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

Undergraduate Course: Roman Tragedy (CLTR10031)

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
SummaryLatin literature was born in 240 BC when, for the first time in Rome's history, drama was performed publicly and recorded in writing. From there onwards, Roman tragedy in particular enjoyed a steady popularity and became a prominent feature of Rome's cultural landscape. In this course, we will trace the development of Roman tragedy from its birth to its death (or, rather, disappearance), that is from the fragments of the early tragedians to the only complete Latin tragedies written by Seneca the Younger and the last extant and complete example of the genre, the Octavia.
Course description We will study, in translation, the tragic fragments of Rome's earliest tragedians Livius Andronicus, Gnaeus Naevius, Quintus Ennius, Marcus Pacuvius and Lucius Accius and familiarise ourselves with the methodical challenges of reading and interpreting fragments. The greater part of the course will be dedicated to Seneca's tragedies, the only tragedies in Latin that have survived intact. We will read 6 of his tragedies (out of 8 surviving tragedies): Phaedra, Oedipus, Medea, Trojan Women, Hercules Furens, Thyestes. To give a well-rounded picture of Roman tragedy, we will also study the only fabula praetexta that has survived in full: the Octavia, which was penned by an anonymous author.

The wide range of texts will provide students with a good understanding of the genre and familiarise them with the different historical and social circumstances in which they were written and performed. Seminars will aim to stimulate critical debate beyond the texts and to engage the students with broader questions about ethics, politics and gender. Students will further develop their close reading skills as well as their ability to understand abstract concepts and to process complex information.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass in Classical Literature 2: Greek and Roman Epic (CLTR08008), or equivalent experience at the discretion of the Course Organiser.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should usually have at least 3 courses in Classics, History or Archaeology 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
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  30
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework:
1,500 word Literary Commentary (30%)
1,000 word Literature Review (20%)
3,500 word Essay (50%)
Feedback Students will receive feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser during their published office hours for this course or by appointment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. reflect critically on the set text(s), and their literary and historical context.
  2. analyse and reflect critically upon the particular problems associated with the set text(s) and of the modern debate on the text(s), and to take an independent and well-argued stance on such issues.
  3. understand 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 in a research-led, argument-driven coursework essay and develop the skill to analyse material and textual sources for the ancient world in a written form.
Reading List
Key texts:
- Fragmentary Republican Latin II. Edited and translated by S. Goldberg and G. Manuwald, Harvard 2018.
- Remains of Old Latin. Livius Andronicus, Naevius, Pacuvius, Accius. Edited and translated by E. H. Warmington, Harvard 1936.
- Seneca. Six tragedies. A new translation by E. Wilson, Oxford 2010.

- Boyle, A.J. (1997). Tragic Seneca. An Essay in the Tragic Tradition, London.
- Boyle, A.J. (2006). Introduction to Roman Tragedy, London.
- Conte, G.B. (1994). Latin literature. A history. Translated by J. Solodow, revised by D. Fowler and G. Most, Baltimore.
- Littlewood, C. (2004). Self-representation and Illusion in Senecan Tragedy, Oxford.
- Manuwald, G. (2011). Roman Republican Theatre, Cambridge.
- McDonald, M. and Walton, M. (eds.) (2007). The Cambridge Companion to Greek and Roman Theatre, Cambridge.
- Schiesaro, A. (2003). The Passions at Play. Thyestes and the Dynamics of Senecan Drama, Cambridge.
- Trinacty, C. (2014). Senecan Tragedy and the Reception of Augustan Poetry, Oxford.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Thorough understanding of Roman tragedy and various tragedies

Close reading and critical evaluation of demanding texts

Ability to express an informed opinion and to communicate effectively with audiences of peers and experienced scholars

Capacity to produce tight, well-evidenced and clearly expressed arguments in written form

Ability to evaluate and synthesize scholarly debates

Time-management skills
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Janja Soldo
Tel: (0131 6)50 3873
Course secretaryMr Pete Bingham
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