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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 2020–21.

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

 

Course descriptions

ELEMENTS OF LATIN LITERATURE

DR C SCHEIDEGGER LAEMMLE
(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 1

DR J PATTERSON
(4 L: Michaelmas, weeks 5–8)

The passages of the speech designated for particular study are In Catilinam 1.1-5, 11-19, 25-33, but in the lectures we will be looking at the whole of In Catilinam 1 as a piece of oratory, as well as examining the Catilinarian Conspiracy of 63 BC from both political and socio-economic points of view. Read the texts of all four of Cicero's In Catilinam speeches in English beforehand, along with Sallust's Catiline.

Introductory reading: M. Beard, SPQR: a history of ancient Rome (2015), chapter 1, and B. Levick, Catiline (2015).

 

OVID, METAMORPHOSES 3

DR I GILDENHARD
(4 L: Lent, weeks 5–8)

An introduction to the most ambitious of Ovid's works – the enchanting, violent and often hilarious world of the Metamorphoses. The lectures will look at the entire poem, with special attention to book III, untangling the opening portion of Ovid’s Theban narrative, which features such iconic figures as Actaeon, Semele, Narcissus and Echo, and Dionysus. Read the text with A.A.R Henderson’s commentary (and, for lines 511-733, the commentary by Gildenhard and Zissos) and read the whole poem in translation beforehand.

 

AUGUSTUS, RES GESTAE

DR I GILDENHARD ET AL
(4 L: Easter, weeks 1–2)

Res Gestae Rome’s first emperor tells us what to make of him, dead and deified.  Here is a first person Latin text that images Roman power in prose. For the text as transcribed from the inscriptions in stone, see the edition by R. Wallace Res Gestae Divi Augusti (Bolchazy-Carducci); for historical detail consult A.E. Cooley,Res Gestae Diui Augusti (CUP, 2009).

 

CATULLUS, A SELECTION

DR D BUTTERFIELD
(4 L: Easter, weeks 1-2)

In these lectures we shall explore the life and poetry of C. Valerius Catullus, the poet who lived in the turbulent years preceding the fall of the Roman Republic, and who was so influential on subsequent poetry. He is perhaps best known for his ups and downs with Lesbia, but his poems are also populated by a cast of characters through whom we learn what it means to be included in (or excluded from) Rome’s smart set. Topics of focus will include Catullus’ relationships with men and women and his attitudes towards poetry and politics. The prescribed poems are 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 15, 29, 32, 35, 48, 50, 51, 58, 70, 72, 75, 83, 85, 87, 100, 101. Read them with John Godwin, Catullus: the shorter poems (Warminster 1999), a volume which includes Latin text, translation and commentary.

 

ROMAN PHILOSOPHY

PROF. J WARREN
(2 L: Michaelmas, weeks 3-4)

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

 

INTRODUCTION TO ROMAN HISTORY

DR J PATTERSON
(4 L: 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

PROF. M BEARD
(4 L: Lent, weeks 1–4)

A key factor in Rome’s transition from Republic to Principate was her ever-expanding empire. Complementing Dr Weisweiler’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)

Archaeology is the study of past civilizations through the material record and it is based on the notion that the relationship between people and objects is always meaningful. The Romans left behind a uniquely extensive, varied and rich array of material culture, whose interpretation can help illuminate fundamental aspects of their civilization, providing a more comprehensive view than would be possible by relying on written evidence alone. This course will introduce students to the informative potential and limitations of archaeological evidence, discussing some specific classes of Roman material culture (amphorae, coins and marbles) and their impact on our understanding of the Roman world.

Preliminary readings: I. Hodder and S. Hutson (2003), Reading the Past (Cambridge) [1-19]; S. Alcock and R. Osborne (eds.) (2012), Classical Archaeology, 2nd ed. (Oxford) [Roman chapters].

 

INTRODUCTION TO LATIN PHILOLOGY

DR P 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: James Clackson and Geoffrey Horrocks, Blackwell History of the Latin Language (Blackwell, 2007).

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