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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Latin

Undergraduate Course: Seneca Tragicus (LATI10034)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryLucius Annaeus Seneca (ca. 1 BCE - 65 CE) was not only an orator, statesman, philosopher, and an author of philosophical essays, but also a brilliant playwright, whose tragedies exercised a powerful influence over the Renaissance theatres of Italy, France, and Elizabethan England. The course examines Seneca's plays in their historical, literary, and intellectual contexts. Particular attention is paid to Seneca's transformation of Greek models, political background, the role of Stoic philosophy, and the history of reception of Seneca's plays in Europe.
Course description The course will consist primarily of reading and discussion classes centring on selected tragedies by Seneca. Two or more plays will be read in Latin, depending on the selection made by the lecturer in any given cycle, and further works of Senecan tragedy (including plays of disputed authorship) will be consulted in translation. Attention will be given, inter alia, to questions of performability, literary models and intertextuality, intersections with Stoic philosophy, ideology and politics, and reception in Renaissance and Elizabethan theatre. The eleven-week schedule will normally take the following form:

Week 1: Introduction: Senecan tragedy and Stoic philosophy
Weeks 2-5: Text 1 (e.g. Seneca, Phaedra): reading and discussion classes
Week 6: Renaissance and Elizabethan reception
Weeks 7-10: Text 2 (e.g. Seneca, Agamemnon): reading and discussion classes
Week 11: Conclusion and overview
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Latin 2A (LATI08011) AND Latin 2B (LATI08012)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should usually have at least 3 courses in Classics related subject matter (at least 2 of which should be in Latin) at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses but Elementary or Intermediate Latin courses will not count. Students beyond Intermediate level but with less Latin than the prerequisite should consider taking either Latin 2A/2B.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate, through coursework assignments, oral presentation and tutorial discussion and written examination the ability to translate fluently and accurately from the prescribed texts into clear and appropriate English
  2. demonstrate, through coursework assignments, oral presentation and tutorial discussion and written examination knowledge of the principal features of Senecan tragedy
  3. demonstrate, through coursework assignments, oral presentation and tutorial discussion and written examination the ability to translate and comment critically on passages of the prescribed texts, and to relate these to the wider literary and historical framework
  4. demonstrate, through coursework assignments, oral presentation and tutorial discussion and written examination command of the principal approaches to Senecan tragedy, and understanding of how these have developed over time
  5. demonstrate, through coursework assignments, oral presentation and tutorial discussion and written examination produce problem-oriented, well-researched, and well-argued coursework essays on specific aspects of Seneca's work and Roman intellectual history
Reading List
Billerbeck, M. (ed.) (2004) Sénèque le tragique. Vandoeuvres, Genève.
Boyle, A.J. (1997) Tragic Seneca. An Essay in the Theatrical Tradition. London.
Boyle, A.J. (2006) Roman Tragedy (London and New York 2006)
Braden, G. (1985) Renaissance Tragedy and the Senecan Tradition. Anger's Privilege. New Haven.
Griffin, M.T. (1976, repr. 2003) Seneca, a Philosopher in Politics. Oxford.
Pratt, N.T. (1983) Seneca's Drama. Chapel Hill.
Rosenmeyer, T.J. (1989) Senecan Drama and Stoic Cosmology. Berkeley.
Schiesaro, A. (1994) 'Seneca's Thyestes and the morality of tragic furor', in J. Elsner and J. Masters (edd.), Reflections of Nero. Culture, History and Representation. London. 196-210.
Schiesaro, A. (2003) The Passions in Play: Thyestes and the Dynamics of Senecan Drama. Cambridge.
Tarrant, R. (1978) 'Senecan Drama and its Antecedents', HSCP 82: 213-263.
Tarrant, R. (1995) 'Greek and Roman in Seneca's Tragedies', HSCP 97: 215-230.
Volk, K. and Williams, G.D. (eds.) (2006) Seeing Seneca Whole. Perspectives on Philosophy, Poetry and Politics. Leiden.
Zwierlein, O. (1966) Die Rezitationsdramen Senecas. Meisenheim am Glan.

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will demonstrate in written work and in examinations that they can:
- make judicious use of dictionaries, commentaries, works of reference, critical studies, and modern translations
- gather material independently on a given topic and organise it into a coherent data set;
- compare differing sets of data from varying situations and draw conclusions from them;
- evaluate different approaches to and explanations of material, and make critical choices between them;
- express clearly ideas and arguments, both orally and in writing;
- organise complex and lengthy sets of arguments and draw these together into a coherent conclusion;
- organise their own learning, manage their workload and work to a timetable
Special Arrangements In order for a student from outwith Classics to be enrolled on this course, contact must be made with a Course Secretary on 50 3580 in order for approval to be obtained.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Donncha O'Rourke
Tel: (0131 6)50 3771
Course secretaryMrs Toni Wigglesworth
Tel: (0131 6)50 3580
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