“Bartholomew's World” (BW) is comprised of

  • articles
  • lessons
  • exercises.

There are articles on medieval authors and on topics treated by medieval authors. The topical articles are divided into lessons. Each lesson is based on a text by a medieval author and includes a variety of exercises.

BW currently exists in two places: the public website containing our finished texts, and our own shared online collection of documents under preparation. The website contains approximately 30% of the texts under preparation. All of the posted texts are coordinated with exercises. Please see Progess to Date for more information.


Many of the lessons have already been supplied with introductions meant to contextualize the material in the text for students, and all will eventually have such introductions.

For example, the introduction to “William of Auvergne on the Music of the Spheres” introduces students to Plato's cosmological theory, and then discusses both Plato's influence on William and the places in which William's theory diverges from Plato's. This complementary material allows students to encounter a whole world of medieval thinking about the natural and divine worlds, not just isolated texts.

Lessons can be approached by topic from the introductory page. The user can choose “Natural Science” > “Reptiles” > “Bart on the Asp”. This is probably the most natural approach for the student reader or casual explorer of the site.

Each lesson includes at least one grammar and one etymology exercise. See Exercises for more details.

Since it is important for students to understand how historical sources are prepared and presented by modern scholars, we have also included short paleography exercises with each lesson. These exercises are meant to introduce students to the fun and challenges of reading old documents while emphasizing the difficulties scholars face in preparing critical editions of such texts. Paleography exercises are presented without an order, although some are more challenging than others. See the index of paleography lessons by topic.

Finally, every lesson has a section of links to other online references and sources that discuss the same topic as the lesson. These range from art and literature to scholarly articles to echoes today.


The exercises created from each Latin text are of two basic types: etymology and grammar.

The etymology exercises are designed to challenge a variety of skills, including familiarizing students with Latin prepositional prefixes, finding the root of a Latin word, and finding relationships between words in our Latin texts and their English derivatives. Such exercises are probably of particular interest to high-school students preparing for college entrance exams.

The grammar exercises range from relatively simple topics like noun-adjective agreement to more advanced grammatical topics like gerundives and the use of the subjunctive, as well as challenging reading-comprehension and translation exercises.

Indices and Glossaries

In order to help teachers and others interested specifically in the exercises, there is also an index of etymology topics and one of grammar topics which can be reached from the introductory page as well.

By choosing those routes, the teacher can find lessons designed to teach particular topics, for example “Case Usage” > “Dative with Compound Verbs.” These indices are largely complete and linked to the lessons they represent; naturally they will grow along with the exercise sets.

There is also a Subject Index (Index Rerum), which indexes the information from the historical introductions to the subjects under discussion and the biographical introductions to our authors. This index is text-searchable as well as browseable alphabetically or by category.

For example, a reader can choose “Controversies” from the list of categories, and will then find links to “Franciscan poverty controversy” and “Mendicant controversy,” both from the biography of Bonaventure. This feature should prove very helpful to teachers interested in the historical contents of the site, as it will allow them to find quickly information relevant to a topic of interest.

Another useful tool is the paleography terms glossary, which provides definitions of words that are used in the paleography discipline as well as links to exercises that explain those terms when applicable.

The index of works cited provides citations to sources that our encyclopedic authors often draw on, such as earlier works by Aristotle or Isidore of Seville. We have provided notes in the text directing the reader to the relevant passages from those works. The Works Cited index is designed to allow readers to find those texts, in book form or online, and translations where possible. Both the Index Rerum and the Works Cited are currently in the early stages of completion.

Finally, we have provided an Index of Images. This collection is made up of images amassed by our scholars during the course of their careers. It is also organized by slideshows so that the user can browse collections of images that relate to each other.