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

Undergraduate Course: Lucretius, 'De rerum natura' (LATI10022)

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 is devoted to Lucretius' didactic poem De rerum natura. The text will be read partly in Latin and partly in English translation.
Course description We will work our way through most of the 6 book poem over the term. The text will be read partly in Latin and partly in English translation. The lecture topics given below are meant as an illustration, but may vary from year to year.

Week 1: Introduction: Didactic poetry: Hesiod, Empedocles and Cicero's Aratea
Week 2: Introduction to Epicurus: Epicurean epistemology
Week 3: Atoms and void
Week 4: Book 1 as a whole, poetry and philosophy
Week 5: Epicurean ethics; Proem of book 2
Week 6: The mortal soul.
Week 7: The fear of death.
Week 8: Cosmology and critique of teleology
Week 9: Primitive man
Week 10: Civilization and its consequences
Week 11: Book 6 and the plague; recap of key issues: poetry and philosophy
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: ( Latin 2A (LATI08011) OR Latin 2a Ex-Beginners (LATI08013)) 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
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  23
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:
3000 word essay (40%)

Two-hour exam (60%)

Part-Year Visiting Student (VV1) Variant Assessment:
If this course runs in the first semester - Semester 1 (only) visiting students will be examined in the December exam diet.
Feedback Students will receive written feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further 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. demonstrate, in class discussion and by way of coursework and examination as required, knowledge of Latin, of Lucretian hexameter and of various Lucretian styles;
  2. demonstrate, in class discussion and by way of coursework and examination as required, 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, in class discussion and by way of coursework and examination as required, awareness of the central interpretative trends and issues relating to the poem in modern scholarship;
  4. demonstrate, in class discussion and by way of coursework and examination as required, the ability to develop and sustain scholarly arguments, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
  5. demonstrate, in class discussion and by way of coursework and examination as required, 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.

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, ed. by (Cambridge 1971; repr.)

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 1998)
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 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 3580/3582 in order for approval to be obtained.
Course organiserDr Donncha O'Rourke
Tel: (0131 6)50 3771
Course secretaryMiss Sara Dennison
Tel: (0131 6)50 2501
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