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

Undergraduate Course: Lucretius in Translation (CLTR10027)

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
SummaryLucretius' De Rerum Natura, a Latin six-book didactic epic on Epicureanism from the first century BCE, is one of the most influential works from Classical antiquity. Lucretius' epic uses sublime poetic imagery to spread the atomist gospel of his Greek master Epicurus, and combines a promise of human happiness in the here and now with a passionate denunciation of religious superstition. The text will be read in English translation.
Course description We will work our way through the whole poem in the W. H. D.Rouse/M. F. Smith Loeb English translation. In parallel with our progress through the text, in the order of exposition devised by Lucretius, the lectures will provide background material on ancient Epicureanism (scientific method, cosmology, Epicurean ethics, theology, theories of culture), the traditions of ancient didactic poetry (Hesiod, Empedocles, Aratus and Cicero's own translation of Aratus), Lucretius' adaption of his material to his Roman audience, including his choice of examples from current Roman life and his borrowing and reworking of Ennius' archaic Latinpoetic form.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Lucretius, 'De rerum natura' (LATI10022)
Other requirements This course is available to all students who have progressed to Honours.

For the students outside Classics e.g. Philosophy, students should ideally have taken one of the Classics first year courses e.g. Roman World 1B or, alternatively, courses with some related philosophical content e.g. Greats, but final admission is at discretion of course organiser.
Additional Costs Course texts
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should usually have at least 3 courses in Classics at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.

** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Discuss and contextualize in an informed manner select passages in English translation from Lucretius' epic.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the outlines of Epicureanism and of the genre of ancient didactic poetry; familiarity with the internal structure of the De rerum natura and its central themes and arguments.
  3. Demonstrate awareness of the central modern interpretative trends and issues relating to the poem in modern scholarship.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to develop and sustain scholarly arguments, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence.
  5. Demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers.
Reading List
W. H. D. Rouse & M. F. Smith (Loeb) Lucretius,De Rerum Natura (London and Cambridge, Mass.1975)
Bailey, C.: Titi Lvcreti Cari De rervm natvra libri sex, ed. with prolegomena, critical apparatus, translation, and commentary 3 vols. (Oxford, 1947)
E. J. Kenney, Lucretius, De Rerum Natura Book 3 (Cambridge 1971; 2nded.2010) Studies and collections of articles
Algra, K.A. et al. edd., Lucretius and his Intellectual Background (Amsterdam 1997)
Clay, D. Lucretius and Epicurus (Ithaca/London 1983)
Clay, D. Paradosis and survival: three chapters in the history of Epicurean philosophy (Ann Arbor
Furley, D. J. Lucretius and the Stoics. Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 13 (1966) 13-33
Gale M.R. ed., Oxford Readings in Classical Studies. Lucretius (Oxford 2007)
Gigon, O., ed. Lucrèce, Entretiens 24 (Fondation Hardt, Geneva, 1978)
Gillespie, S. and Hardie, H. edd. The Cambridge Companion to Lucretius (Cambridge 2007)
Sedley, D. Lucretius and the Transformation of Greek Wisdom (Cambridge 1998)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills On completion of this course, the student will be able to:

demonstrate an awareness of perennial philosophical questions, such as the foundations of ethics, the possibility and methods of knowledge, ancient physics (atomism and other schools) and specific topics in ancient cosmology and theology

demonstrate historical sensitivity with respect to the contextualization and interpretation of ancient philosophical ideas and doctrines and an appreciation of historical source-criticism

demonstrate an ability to read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship and to develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;

demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Benjamin Harriman
Tel: (0131 6)50 9110
Course secretaryMiss Marketa Vejskalova
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