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An Introduction to Greek & Latin Literatures - ENG00113I

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  • Department: English and Related Literature
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Jane Raisch
  • Credit value: 30 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module summary

This module will be a dynamic introduction to the varied, vast, and influential world of ancient Greece and Rome. We’ll consider the foundational authors and figures who have shaped the legacy of classical antiquity – Homer, Virgil, Plato, etc. – while also attending to questions of gender, race, travel, and canon-formation. We’ll explore the diversity of the ancient world as we move from epic to encyclopaedias, from tragedy to the ancient novel and attend to the changing historical and cultural landscape of antiquity. We’ll also examine questions of influence and imitation within Greek and Roman cultures themselves and look to understanding the rich intertextual dialogue that animates their cultural interaction. From Sappho’s fragments to Lucian’s comic rewritings of Homer and Herodotus, we’ll discover the ways in which texts from the past inspire new creations.

No previous experience with classics or ancient history is required and all work will be done in translation. Questions of translation and adaptation will be central, and we will take advantage of the wealth of contemporary and historical translations of classical texts that are available to us.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Spring Term 2022-23 to Summer Term 2022-23

Module aims

The aim of this module is to study (in translation) examples of writing - poetic, historical, fictional, philosophical and dramatic - that emerged from the remarkable cultures of ancient Greece and Rome. We will explore the ways in which these genres evolved, and indeed interacted with each other.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an informed understanding of and engagement with the main themes and genres of Greek and Latin Literature, and the interaction of these two literary traditions.

  2. Demonstrate an informed understanding of and engagement with relevant cultural and historical contexts.

  3. Examine key debates and critical contexts relating to the development of genres in these two literary traditions.

  4. Develop arguments and ideas which demonstrate a proficiency in critical thinking, research, and writing skills.

  5. Demonstrate an understanding of some of the key issues at stake in the act of translation and in the study of literature in translation.


Task Length % of module mark
2,500 word essay
N/A 70
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
An Introduction to Greek & Latin Literatures Exam
4 hours 30

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

You will be given the opportunity to hand in a 1000 word formative essay in the Spring term (usually in the week 7 seminar). Material from this essay may be re-visited in your summative essay and it is therefore an early chance to work through material that might be used in assessed work. This essay will be submitted in hard copy and your tutor will annotate it and return it two weeks later (usually in your week 9 seminar). Summary feedback will also be uploaded to your eVision account.


Task Length % of module mark
2,500 word essay
N/A 70
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
An Introduction to Greek & Latin Literatures Exam
4 hours 30

Module feedback

  • You will receive feedback on all assessed work within the University deadline, and will often receive it more quickly. The purpose of feedback is to inform your future work; it is designed to help you to improve your work, and the Department also offers you help in learning from your feedback. If you do not understand your feedback or want to talk about your ideas further you can discuss it with your tutor or your supervisor, during their Open Office Hours
  • For more information about the feedback you will receive for your work, see the department's Guide to Assessment


Indicative reading

Texts may include Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Virgil’s Aeneid, the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, the comedies of Menander and Plautus, Plato’s Symposium and Cicero’s On friendship, and many others.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.