Studi Slavistici XVII (2020) 2

On the Latinitas in Novgorod: Some Cases of Unintentional Intertextuality

Vittorio Springfield Tomelleri
University of Macerata

Published 2021-01-02


  • Slavia Orthodoxa,
  • Novgorod,
  • Classical and Medieval Tradition,
  • Latin Language,
  • Church Slavonic

How to Cite

Tomelleri, V. S. (2021). On the Latinitas in Novgorod: Some Cases of Unintentional Intertextuality. Studi Slavistici, 17(2), 15–36.


The so-called Novgorod period of Russian literature, which lasted between the last two decades of the fifteenth century and the first quarter of the following one, has left us, among other things, a fair repertoire of Latin translations of late antiquity and medieval works. Among them, for example, we find some books of the Old Testament, contained in the Vulgata of Saint Jerome, the medieval version of the Ars minor by Aelius Donatus, fragments of the Doctrinale of Alexander de Villa Dei, an anti-Judaic treatise written by the Franciscan theologian Nicholas of Lyra, and the catena commentary on the Psalter compiled by the Bishop of Würzburg, Bruno.

The aim of the present paper is to collect and discuss some disiecta membra of classical and medieval Latin culture contained in these texts and, consequently, made available in their Slavic translation; in many cases we are faced with curious intertextual references that were probably not caught by Slavic translators and their readers.

The work is intended to produce a first catalog of learned quotations from medieval Latin culture in the Eastern Slavic world. These can be considered, and were probably indeed perceived as direct quotations, if we look at the Latin originals, but should perhaps be defined as ‘stolen words’, due to the fact that they were not recognized or were even misunderstood by their translators and/or by modern interpreters.


Metrics Loading ...