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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Classical Literature in Translation

Undergraduate Course: From Homer to Tragedy: Poetry and Performance in Archaic and Classical Greece (CLTR10021)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryArchaic and classical Greece was a world of song and performance: the texts which we read from books were composed for performance in a variety of situations, and numerous different kinds of occasion, from weddings to drinking parties to religious rituals, were regularly accompanied by song and often also dance. Considering texts in connection with performance is therefore important as a path to understanding these texts in their original context, and at the same time provides a way of considering important aspects of Greek societies from sexuality to religion and ritual to politics.
Course description This course will start (where else?) from Homer, and move through the texts of archaic and early classical 'song-culture', and may include study of early tragedy from the point of view of its performance and its links with pre-existing song-culture. Texts studied may include work by the seventh century iambic poet Archilochus, songs by Sappho of Lesbos, songs for drinking parties by Anacreon and others, and songs for choruses by poets such as Alcman, Simonides, Bacchylides, and Pindar.

Possible list of topics:
Week 1: Epic in performance, and performance in epic
Week 2: Proems: two Homeric Hymns
Week 3: Iambus in the archaic polis: Archilochus and Solon
Week 4: Choruses of Young Women
Week 5: Early Elegy: drinking, stories, histories?
Week 6: Sympotica
Week 7: Chorus and polis
Week 8: Epinician
Weeks 9-10: Poetry into Drama: Tragedy
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Classical Literature 2: Greek and Roman Epic (CLTR08008)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students should have passed 'Classical Literature 2: Greek and Roman Epic', or at the discretion of the Course Organiser.
Additional Costs The students will be asked to purchase some translations (maximum cost £25).
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 Classical Literature) at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.
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 that they have read a variety of poetic texts from archaic and classical Greece and have considered and studied the same in the light of contemporary scholarship, especially with regard to performance.
  2. Demonstrate informed engagement with scholarship on issues in archaic and classical poetry such as orality; genre; song-culture; sexuality and gender; chorality; politics of performance; the relation of tragedy to other aspects of Greek performance culture.
  3. Demonstrate enhanced skills in reading and analysing literary texts.
  4. Discuss a literary text with peers and an instructor.
  5. Describe and analyse a literary text and to conduct scholarly research about it, in written coursework and in exam conditions.
Reading List
Miller, A. M. trans. (1996) Greek Lyric: an anthology in translation. Indianapolis. [not in EUL]
West, M. L. (1993 and later eds.) Greek Lyric Poetry. Oxford.
Bowra, C. M. (1961, 2nd ed.) Greek Lyric Poetry: from Alcman to Simonides. Oxford.
Budelmann, F., ed. (2009) The Cambridge Companion to Greek Lyric. Cambridge.
Burnett, A. P. (2008) Pindar. London.
Gentili, B., trans. Cole (1988) Poetry and its Public in Ancient Greece. Baltimore MD.
Gerber, D. E., ed. (1997) Companion to the Greek Lyric Poets. Leiden.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
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 3582 in order for approval to be obtained.
KeywordsHomer to Tragedy
Course organiserDr Richard Rawles
Course secretaryMs Elaine Hutchison
Tel: (0131 6)50 3582
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