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

Undergraduate Course: Greek Pastoral Poetry (GREE10037)

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) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course will principally examine Theocritus' Idylls, short bucolic poems which are revolutionary in their recreation of literary traditions and genres. The course will focus on close reading and discussion of the majority of the Theocritean corpus, and will include a small selection of material from the similarly innovative but subsequent authors Moschus and Bion.
Course description Greek Pastoral Poetry is principally represented by the third-century CE Sicilian poet Theocritus, a brilliantly artful author who worked in Alexandria in an era (3rd century CE) of intense literary creation and innovation, and who had a very significant impact upon later authors such as Virgil and Longus. This course will uncover the origins and development of bucolic poetry as a genre, within which the traditional view of Theocritus as founder of the genre will be situated. The majority of the Idylls will be read and discussed in detail, with particular attention paid to the cultural context of Ptolemaic Alexandria, the representation and implications of patronage, the presenceand functionof lower literary registers such as mime, and in particular the non-elite and female voices in the poems. Students will engage in close reading of (principally) Greek hexameter poetry in Doric dialect, and will develop their knowledge of literary genre and generic hybridity, their reading and understanding of programme in poetry and above all their ability to recognise and relate intertextuality. Shorter excerpts of later Hellenistic poets Moschus and Bion will also be read.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: ( Greek 2A (GREE08007) OR Greek 2a Ex-Beginners (GREE08009)) AND Greek 2B (GREE08008)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Purchase of key text
Hunter, Richard. Theocritus: A Selection. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1999. (£23)
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture 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: 3,500 word Essay (40%)
Exam: 2 hour Degree Examination (60%)
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. demonstrate increased competence in core skills in the study of the Ancient Greek Language, including increased familiarity with non-Attic Greek dialects and greater confidence and speed in the reading of Greek hexameter poetry of a prescription more substantial than that read in pre-honours years
  2. exhibit detailed knowledge of the development of generic and literary trends in Greek poetry and understand the impact of cultural and political change on the production of literary output in the Hellenistic period
  3. evaluate and apply recent critical debates in the study of Alexandrian poetry
  4. demonstrate the ability to reflect critically on a variety of critical and methodological approaches to the study of ancient poetry, including intertextuality, theories about gender representation and poetic encoding
  5. produce accurate translations of Greek poetry into English prose
Reading List
Dover, Kenneth J. Theocritus: Select Poems. Bristol: Bristol Classical Press, 1971.
Gow, A. S. F., ed. Bucolici Graeci. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1952.
Gow, A. S. F. Theocritus. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1952.
Hunter, Richard. Theocritus: A Selection. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
Hunter, Richard. Theocritus and the Archaeology of Greek Poetry. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
Gutzwiller, Kathryn J. Theocritus' Pastoral Analogies. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1991.
Harder, M. A., R. F. Regtuit, and G. C. Wakker, eds. Theocritus. Hellenistica Grongingana 2. Groningen: Forsten, 1996.
Payne, Mark. Theocritus and the Invention of Fiction. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
Rosenmeyer, Thomas G. The Green Cabinet. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969.
Fantuzzi, Marco. "Theocritus and the Bucolic Genre." In Tradition and Innovation in Hellenistic Poetry, edited by Marco Fantuzzi and Richard Hunter, 133-190. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
Segal, Charles. Poetry and Myth in Ancient Pastoral. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1981.
Verity, Anthony, and Richard Hunter. trans. Theocritus, Idylls. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - engage in analytical and evaluative thinking about texts and modes of interpretation; increase their independence in judging the relevance of trends in interpretations to the issues in question;
- form clear judgements on the basis of primary evidence;
- formulate clear arguments based on classical subject matter and to present the results clearly both orally in a classroom setting and in writing in summative coursework;
- organise their work, conduct research independently, write and think under pressure and meet deadlines.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Calum MacIver
Tel: (0131 6)50 3582
Course secretaryMiss Sara Dennison
Tel: (0131 6)50 2501
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