Text and Context: Roman Laughter (CLA1405)

StaffDr Sharon Marshall - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.50
NQF Level4
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

Students will learn how to analyse, evaluate and use texts and how to relate their style and content to the wider context of Roman literary culture.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Be able to analyse texts which put Roman humour on display
  • 2. Understand a variety of critical approaches possible in the study of classical literature and current trends in criticism

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Be able to use, analyse and evaluate ancient texts in relation to other sources and their socio-historical context

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 4. Develop basic academic and library skills as well as a critical ability in assessing published literature
  • 5. Demonstrate independent and group study skills in guided research and presentation of findings
  • 6. Demonstrate an ability to select and organise relevant material and to present this in oral and written form
  • 7. Be able to discuss issues in a peer group

Syllabus plan

Introduction: Theories of laughter

Comedy and rhetoric: Cicero’s In Pisonem

Epigram: Catullus and Martial

Phaedrus’ Fables

Satire: Horace,Juvenal and Persius

Laughter in visual material

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 and teaching2211 x 2 hour lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching55 x 1 hour seminars
Guided independent study123Independent study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Oral presentation 5-10 minutes1-8Written and verbal feedback

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
Essay302000 1-6, 8Mark, written and oral feedback
Exam702 hours1-6Mark, written and oral feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-6, 8August ref/def period
ExamExam1-6, 8August ref/def period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Catullus (a selection)

Phaedrus (Book 5)

Horace, Satires

Juvenal, Satires

Martial, Epigrams

Cicero, In Pisonem

Recommended Reading:

Fitzgerald, W. Martial: The World of the Epigram. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Freudenburg, K. ed. (2005) The Cambridge Companion to Roman Satire. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Henderson, J. (2001) Telling tales on Caesar: Roman Stories from Phaedrus. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Jäkel, S. and A. Timonen. eds. (1997) Laughter down the Centuries. Turku: Turun Yliopisto.

Sullivan, J. P. (1991) Martial: The Unexpected Classic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Key words search

Roman, Classics, Humour