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Paper 3: Portfolio of two essays

Aims and objectives

  1. To introduce the linguistic, literary, material and intellectual culture of Roman antiquity.
  2. To set the learning of the Latin language in its historical, social and cultural context.
  3. To develop the students' skills as readers and interpreters of Roman culture and society.
  4. To develop the students' essay writing skills.

Scope and structure of the examination 2016–17

Students submit a portfolio of two essays completed in the course of Easter Full Term.

 

Course descriptions

ELEMENTS OF LATIN LITERATURE

DR S CHOMSE
(4 L: Michaelmas, weeks 1–4)

These sessions will map and interrelate the classic Roman texts in terms of historical context and literary genre, featuring sample passages of prose and poetry. Susanna Braund Latin Literature (2002) and Oliver Taplin (ed.) Latin Literature in the Roman World (2000) make a lively introduction.

 

CICERO, IN CATILINAM I

DR P C MILLETT
(4 L: Michaelmas, weeks 5–8)

These lectures will reflect on the importance of, and background to, the Catilinarian conspiracy – both as an historical event and an oratorical/textual moment. Can we get to the “truth” behind Cicero’s speeches? Why did they become the most famous Roman speeches ever? Why is “Quousque tandem …” still used as a political slogan?

 

OVID, METAMORPHOSES 4

DR E GIUSTI
(4 L: Lent, weeks 3–6)

An introduction to the most ambitious of Ovid's works – the enchanting, violent and often hilarious world of the Metamorphoses. The lectures will read book IV in detail, untangling a complex web of stories, from the the tragicomedy of Pyramus and Thisbe to the gender fusion of Salmacis and Hermaphroditus to the legendary heroism of Perseus. Read the text with Dr Omitowoju’s commentary and read the whole poem in translation beforehand.

 

CAESAR, BELLUM GALLICUM 4 AND 5

DR S CHOMSE
(4 L: Easter, weeks 1–2)

Julius Caesar, perhaps the most influential man in the history of Rome and its empire, had interests that stretched beyond the battlefield. He was a celebrated writer of Latin prose narrative who sought not only to portray his own military exploits in a favourable light but also to achieve an elegant and engaging literary style. His seven-book Gallic Wars covers seven years of his military campaigns in Western Europe in the 50s B.C. These two sections of Books 4 and 5 from that work describe Caesar's two remarkable assaults on Britain in 55 and 54 B.C.: did he bite off more than he could chew? Questions of broader significance will be considered: why did Caesar write such a work, and why in the third-person? Can he be treated as a trustworthy source? Is there more to these accounts than meets the eye? Use the text in D.A. John, Caesar’s Expedition to Britain (Bristol Classical Press, 1991).

 

CATULLUS, A SELECTION

DR D JOLOWICZ
(4 L: Easter, weeks 3–4)

Here is Rome’s most famous love-poet. We shall look at what he says about love and hate, what is innovative and influential in his poetry, and what it meant to be smart and sophisticated. In general, we will consider how Catullus fits into the Roman society of his day. Edition to use: John Godwin, Catullus: the Shorter Poems (Aris and Phillips).

 

ROMAN PHILOSOPHY

DR J I WARREN
(2 L: Michaelmas)

An introduction to philosophical writing at Rome, with a particular focus on Lucretius, Cicero and Seneca.

 

INTRODUCTION TO ROMAN HISTORY

DR R E FLEMMING
(4 C: Michaelmas, weeks 1–4)

This course provides an outline of Rome’s political, social and cultural development from the foundation of the city into the early imperial period. The formation, working, and then unravelling of the Republican system, of the Roman Republican state and society, will be the focus of these classes, to provide some historical context for the texts to be studied, but these changes will also be placed within a wider timeframe, a wider set of circumstances and contingencies.

Introductory reading: M. Beard & M.H. Crawford, Rome in the Late Republic (2nd edn, London, 1999); D. M. Gwynn, The Roman Republic: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2012).

 

INTRODUCTION TO ROMAN HISTORY

DR H WILLEY
(4 C: Lent, weeks 1–4)

A key factor in Rome’s transition from Republic to Principate was her ever-expanding empire. Complementing Dr Flemming’s Michaelmas lectures, in this course that empire takes centre stage. What factors (political, cultural, social and military) drove Roman imperialism? How and why did it work? What changed from Republic to Principate in the discourse and practicalities of empire? In addition to exploring these questions, this course will also provide an introduction to some of the historical issues that arise from the Catullus and Caesar texts to be read in Easter Term.

Introductory reading: G. Woolf, Rome: an empire’s story (2012); A. Lintott, Imperium Romanum: politics and administration (1993).

 

INTRODUCTION TO ROMAN MATERIAL CULTURE

DR A LAUNARO
(4 L: Michaelmas, weeks 5–8)

These four sessions will introduce you to the study of material evidence for the Roman world. Through an examination of various types of artefact, from buildings to everyday objects, we will explore the contributions of archaeology to understanding the classical past.

Suggested introductory reading: K. Greene, Archaeology: An Introduction (2002).

 

INTRODUCTION TO LATIN PHILOLOGY

DR P M STEELE
(4 L: Lent, weeks 5–8)

A brief introduction to the formal and systematic study of language. We will look at the origin and history of the Latin language and the Latin alphabet, as well as thinking about some ways in which the modern discipline of linguistics can be applied to the study of Latin. This will include a consideration of some literary and non-literary texts, and you may find the lectures helpful to your language-learning, and historically interesting, even if you are not intending to take the study of linguistics further. Previous experience of linguistics is NOT expected.

Suggested introductory reading: J. Clackson and G. Horrocks, Blackwell History of the Latin Language (Blackwell, 2007).

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