Text and Context: Flavian Rome through the eyes of Martial and Statius (CLA1409)
The vast Flavian Amphitheatre or "Colosseum" is one of ancient Rome's best known landmarks. Its grand opening in 80 CE was celebrated with an extraordinary series of spectacular shows - brutal, exotic, extravagant, bloodthirsty and stunning – which are vividly described by contemporaries Martial and Statius, rival poets in a society where poetry had a vital political and social function. This module analyses a selection of Statius' and Martial's writings to explore their vibrant picture of Roman life in the late first century: from awe-struck flattery of the emperor to obscene satirising of the urban lowlifes hanging out in the public baths, from luxurious beachside villas to dirty tenement blocks, from drunken dinner parties to imperial road building. Students on this module will also benefit from the format of cumulative assignments and feedback specially designed to support the development of their skills in writing, analysis and argument.