Purdue University College of Liberal Art

Liz Mercier, Caitlin Young, and Dustin Meyer

Liz Mercier, a continuing lecturer in Latin and Greek, recruited students Caitlin Young, a CLA senior, and Dustin Meyer, a graduate student in literary studies, for a summer research project to translate medieval Latin texts in the Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections Research Center. These texts include verses from the Bible, a commentary written by 12th-century theologian Peter Lombard, pages from a Book of Hours, and a page of 15th-century music. When working with the Bible manuscripts, the Latin Vulgate provides a text for comparison, but for most of the other manuscripts, the group will be working through translations without any existing text for comparison. Each translation the group produces will be the only known translation of the single leaves.

Both Young and Meyer have taken at least two years of Latin, and must not only be familiar with its grammar and constructions, but also decipher any inconsistencies, unusual abbreviations, and the unique handwriting of each scribe. The project is a rare opportunity for classics students to work on ancient documents. In addition to reading them and rendering elegant translations, they are contributing to the care and preservation of these documents. Together with Purdue Libraries faculty and staff members Sammie Morris and Neal Harmeyer, the team hopes to partner with programmers from the Department of Computer Science to make these translations available in Purdue’s digital repository, so that other students of Latin around the world can study them.

Congratulations to Liz Mercier and her students Caitlin Young and Dustin Meyer! We are proud of their efforts to make these documents available to scholars at Purdue and worldwide.

 

David's Signature

David A. Reingold
Justin S. Morrill Dean
College of Liberal Arts