By William Turpin

This text is intended primarily for readers with a basic knowledge of Latin, equivalent to perhaps a year of study at the college level, or for those whose Latin may be a bit rusty. The notes provide context for readers who may be unfamiliar with medieval Latin, medieval Ireland, or Christian institutions. I am a specialist in none of these areas and rely on the scholarly works cited in the bibliography. Particularly important is the 2014 edition of Giovanni Orlandi and Rossana E. Guglielmetti, which includes an Italian translation and detailed notes (this is not the same as their editio maior [2017], which is less useful to the non-specialist).

The Latin text is that of Carl Selmer (1959), revised in light of Orlandi and Guglielmetti (2014; 2017). I have added macrons and sometimes modified the punctuation. Most scholarship prior to 2014 relies on Selmer’s edition and the English translation of Selmer’s text by John O’Meara (1976).

Running vocabulary help is provided for Latin words not included in the Dickinson College Commentaries Latin Core Vocabulary (and some that are) unless the meaning and lexical details are easy to guess. Latin words are presumed to be classical Latin (CL) unless otherwise specified, though the meanings or forms are sometimes rare in classical Latin; I give citations from the Oxford Latin Dictionary (OLD), which ends its coverage in the second century CE. Latin words found in late Latin (usually from Christian texts) or medieval Latin are identified as LL and ML respectively. Late Latin words can be found in the old dictionary of Lewis and Short (available online at Logeion); medieval Latin words can often be found in the dictionary by Niemeyer, and in the Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources (DMLBS, also available on Logeion).

I am grateful to Carin Ruff, who first suggested the Navigatio as a text worth studying and has patiently answered my questions over the years. I am also grateful to a small group of Swarthmore alumni who have met with me online to translate and discuss the text, graciously abandoning Vergil to help me prepare this edition. Claire Pettit and Bruce Venarde (one of my latest and one of my first students, respectively) read through the entire manuscript and offered helpful corrections and suggestions. The students in the Dickinson Summer Latin program (2023) read the entire text with Chris Francese and me in about fifteen hours over five days, and made important improvements.  Above all I am grateful to Chris Francese and Meagan Ayer at DCC, for their careful attention to the details of editing and production.

Cover image: Otters, Unknown illuminator, about 1430–1440. Part of Livre de la Chasse by Gaston Phébus (French, 1331 - 1391). Tempera colors, gold paint, silver paint, and gold leaf. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. 27, fol. 29v, 87.MR.34.29v.