Gates to Europe. Latin, Roman Law , Cultural Heritage


The Summer School organized by L'Orientale University of Naples and the University of Sannio offers indispensable tools for understanding Europe and Western civilisation in general in its most significant structures. The gates to contemporary Europe are:

Language. Latin is not only at the basis of Italian, French, Spanish and other important Europeanlanguages but also 80 per cent of the entries in any English dictionary are borrowed, mainly from Latin. Even more important, the technical jargon of any discipline structured as a science – law, natural sciences, medicine and so on – is mainly based on Latin. Therefore, experiencing the intellectual vocabulary of Latin makes any contact with Western science and culture immediately easier; whereas an understanding of its grammar and rules allows a quicker and more profound learning of any language of choice, technical jargon included.

Literature and Philosophy. Through the powerful channel of their language – Latin – Roman culture conveyed Greek thought and literature (Plato, Aristotle, Homer, the Tragic poets etc.) to the subsequent Western civilization. At the same time the Romans enriched this extraordinary treasure with their own contributions, from the works of Cicero to Vergil’s Aeneid, from Ovid’ s poems to Seneca’s Letters. Roman literature and philosophy lie at the very heart of European and Western civilization: learning the main lines of their philosophical and literary legacy offers an invaluable key to understanding the ways of thinking that characterize the Western intellectual approach to the world.

Roman law. Rome’s tradition and the interpretation of the Corpus Iuris Civilis, Justinian’s monumental collection of Roman law, are at the basis of great part of the legal systems of continental Europe as they developed in the medieval and modern world, but also of the new legal production in China. In the common European imaginary law itself was a form invented by the Romans. Addressing the main principles of Roman law means understanding the core structure of any European legal system. Lectures will focus on the problems of the Roman legal experience in its private law articulations and on the distinction between the ‘Roman law of the Romans’ and ‘Roman law tradition’. The Programme will offer students the methodological skills necessary to approach the eminently historical character of the legal phenomenon and the relativity of legal constructions.

Cultural Heritage. The Roman/Classical cultural heritage is a great part of Europe’s heart. The Summer School will offer specific lectures on Classical art archaeology and science. Romans were also great builders of infrastructures such as roads, aqueducts, and amphitheatres still today embodied in our landscape. Furthermore, they also created powerful ways of expressing their values through art. Italian Renaissance took on and reinterpreted ancient art giving it new life and meaning. By intertwining language, Roman law, and cultural heritage Gates to Europe is able to give a fuller picture of Roman Classical antiquity and is able to provide the necessary skills to understand the subsequent historical developments and ruptures from tradition. Given the location of the School participants will have the exceptional possibility during their training of visiting the world-known collections of the Naples Archaeological Museum, Pompei, etc.


The teaching sessions will take place in English during the morning.
The courses will be held in the buildings of the University L'Orientale of Naples.

Field Trips and Events

During the afternoons there will be time for private study and sightseeing. Week 1 schedule includes a visit to the historical centre of Naples, a field trip in Benevento (one hour from Naples) with a lecture under Trajan’s Arch on imperial ideology, and also a field trip to Pompeii. Week 2 includes a guided tour to the world famous collections of the Archaeological Museum of Naples (MANN) and to the Officina dei Papiri in the National Library where the papyri found in Herculaneum are kept. There will be evening talks by prominent international scholars and a welcome lunch and farewell dinner.

Two weeks, June 24th, 2019 - July 6th, 2019

Latin Language, Prof. Pierluigi Leone Gatti (University of Naples, L’Orientale), Roman Law, Prof. Aglaia McClintock (University of Sannio, Benevento)

Intended audience and previous knowledge

We welcome applications from all adults including university students, professionals and those with other experience, regardless of educational background. This programme is intended for those with an interest in, or currently studying, any aspect of contemporary Europe and of the Ancient Worlds, or who wish to explore it for the first time. The courses do not require prior learning.


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