medieval Icelandic-Norwegian literacy and one that is much less exceptional with respect to the use of Latin. By compiling a database of XML-encoded documents related to Latinity which is compatible with and supplementary to the Dictionary of Old Norse Prose online (dataonp.hum.ku.dk) and the Online Electronic Catalog of Icelandic Manuscripts (handrit.org), two projects presently under construction at the Department in Copenhagen, the foundation of a new knowledge portal based on new insights will be laid. The project will establish Dr. Jensson as a leading European scientist in the area of Scandinavian Latin, and contribute further to a world-leading European centre of manuscript studies in Copenhagen."
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