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

Undergraduate Course: Topic In Classical Literature 1 (CLTR10022)

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
SummaryThis course aims to introduce students to the study of a particular topic in Classical Literature, to be studied in English translation. The topic is chosen by the course organiser for each outing of the course.

For the year 2023-24 the subtitle for the course is 'The fall of the Roman republic, its protagonists, and their literary representations'. In this course students will engage with one of the most fascinating historical periods in Roman history, the transition from republic to principate, studying in English translation how the protagonists of these eventful years -- Caesar, Octavian, and their enemies and rivals -- were remembered in imperial literature.
Course description Selecting, appropriating and repurposing the past was at the core of Augustan ideology. The parade of the heroes in book 6 of the Aeneid (6.752-892), where Vergil links Augustus and his family to previous generations of exemplary Romans, should be understood in this perspective. Augustus' Forum was a place in which past and present conflated and culminated with the Caesars, emphasising the idea of a restored republic. But how did imperial authors remember events and historical figures whose memory was potentially problematic for the current regime? The course answers this question by thoroughly investigating how Augustan and post-Augustan authors portrayed those important protagonists of history whose connection to the traumatic events of the late republican civil wars gave them an ambiguous legacy, but whose memory and place in history could not be erased: 1) Augustus when he was Octavian and his relationship with Julius Caesar and his legacy, 2) the strenuous defenders of the traditional senatorial republic (Cato, Brutus and Cassius, Cicero) 3) and the rivals and potential alternatives to the Caesars (Pompeius and Marcus Antonius).

In the course students are trained to read the sources closely in the context both of the events they describe and of their composition. The historical development of the years following the late republican civil wars is seen through these figures' representation in early imperial literature, but also compared with their self-representation, as well as with their portrayals by their contemporaries. Students investigate republican sources such as Caesar, Cicero and Sallust, Augustan poets, the less known Tiberian sources such as Velleius Paterculus, Valerius Maximus and Seneca the Elder to arrive at Seneca and Lucan's poem; they will moreover explore the genre of biography with Plutarch and Suetonius. Students are exposed to a wide array of texts and are thus trained to think across literary genres, epochs and socio-cultural contexts and to deepen their knowledge of the various authors' style, themes and narrative techniques.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
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 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
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  18
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 60 %, Coursework 40 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework:
4000 word essay (40%)

Two hour exam (60%)
Feedback Students will typically give presentations with previous guidance and subsequent feedback from the course organiser, as well as feedback in discussion with peers; they will be encouraged to make appointments with the course organiser to discuss the direction and argument of their coursework; and they will receive written feedback on coursework essays which they will be able to discuss with the course organiser during their published office hours or by appointment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Show their familiarity with the set text(s), and their literary and historical context.
  2. Show their awareness of the particular problems associated with the set text(s) and of the modern debate on the text(s), and their ability to take an independent and well-argued stance on such issues.
  3. Show they are aware of the challenges of reading texts composed in the context of one language and culture through the medium of another language in a different cultural context.
  4. Conduct a sustained individual enquiry into a particular aspect of the topic.
Reading List
There is no predetermined reading list because the bibliography will change with each outing of the course depending on the chosen course topic.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The course is designed to develop the skills of the students in all areas listed under the Graduate attributes of the degree of MA in Classical Studies, including broad knowledge and understanding of ancient cultures and ancient literary genres, oral and written communication skills (esp. in class discussion and the essay), skills and abilities in personal effectiveness and in personal and intellectual autonomy (the completion of an individual argument-driven piece of research to schedule).
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.
KeywordsTopic Class Lit 1
Course organiserDr Viola Periti
Course secretaryMiss Sara Dennison
Tel: (0131 6)50 2501
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