Roman Myth (CLAM107)

StaffDr Sharon Marshall - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level7
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The aim of the module is to understand as much as possible of a range of stories whose vividness and exemplary power created the Romans' vision of their own past and has appealed to artists and writers throughout the centuries.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Detailed knowledge of the Romans' story-world, from both literary and iconographic sources.
  • 2. Insight into the way such stories were created, developed and exploited.
  • 3. Understanding of the reception of Roman stories, from the end of antiquity to the present.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Collation and analysis of widely different types of evidence, much of which is incomplete and ambiguous.
  • 5. Independent understanding of the relationship of myth to its cultural and historical context.
  • 6. Critical reflection on the origins, development and significance of traditional stories in one's own and another culture.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Compilation of bibliography, conduct of research, and word-processing.
  • 8. Independent analysis of written and visual sources and secondary literature.
  • 9. Construction and defence of a sustained argument (both written and oral).
  • 10. Collaboration with instructor and peers in a constructive and responsive way.
  • 11. Confidence and clarity in oral and written communication.

Syllabus plan

  • Contexts for Roman myth-making
  • Legends of the annalistic tradition
  • Myth and history in Ovid’s Fasti
  • The reception of Roman myth

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities15Intensive seminar and reading group teaching
Guided independent study135Students working independently & in groups in preparation for seminars and essays

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay804000 words1-11mark; written and oral comment
Oral Presentation2020-25 mins1-11mark; written and oral comment

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-11Refer/defer period
PresentationEssay1-11Refer/defer period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Set texts:

Diodorus Siculus. Library of History. Trans. C.H. Oldfather. Cambridge, MA, 1933-1967; repr. 1989. (Loeb Classical Library).

Dionysius of Halicarnassus. Roman Antiquities. Trans. E. Cary. Cambridge, MA, 1937-1950; repr. 1984. (Loeb Classical Library).

Livy. The Rise of Rome: Books 1-5. Trans. T.J. Luce. Oxford, 1998. (Oxford World's Classics).

Ovid. Times and Reasons: A New Translation of the Fasti . Trans. A. and P. Wiseman. Oxford, 2012.

Plutarch. Makers of Rome. Trans. I. Scott-Kilvert. London, 1965; repr. 2004. (Penguin Classics).

Valerius Maximus. Memorable Doings and Sayings. Trans. D.R. Shackleton Bailey. Cambridge, MA, 2000. (Loeb Classical Library).

Virgil. The Aeneid. Trans. D. West. Revised edition. London, 2003. (Penguin Classics).


Further reading:

Bremmer, J.N., and N.M. Horsfall. Roman Myth and Mythography. London, 1987.

Chaplin, J. Livy's Exemplary History. Oxford, 1999.

Feeney, D. Literature and Religion at Rome: Cultures, Contexts, and Beliefs. Cambridge, 1998. ________. Caesar's Calendar: Ancient Time and the Beginnings of History. Sather Classical Lectures, 65. Berkeley, 2007.

Flower, H. Ancestor masks and Aristocratic Power in Roman Culture. Oxford, 1996.

Cornell, T.J. The Beginnings of Rome: Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars (c. 1000-264 BC). London, 1995.

Fox, M. Roman Historical Myths. The Regal Period in Augustan Literature. Oxford, 1996.

Gabba, E. Dionysius and the History of Archaic Rome. Berkeley, 1991.

Galinsky, G.K. Aeneas, Sicily, and Rome. Princeton, 1969.

Herbert-Brown, G. (ed.). Ovid's Fasti: Historical Readings at its Bimillenium. Oxford; New York, 2002.

Kraus, C.S., and A.J. Woodman. Latin Historians. Greece and Rome New Surveys in the Classics, 27. Oxford, 1997.

Morford, M.P.O., and R.J. Lenardon, Classical Mythology. 9th ed. Oxford, 2010.

Ogilvie, R.M. A Commentary on Livy. Books 1-5. Oxford, 1965.

Scullard, H.H. Festivals and Ceremonies of the Roman Republic. Ithaca, NY, 1981.

Wiseman, T.P., Clio's Cosmetics. Three Studies in Greco-Roman Literature. Bristol, 1979.

________. Remus: A Roman Myth. Cambridge, 1995.

________. Roman Drama and Roman History. Exeter, 1998.

 ________. The Myths of Rome. Exeter, 2004.

 ________.Unwritten Rome. Exeter, 2008.

________. Remembering the Roman People: Essays on Late-Republican Politics and Literature. Oxford, 2009

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Available as distance learning?


Origin date

Feb 2013

Last revision date


Key words search

Roman Myth, Ovid