Classical Language and Texts: Greek V: Epic (CLA3270)
|Staff||Dr Nicolo' D'Alconzo - Lecturer|
Professor Matthew Wright -
|Pre-requisites||Classical Language and Texts: Greek IV or equivalent|
|Duration of Module||Term 1: 11 weeks; Term 2: 11 weeks;|
The module aims to produce advanced understanding of the language, style and significance of Greek epic by close study of selected works in the original Greek. The prescribed texts include portions of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey as well as a representative selection of fragments from the Greek Epic Cycle. Emphasis will be placed not just on close reading of the Greek texts but also on the historical, literary and social context that gave rise to epic poetry.
Through detailed study of the prescribed texts, commentaries and secondary literature (and also through more extensive reading of the entire Iliad and Odyssey in translation), students will also be encouraged to engage with broader questions about the epic genre, such as: who was Homer? How did the Iliad and Odyssey come to be written? How do these epics relate to the world that produced them? What do they have to say about heroism, religion, society, power, personal relationships, ethics, the nature of the world, and the human condition? What are the main characteristics of oral poetry? What can we know about the other, ‘cylic’ Greek epics, and how do they relate to Homeric epic?
ILO: Module-specific skills
- 1. demonstrate a detailed knowledge of the language, style and content of the texts studied
- 2. describe in detail and provide an advanced analysis of the form and significance of the genre of Greek epic
ILO: Discipline-specific skills
- 3. demonstrate advanced linguistic mastery of ancient Greek
- 4. enhanced critical and interpretative skills
- 5. the ability to locate literary texts in their cultural context
ILO: Personal and key skills
- 6. show a capacity for sustained independent analysis of literary texts in a foreign (ancient) language
- 7. capacity to discuss the content and form of these texts with peers and instructor
22 two-hour seminars, with instructor and students exploring closely the Greek texts and their significance. Seminars concentrating on important passages taken from texts/fragments, with instructor and students sharing in translation, interpretation and discussion.
Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities||Guided independent study||Placement / study abroad|
Details of learning activities and teaching methods
|Category||Hours of study time||Description|
|Scheduled learning and teaching||44||22 x 2 hour seminars (one per week)|
|Guided independent study||256||Private study|
Summative assessment (% of credit)
|Coursework||Written exams||Practical exams|
Details of summative assessment
|Form of assessment||% of credit||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Exam||60||3 hours||1-7||Mark and written or verbal comments|
|Essay 1||20||3,000 words||1-7||Mark, written comments and verbal feedback session|
|Essay 2||20||3,000 words||1-7||Mark, written comments and verbal feedback session|
Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)
|Original form of assessment||Form of re-assessment||ILOs re-assessed||Timescale for re-assessment|
|Exam||Exam||1-7||August refer/defer period|
|Essays||Essays||1-7||August refer/defer period|
Indicative learning resources - Basic reading
Homer, Iliad III (ed. J.T. Hooker, Bristol Classical Press/Bloomsbury)
Homer, Iliad XXIV (ed. C. Macleod, Cambridge University Press)
Homer, Odyssey VI-VIII (ed. A. Garvie, Cambridge University Press)
Selected fragments of Oedipodeia, Thebaid, Epigoni, Cypria, Aethiopis, Little Iliad, Sack of Ilion, Nostoi: in M.L. West (ed.), Greek Epic Fragments (Loeb Classical Library).
A detailed reading schedule, including a complete list of fragments to be studied and a full secondary bibliography, will be provided by the module lecturer.
Selected further reading:
M. Davies, The Greek Epic Cycle (Bristol, 1989).
I. De Jong, A Narratological Commentary on the Odyssey (Cambridge, 2001).
M.L. Edwards, Homer, Poet of the Iliad (Baltimore, 1987).
M.I. Finley, The World of Odysseus (London, 1978).
T. Gantz, Early Greek Myth (Baltimore, 1993).
J. Griffin, ‘The Epic Cycle and the Uniqueness of Homer’, JHS 97 (1977), 39-53.
R. Rutherford, Homer (Greece and Rome New Surveys: revised edition, Cambridge, 2013).
O.P. Taplin, Homeric Soundings (Oxford, 1992).
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Last revision date
Key words search
Greek poetry epic literature